Month: December 2012

Gift Wrap Galore

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It’s hard to believe one of my first jobs in high school was working in the gift-wrap and lay-away department at a grocery store.  I learned how to expertly wrap gifts of every size from jewelry to television sets without showing a seam or hint of tape.  My bows were even hand-made.  First, my mother taught me the tricks of the trade, and then my manager.  I once gave a speech in my high school forensics class on “How to Wrap a Present.”  It would be the equivalent today of “Gift-wrapping for Dummies.”  I guess my teacher liked it because I scored an “A” on that one!  

These days when it comes to this particular holiday season, I’ve lost all interest in gift-wrapping.  I think bows and ribbon are a waste of money, and question the importance of actually wrapping.  I pawn this task off on my teenagers.  Even the little ones offer to help.  This means I’m good for years since my youngest is only four.  Yea, me!  I’ve considered my husband’s approach to wrapping gifts, which is “why even bother?”  When he and his brothers exchange presents, they’re still in the bag from the store.  I’ve seen others use the comic section of newspapers, but ironically, I think I’m allergic to newspaper print.  I always sneeze repeatedly when I read the paper.  Go figure.  It is one way to save money though, as pretty wrapping paper doesn’t come cheap.

What I didn’t mention is how one actually opens a gift wrapped by my mother.  I didn’t inherit her “use an entire roll of Scotch tape per gift so it can never be opened” approach.  It’s pretty much the equivalent of trying to enter Fort Knox in Kentucky.  It’s not easy.  My children always know when a gift is from her.  The box is taped so securely, it requires a knife, scissors, or saw to get into.  This could be from all her years working at Federal Express, but I doubt it.  I clearly remember her using this technique when I was a small child and she was a stay-at-home mom.  It might be because one Christmas we ripped our gifts open so quickly she cried.  I clearly remember that!  All her hard work picking out the perfect gifts and meticulously wrapping them, and my sister and I ripped through them like two small tornadoes. The following year she made us draw numbers and open one gift at a time.  To this day, we still do it that way.  Complete bummer.  I make my children do the same thing although I’ve never given them a complete explanation as to why.

I’m not exaggerating about her taping abilities like one might think.  She doesn’t skimp and use the cheap stuff either.  I got an email from her the other day bragging about the tape she used last year.  She even attached a photo as proof.  After putting their artificial Christmas tree back in the box last year, she taped it up in her normal manner.  When my father dragged out the huge box this year, a rattlesnake had attached itself to the tape and died what I’m sure was a slow and miserable death.  This was probably better than opening the box and finding a live, slithery creature inside.  I’m sure that would have taken years off my father’s life or given him a heart attack.  None of us have ever been fond of snakes.  Why they choose to live in a desert is beyond me.

Nevertheless, I hope my children are eager to wrap the gifts again this year.  Otherwise they’ll be receiving them in the store bags they came in.  I plan to buy cheap tape and tell them to use it sparingly, except of course on the gift for my mother. 


Compliments of the Atchison Globe



The Twelve Days of Christmas

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            This year my husband should be thrilled.  Everything I want for Christmas is free.  Talk about surprises.  I even shocked myself.  I tried to make my Christmas list easy for him this year by dividing it into twelve days worth of what I’d like to receive.  Any of these would be great.  I’m not asking for all of them.  These are my wishes:

12.  I’d like twelve consecutive days of no sports or extra-curricular activities.  I’m not sure if it’s because it’s winter, but basketball season is never ending.  It also might be because my seventh grade daughter just ended her season and my son has only begun.  My 16-year-old is a dancer and cheerleader so I feel compelled to attend the high school games too.  This makes for an awful lot of basketball each week.  You’d think by now I’d understand the game more.

11.  This is how many loads of laundry I wish someone else would do for me just once.  I would like it washed, dried, folded, and put away.  This only translates to about three or four days worth.  It’s very doable.

10.  I’d love ten meal ideas that every member of my family would actually eat without serious persuasion.  I’ve never heard of three bites of food harming anyone.  You’d think I was trying to poison them at times.

9.  I dream of nine days without receiving a single bill in the mail.  Just Christmas cards and letters from friends would be wonderful.

8.  Next, I’d like eight consecutive hours of sleep.  Whether it’ll take earplugs that drown out a sonic boom or extra insulation in the walls, it would be wonderful.

7.  A seven-day vacation with my husband before he retires would be bliss.  I forgot about this one not actually being free.  This will have to wait.

6.  How about six minutes to take a shower without a household emergency occurring?  More than half of the time it’s something that could’ve waited, despite what my children think.

5.  Speaking of the kids, I wish for five grateful children all year long.  They all have their moments, but consistency would be nice.

4.  Four days with nothing breaking in my house would be nothing short of a Christmas miracle.  As of late, the garage door broke, we had a leaky pipe, and the toilets seem to take turns running constantly.  It also seems we have to wash our dishes before they actually go in the dishwasher.  I refuse to call a repairman.  And a lamp that’s been on a table for over two years has suddenly been knocked over and broken twice in the same week.

3.  Three inches of snow for Christmas would be perfect.  Everyone would still be able to drive to church and family gatherings and yet there’d be a blanket of white.  Beautiful.  I can see my family drinking hot cocoa by the fireplace already.

2.  Two days straight with my house staying clean, or semi-clean.  This truly could be higher on the list but I’m going for doable here.  It seems only parts of my house are clean at the same time.  It may take more than my husband to grant this wish since I doubt he has the time.  Maybe he could rally the kids.

1.   What I want most of all is for more homes to be filled with peace, love, and joy.  What a difference it would make for adults and children alike to experience this gift on a daily basis.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and many blessings in the New Year.


Compliments of the Atchison Globe