Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Memory--Gift Wrapping

***As I started writing this story, I realized I needed to explain some basic family information. I come from a family of five kids, with me being the youngest. The oldest, my brother (only brother) is 12 years older than me. By the time I was 12, three of my older siblings were married. My closest in age sister is 4 1/2 years older than me. She and I were the bottom two and we did a lot together. She didn't get married until I was on my mission (I think she was 26) and so we were "the little girls" together in our family for a long time. We did a lot together and while my older siblings were definitely part of a lot of my memories, she is a constant presence in most of my stories.

Christmas Wrapping
Usually starting around the middle of October, my mother declared my parent's closet off-limits. Not like we went in there very often but we knew after her declaration, that we could not for any reason, open that closet door. My mom stock piled all of our Christmas presents in there and unless we wanted Christmas ruined, we knew it was best to stay away.

In early December, my mom would walk up from the basement with a pile of boxes (saved every year from Christmas to Christmas) and go into her closet. We knew that our special job of Christmas wrappers was about to start. My mom would put each gift in boxes and write on the box who it was to and who it was from. Usually it said "To Janice, From Mom and Dad" but sometimes she would get creative and write, "From Santa's Helper" or "Christmas Elves". She always sealed the boxes with tape on all four sides and I can honestly say that I never peaked--even when I really wanted to. My sister, Goddess number 4 and I would set up the wrapping center in the laundry room (we had a huge laundry room with lots of counter space and a great ironing board we would use) and my mom would bring us boxes to wrap. Sometimes my older siblings would participate but it was mainly my one sister and me.

My sister and I would pretend we worked for a fancy store where shoppers would bring us their packages for us to wrap. Sometimes they would be nice shoppers and sometimes they would be mean and very persnickety. Sometimes it was a husband with a gift for his wife, or a harried mother with lots of kids under toe. They often had very specific ideas in mind on how they wanted their packages to look and sometimes they would tell us to do whatever we wanted. I remember bringing out various wrapping paper selections (my mom would usually shop the wrapping paper sales after Christmas and we seemed to have an endless supply of fun wrapping paper and bows to use) and saying out loud "Which one would you like me to wrap your present in, my lady?" during the whole pretending process. I have many fond memories, listening to Christmas music blaring from the kitchen while my sister and I wrapped presents. After the present was wrapped, we would go and take them to the tree and find just the perfect spot to put it. Sometimes this would take many minutes, as we would look for the right spot. Oh the countless hours we spent selecting paper and bows, pretending, placing presents under the tree!

I have found out later from my mom that she often felt guilty passing on the wrapping duty to us but we LOVED it. It was one of the highlights of Christmas for me and still is. I love to sit down, pull out all of the wrapping supplies, play Christmas music and yes, even sometimes pretend I working for a fancy store and wrapping other's presents. It is part of the magic of Christmas for me.


love.boxes said...

You have a wonderful family Janice! I just loved this memory.. I'm going to pretend that I work for a fancy store too over the next few weeks! Thanks for sharing this!

Lindsey said...

That is a wonderful memory!

I used to love wrapping all the presents. It was my favorite thing to do, too.

Melinda said...

What a cute story!

Gabriela said...

That's a sweet memory Janice. I love wrapping too.

michelle said...

What fun memories, I hope I am doing that for my kids. My mom and dad always make creative tags, It will say to the breadwinner from the breadbaker. stuff like that we always loved to read the tags while they were under the tree. And you absolute sweetie! I am so excited to send treasures to you! I squealed and squealed!

Anonymous said...

I'd like some wrapping help. I can give the job to the kids, but only if I don't care how the wrapping turns out.