Posted tagged ‘wrapping’

“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.”

December 7, 2017

Winter is marching towards us. Yesterday was in the 50’s, today the 40’s and the 30’s arrived last night. It was cold taking Gracie out and waiting for her so her last trip at around eleven was a solo. I urged her on from the front door. Yesterday was a frantic Christmas presents wrapping day. I was at it from about two until close to ten. Many of the gifts I have are small, really stocking stuffer types, as everyone gets a bag of those in addition to a big gift and I wrap everything. I think I whittled the pile considerably so today will end my wrapping frenzy. I also learned a lesson yesterday. I need to get up and walk around every now and then as my back is quite troublesome today, and Gracie sleeping on my legs last night didn’t help either. I’ve doused myself with Aleve and hope for the best.

I have sworn off MSNBC. I can’t take the political news anymore as I keep getting a headache so, instead, I’m getting my daily dose of sugar from Hallmark’s Christmas movies and my black and white science fiction movie fix from YouTube. Right now I’m watching The Snow Creature from 1954. The Creature, called Yeti by the Sherpas, was found in the Himalayas after he had kidnapped a woman and killed a few Sherpa climbers. The men in charge of the climb, Americans, decided to capture the Snow Creature and take him to the US for study. It seems none of them took a lesson from King Kong about leaving creatures in their natural habitats. Well, the Snow Creature escaped, of course, and started killing here and there. He was found and destroyed in a meat vault. Poor Snow Creature! Poor bad movie!

Yesterday I did some sweatshirt cuff dusting. I cuffed a few tables here and there, mostly ones I can see from the den. I also watered my tree. I had to crawl on my stomach, hold up a few branches then tip the watering can. I put my fingers at the top of the tree stand so I can know how much water there is. I also watered the table centerpiece.

I’m now watching Plan 9 from Outer Space, the Ed Wood movie considered one of the worst movies ever made. It was Bela Lugosi’s last movie, and he died before the filming was finished. He was replaced by Ed Wood’s dentist who was considerably taller and who hid his face with this cloak. The actors are awful, the special effects are silly, the sets, with a lot of curtains as backdrops, are unbelievable, but I really do love this movie for all of those.

My Christmas tasks need my attention. I have the wrapping to finish, the cards to address and the tree to trim. I also need to get up and walk around. I’m thinking another cup of coffee and some toast.

“It’s in the singing of a street corner choir. It’s going home and getting warm by the fire. It’s true, wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas!”

December 9, 2016

 

Last night was freezing. Gracie slept right beside me with her head on my arm. I guess she needed the body warmth. We have sun today, but I’d gladly trade it for a warmer day. The temperature is in the 30’s and will go down to the 20’s tonight. At least we won’t get snow.

Al my Colorado presents are wrapped. The bin holds only unwrapped Cape presents, and I have time yet. Today is busy. Gracie and I are going to the dump then to UPS. I also need to get a Dunkin’ gift card and a few groceries. I have to make fudge for my sister. I’ll be seeing her tomorrow and the fudge is a tradition, a gift she loves. Tonight I’ll watch Hallmark Christmas movies and write out my Christmas cards. I have my Edward Gorey cards, special ones for the family and a few I bought in Ghana. The tree is postponed until Sunday. I am disappointed.

This end of the street is dark, no Christmas lights, except for my house. One of my neighbors does have a white light in each window, but that is it. At the other end of the street three of the houses have lights. And on the next street, one of the houses is amazing. The lawn is filled with lights and lit figures of Santa and his reindeer. The house is outlined. All the trees are ablaze with light. It is the best house in the neighborhood.

When I was a kid, the square at Christmas always had carolers the nights before Christmas when people were shopping. The John Hancock Company gave out free soft cover books of carols, and they were passed out each night to the carolers. I remember one cover had a church with a lit stain glass window. Another cover had three choir boys wearing white gowns and red bowties. I still have a couple of books, one of each cover. I remember singing in the square. We stood on a platform right in front of the drug store and the Children’s Corner. I was in the fifth grade. We probably weren’t all that good but we were enthusiastic. I remember it all.

“The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.”

December 8, 2016

I think the sun went on vacation. Yesterday it rained in the morning and stayed cloudy the whole day though it was warmer than I expected. Today is also drab and gray. I am so glad that I was out for quite a while on Tuesday, the first sunny day in a while. I took the highway down cape but came back Route 28. It was a beautiful ride. I passed the ocean a few times. It was low tide and the water was still. It had a grayish tone. I saw a wild turkey fly. I hadn’t ever seen one fly before. It took a lumbering leap into the air and over a fence. I wasn’t sure the turkey had the height but it did. When I was passing the cove, the only boats moored, other than a single sailboat, were fishing boats. Most needed paint and had nets and lobster traps on deck. They all looked weathered and old. In Chatham, the store where I wanted to shop was gone. It didn’t matter. I really enjoyed the ride.

Last night my house was aglow. The front fence has strands of colored lights. The gate has a huge white star on top with trails of white lights coming from it. The top of the fence to and from the star is also white. Beside the driveway, bare branches on a bush are covered in huge Christmas ornaments. A floodlight shines on them. My deck rail has strands of colored lights atop it. I added bows to the three wreaths, put balls of colored ornaments in the basket on the steps and put my old sled with my ice skates beside the step. When it got dark last night, I went outside and stood on the street to check out my house. It is beautiful.

I did what I thought was quite a bit of wrapping yesterday. Come to find out I have so much more. All of the gifts are now downstairs filling the den and the hall. Maddie, though, is complicating the process by lying on the paper. She looks so comfy I don’t want to disturb her. I’ll probably just use different paper.

Tomorrow I’ll get the tree, the highlight of my Christmas. I love to sit in the living room just to look at it. Its aroma fills the house. I have a couple of new ornaments from Ghana. They aren’t really ornaments, but they’re big, round and colorful. They’ll do just fine.

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”

December 15, 2015

The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the day is quite warm. I’m thinking winter has forgotten to come. Not that I’m complaining, but there is a certain expectation here in New England about Christmas and winter and maybe even snow.

My mother was always the architect of Christmas. She bought the gifts, did all the baking, trimmed the tree and decorated the house. My father did his best. He’d help my mother wrap, do the outside lights and put the tree in the stand. He used to do tree lights, but one year they were so tangled he refused to hang them. He just threw them on the floor and sat down. No one wanted to remind him he had put the lights away the year before. The lights then became my responsibility. I was quite fussy about where they were hung, and I tried to vary the colors of the bulbs so same colors wouldn’t be together. My father also helped by being the official taster of Christmas goodies. He did love his sweets. He knew he could count on having sugar cookies, her peanut butter balls, a pie or two, and some different cookies, whatever struck my mother’s fancy from a magazine or a cookbook. I remember her Auntie Mary’s, a chocolate cookie with a cream in the middle.

I began baking and bringing the goodies to my mother’s. I made fudge which was grainy and was my father’s favorite. I made my grandmother’s date nut bread and one year I made orange cookies. My mother liked them so much she hid several so they’d be some left just for her. My English toffee always disappeared quickly.

One year my sister and her family from Colorado came for Christmas. She bought goodies including whoopie pies, one of our all time favorites. What was amazing and extraordinary was she brought spritz cookies because my mother always made them when we kids. She’d add coloring to the dough and we’d have white, red and green cookies. I also made spritz cookies for the same reason. We were all going to be together for Christmas for the first time in many years and spritz cookies was a connector to our childhood Christmases. My mother remembered those years, and she too made spritz cookies. The three of us through those cookies celebrated the shared memories of Christmases past.

“Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives himself by thought or word or deed in every gift that he bestows.”

December 10, 2015

Fern, Gracie and I slept in this morning. It was 10:30 before we dragged ourselves out of bed. After two papers and two cups of coffee I am awake. Notice I didn’t say alert. Fern and Gracie are having their morning naps.  They are exhausted. I have no idea why.

I have a to do list today. The wrapping might just get done so I can send the packages to Colorado. I need animal food so Agway is on the list, and I need a bit of people food as my larder is empty. I really want to get outside as it is warm and the sun is beginning to appear. It isn’t winter despite the date. Today is already 54˚.

When I was a kid, Santa never wrapped presents. He left them under the tree in a pile for each of us. My pile was aways the first one on the left. The only wrapped presents under the tree to be opened on Christmas Eve were the pajamas and slippers. The tags were signed from mom and dad.

When I was an adult, my mother wrapped every gift and signed the cards From Santa. Those gifts were left around the tree on Christmas Eve just as they had been when I was kid. My spot was next to the chair and the overflow was in front of the fireplace screen, first pile on the left. Wrapped gifts made for excitement and surprise as if we were kids again. I remember picking up a package, feeling around and shaking it so I could guess what it was.

I don’t remember having breakfast on Christmas morning when I was a kid. I suspect we were too involved with our gifts so it was catch as catch can. Our adult Christmas breakfasts were wonderful. We all sipped mimosas as we opened gifts. The breakfast, a casserole made the evening before as per the directions, was cooking in the oven so we could give all our attention to the pile of gifts.

I wrap everything, even the small gifts. It takes a lot of time, but I figure I’m keeping the spirit and the excitement alive.

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

December 12, 2013

This Christmas elf is getting a bit nervous. Usually I am far ahead of where I am now so my to-do lists through this weekend are long. Today’s list is loaded with six stops as varied as a book store and the dump. But if all goes well, next week will be relaxed. I’ll sit, watch Christmas movies, sip egg nog, loaded egg nog my favorite, and admire my house. I’ll do some baking and some candy making and the last of the wrapping, gifts for friends I won’t see until after Christmas. I’m looking forward to that egg nog most of all.

My sister Moe has a most unusual Christmas talent. She started practicing it when she was young. Moe used to make the smallest hole in every present under the tree so she could see what the present was. The holes were so well placed you really had to hunt to find them. Moe didn’t discriminate. She did it to every present, hers or not. As Moe got older, she honed her talent. She just had to hold the gift, give it a squeeze or two and she knew exactly what it was. Boxes were no deterrent. She moved them back and forth and up and down and then announced what was inside the box. We tried to trick her by putting small things in huge boxes, by wrapping the gifts inside the boxes in cloth and by putting box in box, but Moe beat us every time. One Christmas Eve she was going to a party and told Rod, her husband, she needed new earrings to go with her dress. Moe went right to the boxes under her tree, shook a couple and chose one. In it was a pair of new earrings. They had been hidden, box in box, but not from Moe. I am in awe of her talent.

Every year we could always count on a few traditional stocking stuffers. We always got a bag of Chanukah gelt. My mother bought it by mistake one year, and after that we expected it, and she obliged. I always buy some now for my two sisters. This year, Nancy, at the candy store pointed out I was buying gelt, and I told her that was exactly what I wanted. My sister Moe gets her Life Saver book. Sheila gets her Star Trek calendar, original crew.

My Dad loved thin ribbon candy. That first Christmas without him none of us were too much in the spirit, but after Moe opened her ribbon candy, she called to say it had brought back Christmas and, best of all, had brought back my Dad. Ribbon candy is always first gift I buy.

“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.”

November 29, 2012

I lost count of the number of envelopes I stuffed this morning, and my back started to give out so I finished around noon. To ease my pain I shopped for a few Christmas presents at the Natural History Museum store.

The sun keeps appearing and disappearing, but the day is bright enough to keep me happy. Gracie, my live barometer, stayed out in the yard a long while: the longer she’s out, the nicer the day. It’s sweatshirt weather.

When I was a kid, Woolworth’s uptown was my favorite store. It was an old store with a wooden floor that sloped in places and squeaked when you walked on it. The cash registers were in the front by the windows. The toys were in the second aisle. Comic books were on a rack toward the front. We’d always pick up and read a couple while we were there. Nobody ever yelled at us to put them down. I remember the balsa model planes we’d buy for 10 cents. They’d have only a couple of flights before some piece would break, usually the tail-piece. Woolworth’s was where we bought our kites and string. It was also our Christmas shopping mecca. With a dollar in hand, we could find something for the whole family. For my dad, it was a white handkerchief every Christmas. He used handkerchiefs all of his life. My mother was a bit more difficult. I’d have to go up and down the aisles until I found the perfect gift. Perfume in small glass bottles made a great present. I suspect it smelled pretty bad, but I thought the etched bottles were pretty. My sisters got doll bottles or doll rattles and my brother often got that plane from me.

I wrapped those gifts myself and used plenty of tape so no one could peek though my sister Moe probably did. She was known for peeking through tiny holes she’d rip in the wrapping paper and was an expert at not getting caught. Over time, she has parlayed that talent into being able to guess what is in just about every wrapped Christmas present. She does her parlor trick on Christmas Eve and scores nearly 100%. Outwitting Moe is one of the challenges of Christmas. It takes ingenuity and guile, and I have both. This year Moe goes down!