(Prior posting from my old webspace)

Well, here I sit, five days counting before we’re up to our chinny chin chins in wrap and packaging. Wrap that cost us more than just money. We go to such lengths shopping for the right wrapping paper too, that it’s sad what ends up happening to it.

We go through all our Christmas leavings from last year, trying to assess how much murdered tree we’ll need to wrap this years bankruptcy fun with. And on one brave eve, we’ll see ourselves moving through the isles at some bargain store, trying to find just the right balance of price and pretty.

It’s very very important we buy just the right brand, because as we are all too well aware, thin paper ends up costing us in the end. You ever so carefully use the paper, but no matter how hard you try, the corners ALWAYS shred just as you apply that last piece of tape. And no matter how hard you try to patch it, it ends up making all four corners a taped up tapestry of frustration.

So, you ensure you don’t buy the cheap “bargain” brand festive brand toilet paper, excuse me, I meant wrapping paper. You then spot the pretty foil brand. But wait. Didn’t we buy this last year and find out there wasn’t enough on a roll to wrap a ring box with? Aaaah…yes, it’s coming back to me now. You went to such efforts to specially wrap his gift, the one that cost you the equivalent of a kidney transplant, just do discover the ten dollar a roll paper barely covered one side of the bloody box. So, by the time you finish, you have a foil pattern resembling the Partridge Family bus. All for the anticipation of the smile on his face.

Eureka! You found the good M.O.R sturdy but reasonable wrap length rolls. And it only cost a fingertip instead of a spleen. Wonderbar!

You take yourself down the label isle, the isle that contains the garland to help mummify your intended purchases to assorted loved ones (and to help you re-gift for the lesser loved ones) in your life. You see all matter of glitter and gold. It’s as if you’re walking through Liberace’s boudoir. Very hard to think with all the glare, canned holiday music being accompanied by screeching toddler two isles over. So, in an effort to escape with as little injury as possible, you buy what seems to be the right brand of waste.

You struggle to the check out counter, pile your purchases onto the conveyor and start to feel a little bit of murder creep into your happy thoughts as you observe an old woman with a change purse counting out the exact change for her ten packages of toilet paper she found on sale. It seems like an eternity, and you’ve offed the old bag sixteen different ways whilst waiting for the next person to trundle up to the cash equipped with InterTheft. Of course, one of the products has no tag on it. Now you’re the Christmas Terminator in your minds eye. Bloody cashiers lie in a pool of sweat blood and tears after you’ve secretly mowed them all down with your arsenal of Christmas Joy.

At long last, you’re up. You try to smile, but all you receive from the check out jockey is a grim tired retort asking if you want to pay for bags. You mete out your response, take your purchases and run as if you were escaping an aerial strafing in Cambodia.

A few days later, you do your best to make the packages you intended for others look like some professional did the work. The “WOW” factor had better be worth it, you muse to yourself.

So, you sit there Christmas morning, your Sister’s rug rats orbiting the tree of plenty. You’re barely awake, coffee is still deciding what cells to infuse first, and then she gives the go-ahead for the tykes to devour.

It suddenly strikes you as epic, sad a truly irrelevant labour to have spent so much money and time with the wrapping. Little fingers suddenly take on the role of piranha as they lay to waste your efforts in less than ten seconds. Fact that they could care less about the card just makes the moment that much more special.

Guess who’s getting socks next year!

In a matter of minutes, you see the holocaust that once was your loving effort strewn across the entire floor of your living room. And you wonder why you didn’t do the smart thing, as your own mother has, and simply bag it all!

I sincerely think that I’m going to wrap everything in grocery bags next year. At least no trees died needlessly in the effort.  I’ll just paint everything onto them so it looks like I cared. I know the kids won’t notice, that’s for sure.

So why do we put ourselves through it, I wonder. Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s watching the anticipation on their faces, wondering what you thought they’d appreciate that makes it all worth while. It’s so worth the pain and suffering.

Well, until the credit card bill comes in. Then far less charitable things go through your mind during the January freeze.

So, enjoy your loved ones this Christmas. No one knows what comes with tomorrow, so cherish today, and remember, it’s only once a year.