December 13, 2010

'Tis the season to be jolly...

With Christmas fast approaching, the long list of job titles moms carry gets amended to include shopper, wrapper, baker, planner, and so on.  My shopping was finished a couple weeks ago, all of it done on the internet.  That’s one job title fulfilled and removed from the list.  But now I have a daunting tower of boxes blocking traffic in my bedroom, chock full of things for the people I love.  On today’s agenda, after school, housework, and several rounds of procrastination thinly disguised as checking my email, seeing how my Facebook friends are doing with their own procrastination, refilling my coffee mug, and checking my email and Facebook again just in case anything has changed in the two minutes I was away:  wrapping the gifts.
I used to be a "professional" gift-wrapper, if by professional we mean a part-time job at a department store during my senior year of high school.  I developed some efficient and fancy wrapping skills at that job, and love putting them to use on birthdays and other events where there are but a few items.  Christmas is a different story altogether.  As much as I want to make everything look festive and sparkly, I'm only one woman.  What is normally a joy is on this occasion a chore.  Efficiency must prevail over fancy for the sake of time, because the other mom job titles don’t disappear with the holiday season.  There are no vacation days when you’re the mom.
As I wrap today, I’ll do my best to maintain a positive attitude and think lovingly of each recipient instead of thinking of arthritis flaring up in my lower back.  Knowing myself pretty well, that should last to about halfway through the first present.  I will genuinely try to have a jolly attitude, but more than likely I’ll come away from the overwhelming job nothing but a grumpy Grinch and Scrooge all rolled into one, wishing for this “most wonderful time of the year” to go jump in a lake.
Please don't misunderstand; I do enjoy giving gifts to the people I love, especially our children, and I enjoy making the packages look interesting and inviting.  I wish that I had the time to do that with the dozens of presents I’ll wrap today.  But trusting the old cliché that it’s the thought that counts, I’ll just have to hope they don’t mind that I thought of making each gift look like a showpiece, but that then I thought that I’d never get to making dinner if I put in that kind of effort.  (I'll not mention to them all the Grinchy, Scroogy, lake-jumping thoughts from wrapping day.  That'll be our little secret.)

It came without pictures,
so I filled it with my favorite
gift-givers as babies

The gifts, though they'll be plainly and grudgingly wrapped, have been well thought out.  Each person is receiving things this year that I believe will put a smile on his or her face, and hopefully they’ll be reminded not only how much I love them, but that I know them pretty well too.  Not being able to show you just yet what they are, I’ve instead decorated today's post with “it’s the thought that counts” gifts from my children from years past.  Each one came from discount stores, and likely China before that.  But each was something a child of mine thought I’d love, and they were right.  I love that they thought of me, and that makes each gift beautiful.

Perhaps reminding myself of those gifts will keep me in the right frame of mind today, at least through the first few presents I wrap.  I’m fairly certain that no one receiving something from me will be saying, “Why aren’t there more curly ribbons and bows on this?”  They’ll tear the paper off, and see something inside that lets them know I thought of them, I know them well, and I love them.
So I’ll crank up the Christmas music, make an extra pot of coffee, check my email and Facebook periodically, and get through the task at hand, jolly or not.  Then with one more job title fulfilled and removed from the list, traffic will be blocked by a tower of neatly-but-not-too-fancily wrapped gifts until this most wonderful time of the year comes and goes.

A gift that would melt even Scrooge's heart

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