Brown paper packages tied up with strings…

midweek musings…

How’s your holiday shopping going?  Every day in our mailroom there are piles of deliveries courtesy of the beleaguered UPS, Fed Ex and USPS delivery people.  Luckily my shopping is almost complete as I’m only waiting on one last delivery.  Today we are under a Winter Weather Warning due to the first Nor’easter of the season and I’m watching out my window for the first flakes to start falling.  While we are only expecting about seven inches, higher elevations nearby are expecting up to two feet.  That’s a lot of snow!

But from my cozy perch inside the love nest with no need to go anywhere, I look forward to the snow falling and turning my view into a winter wonderland.  This afternoon I am going to crank up the Christmas music and try my hand at making biscotti. But this morning as I sit here with a cup of tea, my mind drifts to wintertime memories. There was a time when a major snowstorm ten days before Christmas would have caused me considerable panic, but that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. 

When our sons were growing up, they looked forward to providing Mr. Smith and me with a Christmas list of all the loot that would make their Christmas dreams come true.  We would review their lists and try to find a balance between delighting our children and avoiding excessiveness.  Some years we succeeded more than others.  Who doesn’t love to hear delighted squeals on Christmas morning.  Yet over time, my perspective on gifts has shifted.  I don’t want to be just an enabler to mounds of “stuff” often discarded in a few months.  Many years later when our oldest son was a father, he came across the advice of limiting the number of gifts each child receives to four:

 Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear and Something to read.

I wish I had seen that before I had children but wonder if I would have been able to stick to it any better than he has!

Years ago I worked in a family owned flower shop.  The matriarch of the family had a rule when Christmas shopping for couples.  If you were married, you received a gift for the two of you.  If you were not married – even if you were living together – you received separate gifts.  That always stuck with me and this year I’m thinking about starting some rules of my own.  

As the parents of adult children and grandchildren, we still take great pleasure in trying to come up with a Christmas gift that will please.  Along with switching to a couple’s gift for our adult children, I’m doing some serious thinking about gifts and grandchildren.  I’ve decided that up until age 10 my grandchildren can receive A toy, but after 10 it’s going to be a book.  Like most grandparents, I certainly have the urge to indulge my grandchildren, but I can do that with reading, attention, special meals and experiences.  And every once in a while, a little something special.  This year the favorite gift I am giving is to three of my granddaughters who now all sleep in big girl beds, even the youngest sister, Elizabeth.  I found vintage pillowcases on Etsy and embroidered them with the girls’ names.

This was also the year I followed in Grandma Pat’s footsteps and fashioned all my grandchildren an ornament and I plan to continue this tradition.  Grandma Pat’s ornaments made for my sons through the years now hang on their trees, keeping her memory alive.  I’m guessing one day my grandchildren will remember me as they unpack the ornaments I have made for them at Christmas time and be reminded of all our special adventures together.

C’est la vie.

3 thoughts on “Brown paper packages tied up with strings…

  1. Nice post! I had heard of the “Four Somethings” advice years ago from a younger coworker, and I really admired her for it. I really like the “other ways” you listed to indulge your grandchildren. The idea of “rules” could help manage all the gift giving. However, I prefer to give books to young children in the our family. There are so many wonderful children’s books. I think of how I read the same favorites over and over again to my children. Your handmade gifts are a treasure for sure. Enjoy your day!


    • Good morning, Betty. As a kid, I loved Christmas. While I have an image in my head of a Christmas tree piled high with presents underneath, it’s not the gifts I remember. It’s family coming to visit, special foods, fun. In my old age, I feel a responsibility to try to curb the out-of-control excess.
      Books will always be my gift of choice for children and there are just so many to choose from! Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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