Monday, December 21, 2009

Elf work

Today was unexpectedly warm, so Noel took the kids to the park while I scrambled to wrap a few presents and put them under the tree.

Operating under the assumption that Cady Gray and Archer will not care if their presents are wrapped well -- and only slightly if they are wrapped at all -- I did my fastest, sloppiest work. Ripped paper? A little extra tape will take care of that. Too big a piece for the box? Just crush the corners and force the fold through quadruple layers.

As I slapped tags on packages and grabbed the first bows that came to hand, I was reminded of Christmas Eve in the house where I grew up. On that night, and not before, Dad would announce that "Santa's workshop" was now open. He'd disappear to the basement with a roll of wrapping paper, tape, and scissors. Then, next to my mother's perfectly decorated boxes with curling ribbon and carefully preserved hand-me-down tags, Dad's contributions to the tree would appear: lumpy, misshapen rectangles with no bows and tags made out of squares of wrapping paper folded over. ("Ho ho ho," they often opined.)

Dad couldn't wrap. But he still took charge of a present for each member of the family, usually a book he thought we might like. I can wrap, but today I chose not to exert my wrapping energy. Putting it in the best light, I was paying tribute to those poorly wrapped packages with the carefully-chosen items inside. More likely, it will be Noel's gifts to me that carry on that true spirit. Nevertheless, it's nice to be able to redefine carelessness as a homage to my father.

1 comment:

ali said...

with my dad, you either got a terribly wrapped present like the ones you described or a beautifully wrapped one from a department store pro. I, like you, got the bad-wrapping gene from my dad. This year, I was the "brains" of the operation and Dave was the brawn. We only had one roll of scotch tape, so I had the perfect excuse to be wrapping-support (gift tags, what is from "Santa," who sent what, etc.)