Column: Keeping the Merry in ChristmasI've been knee-deep in wrapping paper, ribbon and bows, Scotch tape and scissors. Yes, we've cut back as all the experts have said to. We spent much less money than we usually do, but we have young grandchildren and I want them to have gifts to open.
By: Andrea Langworthy, Staff Columnist, Rosemount Town Pages
I've been knee-deep in wrapping paper, ribbon and bows, Scotch tape and scissors. Yes, we've cut back as all the experts have said to. We spent much less money than we usually do, but we have young grandchildren and I want them to have gifts to open.
I feel the same as I did nearly 40 years ago, when my daughter was young and her father and I had a baby on the way and no extra money to spend. People say this bad economy might be just what the holiday season needs to put an end to the crass commercialism that is Christmas and they may be right. But I come from a long line of gift-givers and I'm not ready to put the kibosh on the tradition just yet.
Even though three of our grandchildren are young, they like to receive gift cards, just like their big sister. Which is good, because their grandma isn't much of a shopper anymore and the gift cards make it easy. Plus, I know they'll react to them with joy. Which is what it's all about, right? Last year, I dropped the store cards into decorated gift bags and stuffed the bags with fancy tissue sticking out at the top. Even though they took turns and said, Thank you, after digging out each one, it had taken us longer to get situated in our chairs than it took them to open their packages.
This year, I got each child more cards but in smaller increments. I hit one of the dollar stores for coloring books, tablets of drawing paper, crayons, pencils, and erasers. I took a page from that Christmas so long ago and wrapped everything individually so when the grandchildren arrive for our Christmas celebration, there will be oodles of gifts under the tree. This year, instead of putting a gift card in an envelope or gift bag, I put them in various-shaped boxes, wrapped each one in kid-friendly holiday paper and tied ribbon around them. Or added a shiny machine-made bow. Not to fool anyone, but to make gift-opening last a bit longer.
It's the same thing I did when my little girl was almost two. Even though we were broke and people said she was too little to know, I didn't care. We found a little tree and decorated it with ornaments and lights. We bought our daughter small gifts and some three packs of new underwear. She was still in diapers but I hoped to potty-train her before the baby was born. I did what my mother had done for her four girls — bought fancy underpants with ruffles and little roses across the back. Rumba pants, my mother called them. My husband thought I was crazy, but I tore open the packaging and separated the pants and rose-decorated undershirts. I wrapped each one as well as the inexpensive items from the discount store. My husband drew the line at separating the hair barrettes, though. Even so, by the time I got done, there was a nice stack of gaily decorated presents for our toddler and she squealed with delight over each one.
Knowing my grandchildren, they'll do the same and be as thankful for the eight-for-a-dollar Santa pencils as they are for the gift cards from Shh! I had better keep that under wraps.