Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Strings

One of my favorite things.

Perhaps it all began when my brother came home from college and I was in 6th grade.  After he'd been Christmas shopping, he'd surreptitiously get my attention.  Whispering, top secret style, "Psst.  Come here."

And I, clueless, hollering back, "What?"

He, afraid I was about to get us all killed on this mission, would give me the look to knock out the loudness and give me the gesture, GI Joe style, to follow him.

We'd go into his closed bedroom, and there would be a mountain of bags.  I just stared.  wow.  When did he do all that shopping?  Then I looked at him, wide-eyed.  He looked me square in the eyes.  His crystal blue eyes challenged:  Here is your mission, should you choose to accept it.  Then his words asked, "Can you wrap these?"

Accepting the seriousness of the matter, I looked him square in the eye and said, "Yes" but stopped before sir.  He showed me who got what present, and I started to go get all that was needed for this mission.

But he stopped me, "Where are you going?"

"To get supplies."

"You wait here."

I waited.  And looked over the presents.  He was actually a really thoughtful giver.  I remember being so impressed with his gifting skills--and with his awareness that his gift-wrapping skills were lacking.  On some level he knew that the presentation of a gift was important too.

He sneaked back into the room a supply or two at a time.  I started with paper; and when I was ready, asked for tape.  "Oh yeah," was his reply, and he'd sneak back out.  The same thing would happen with ribbon.  And gift tags.

I don't remember much other talking during this mission.  I didn't comment on how perfect those gloves were for Mom, or how our sister would love this tape of her favorite band.  I just did my job.  And when I was done, before I left the room, he'd look down at me, square in the eyes again and ceremoniously say, "Thanks."  He opened the door for me to be dismissed, and I held my head high as I walked back to the puzzle I'd been working on.

That was the first of about a decade of Christmases.  And the same thing would happen, year after year.  And maybe because it mattered enough to my big brother that his family didn't get their Christmas present wadded into a comic book plastic bag, it really mattered to me.

And it's one of my favorite things: wrapping carefully chosen presents for the ones I love.


  1. you're amazing! I'm not the greatest wrapper, nor do I LOVE to do it. so, i'm impressed that you agreed to wrap your brother's gifts for the whole family. quite a labor of love! and of course your artistic gifting shines through in your lovely artsy wrapping style! Merry Christmas, Anna! I miss you!

  2. Beautiful presents and such a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Beautiful! Growing up, I would wrap presents for my grandmother. I loved doing it! I still love wrapping, but mine are no where near as artistic as yours.

  4. This blog remeinded me of the year my Mom ask me to pack all the presents for the family. I was the oldes of eight childern, so there were lots of them. I worked in a bedroom on the bed with the door close so no peeping wourld take place. I looked a magizines to see if I could used their ideas. Separating each child by color and ribbons I was so delighted with myself. I had achieve a beautiful display under the tree. Some years later, my Mom share a picture of me and my brother very young asleep clutching our newest toys and the navatity in the year I will use as a Christmas card. That picture taken with a Brownie camera, is atreasure to me. Thanks for flooding me with memories. Now it's time for yyou and Nick to make memories that will last a lifetime!
    Jan Marie

  5. @ Samantha, I miss you! I hope you guys have a fabulous Christmas.

    @ Crystal, loving the wrapping is where it's at. I bet your presents are lovely. Half the fun of seeing all the presents together under our tree is the different wrappings and styles of paper and bows from everyone in our family.

    Merry Christmas!

  6. Jan Marie, what a beautiful memory! I'm sure your task of wrapping for your mom, and your sorting through magazines had some part in pushing you toward your love for card making, and your company! I love it!

  7. <3 This made me teary! Thanks for sharing this beautiful memory!


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