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It's a Wrap!

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By Kimara - Posted on 01 December 2008

For any of you that have been with me since last Christmas, you know I've already conceded that I am obsessive, and where Christmas is concerned, certifiably insane! (Check out A Tad Bit Obsessive!) Over the years I've created so many traditions that I need to start preparing for the Holidays in June...truth be told, I should actually begin the day after Christmas when a virtual cornucopia of perfectly good items are being marked down, but I never seem to mustard the internal fortitude necessary to battle the post Christmas crowds! My first real delve into Christmas comes in June when the women in my family go on our annual "Girl's Trip". (The Girl's Trip will require several blog entries to share hair raising adventures like our night with the ice pick murderess, popping wheelies on sand dunes with a 7 person minivan...my sister-in-law never truly recovered from that one, or forgave me...and an explanation of why you should never leave 7 cowardly women alone in a wax museum!) But all this is fodder for summer writing, back to Christmas! I use the girl's trip, with our insatiable foraging through as many shops as possible in a three day period, to begin collecting stocking stuffers and Advent tokens, thus begining my own celebration of the season! 

Anyway, one of the more evident traditions that evolved over the years was my gift wrapping practices. After a natural Darwinian evolution, my packages took on a homespun look, being wrapped in plain brown packing paper, with wide burgundy ribbons, and a heart attached to each gift, symbolizing, of course, the love that was being given along with the gift. When my children lived at home, I wrapped EVERYTHING separately; if they got a pair of socks...2 packages, a book trilogy...3 packages, and so on. I firmly believe that opening gifts is as much fun as owning what's inside! And, besides, if it took me 6 months to prepare for Christmas, I think it should take at least 6 hours to open gifts! Okay, a little hyperbole here! Maybe not 6 hours, but a goodly amount of time! And besides, when wrapped, the gifts were beautiful and became an integral part of my Christmas decorating.

But today's blog isn't about wrapping gifts; it's about what we have fondly come to call "The Great Gift Debacle"! Every year my children could ask for and get 1 gift from Santa. He's a busy guy, right? So many children, so little time! Well, every year I would buy special Santa wrapping paper and only those 3 gifts, the ones from Santa, would be wrapped that way. They would then be tucked away until Christmas morning. The rest of the gifts, from my husband and me, were wrapped in brown paper and were also hidden until Christmas morning. As the children got a little older, I began to put a few of the gifts under the tree as they were bought and wrapped. And, as my lust for gift wrapping increased, and my propensity to wrap socks and underwear separately grew, gifts began to overflow the tree and were stacked in nooks and crannies. Eventually, all of their gifts, except for Santa's would be under the tree days, sometimes weeks, before Christmas. For my children, having their gifts strewn about in this manner was both torture and tantalizing! For days before Christmas, the children sat around the tree, looking at gifts, shaking them, measuring them, and smelling them, trying to figure out the concealed contents.

This had become a tradition. And far be it for me to break ANY tradition. But one year, when my children were in middle school and high school, I had an idea...a scathingly brilliant idea. In order to thwart their sleuthing, I coded all their packages. I numbered each gift, and I kept the master list hidden. That year, when they picked up a gift to inspect, their only clue was a number! This put a new twist to their game. Not only did they try to figure out what was inside the package, but who it belonged to! When Christmas morning finally came around, I went to get my master list. Hmmm...I could have sworn I put it in the brown hutch. No, wait, I remember now...the last time I wrote something on it, I was at my desk. Hmmm...not there! Where did I put it? After 15 very long minutes, I gave up. I had to come back in the room and tell them I had no clue as to which packages belonged to anyone!

So, that morning, we played Christmas roulette. I'd pick up a package then look at it, shake it, measure it, and smell it and give my best guess as to who it belonged to! There was a lot of bending back the corner of boxes, as everyone tried to decide if the gift was intended for them. Snickering and out right laughter ensued as partially opened boxes sailed through the air seeking its rightful owner. It took a very long time to open gifts that morning. I'm still not sure that every box found its rightful owner, but close enough that everyone was satisfied! And, no, this did not become a new tradition. From then on, I went back to writing everyone's names on their packages. But that Christmas morning, amidst mayhem and confusion, one of our most beloved memories was born!

BTW...around April, when I was getting something out of the china cabinet I found THE LIST! As it turned out, losing it proved to be a wonderful happenstance! Do you have a favorite holiday mishap that turned out wonderfully? Please share!

This is an impressive wrap and really like the idea, thank you for sharing. - YOR Health

Nice to have you back, Lisa. You have been missed!

Sarah, sometimes it is all about God closing a door only to open a window. And who would of thought back then that your DH would have crawled in through the window ;) Great story.

Michelle, since you had such great fun that morning, perhaps some day you'll create your own Christmas roulette!

And Maple, thanks for stopping by! Hope you become a regular!

Hi all!
I know I haven't been around for a while but the family has undergone some major changes. A few months ago DH lost his job and we decided I needed to go back to work. It's been quite a while since I've worked full time and I must admit I'm not happy. DH has gotten another job but at a reduced salary. We've talked about it and he is still looking for a more appropriate job with better pay, and when he does I'll quit, or at least work part time which I don't think I'd mind. I'm being long winded, sorry, but thought I should explain my absense!

I read back through a few weeks and you made me smile. Thanks. As for your Christmas morning with nameless gifts, I can just imagine the mayham. I'm not sure my kids would have taken it with the sense of humor yours seemed to.

As far as a Christmas mishap that turned out great, I'm going to bet it's this year. Being jobless for a while, then a major reduction in salary, this Christmas is going to be very lean. But it is my hope that a different kind of celebrating may surface, and I'm hoping years from now, when we look back at this time we will said, it was a rough time but it brought us closer together.

I have not fallen off the face of the earth but I'm not doing a great job of balancing and we don't have internet right now, not allowed on it for personal use at work, so I only check emails and such from time to time.

Hope everyone is holding their own right now. I do believe things will turn around before long! Seasons best to you Kim and to everyone!

BTW...I forgot to say beautiful wrapping. I love it! Who would think that brown paper could look so festive. And I love the heart!

LOL - that was seriously the most entertaining Christmas morning. I can't for the life of me remember what I got but the tossing of half open presents back and forth with my brothers was a riot. Christmas present roulette.

HeHe. Too funny. What a mess that would have been but I can understand why it would have been a riot.

My favorite awful Christmas turned wonderful Christmas was my freshman year in college. My highschool boyfriend of 3 years was coming to have Christmas Eve dinner with us. A couple of hours before dinner he called me and broke up with me over the phone! I really wasn't surprised, we had gone to different colleges and had grown apart. But still, over the phone, on Christmas!

My brother's roommate from college came for dinner that day. I hadn't meet him before. He was nice and funny and turned out to be a great person to talk to. Turned out to be my husband! Not a bad turn of events!

Have a great week all, and again, Kim, nice to have Tuesdays back. Thanks!

Oh, Kim, the presents without names made me chuckle out loud.