Posts Tagged ‘dad

05
Jan
12

The 12 Ways of Christmas: wrapping

[Part 9]

We should have owned stock in 3M.

Dad always waited until Christmas Eve or, maybe if he was especially good, the day before, to wrap presents. He’d box everything up in the bedroom and drag it out to the kitchen table to wrap it up. Every box had a label in his own shorthand: the name of one of us and some code to help him remember what it was.

He had a fondness for putting boxes inside of other boxes to disguise the gifts, so we never knew what he had. And if it was the sort of box that could not be disguised, we’d hear from down the hall as he bounded toward the kitchen, “You kids’d better keep your eyes closed, dammit, or this it going right back to the store!”

Sometimes I’d be permitted to help him. He was very particular, so sometimes he didn’t want help. Usually I had something of my own to wrap, and as he had all the paper and supplies, it made sense to join him.

My dad always claimed he could match the pattern at the edge of the paper to the pattern on the side he was taping it to. That way the pattern wasn’t interrupted st the joint. It was a nice thought, but I never quite believed him. It just wasn’t possible unless the packages were the perfect circumference. Right? But he insisted. And I didn’t want to go through the trouble of proving anything. I know he took immense pride in his wrapping.

What he was really saying was that it mattered to him—a lot—that we all appreciate what he was doing. He wanted us to understand the work and care and effort, but also to marvel at the ease with which carried it all off. And I had no reason to discredit him. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: wrapping’

02
Jan
12

The 12 Ways of Christmas: the shopping

[part 5]

Christmas shopping with my parents was a game of self-deception the whole family could play. Mom and dad got to spend more money than they had any business pretending they had access to. And our end of the bargain, us kids, was simply to not stumble upon or identify any of the gifts our parents bought right in front of us and made no special effort to hide from us.

Rather than getting a babysitter, they would take me and my younger siblings to Toys R Us and dispatch me to drag them to the other end of the store to distract them (and me, too, really) with … I don’t know … things I knew they would not be buying for us. Which basically limited our environs to baby toys and board games.

The unspoken threat: If you see it, you won’t find it under the tree. And if one of us should happen to see something, we knew better than to say something. We just contented ourselves knowing that, out of the entire, mind-bending inventory of the store, what ended up under the tree could still be anything. Almost. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: the shopping’




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