Unexpected gifts.

There’s a quirky article in The Wall Street Journal today regarding the upside of “sloppily wrapped” gifts. This caught my eye, as I am one of those slapdash gift-wrappers whose gifts look like they were wrapped by an assembly line of six-year-olds. The gist of the article was that gifts wrapped all catty-wampus with gaping seams almost always exceed the expectations of the recipient.

Maybe it was a slow news day. Or maybe the psychology of gift-wrapping is just the content we need in a time where almost nothing is exceeding our expectations.

We are in the midst of a new shutdown that looks a whole lot like the old shutdown except with the added fatigue quotient. I have to admit I hit a low point last weekend when we learned that even sassy Orange County was locking down and our plans to visit Tina and family there this weekend were canceled. We have a long-standing tradition of running down there in the middle of the Christmas rush (yes, we are gluttons for holiday stress and punishment) to take Tina on a little shopping expedition for her birthday. But nope, not this year. “Not this year” is the liturgical response to almost every single darned thing. Ugh.

And then, for the icing on the doomsday cake, as our family Zoomed last Sunday, the CE let it drop that we would “probably be getting just a small Christmas tree this year”.

There was a moment of complete silence while that thought sunk in. We go way, way back with Christmas. And I do mean wayyyy back.



And we always have a nice tall tree to go with the nice tall ceiling in our family room. By always, I mean twenty-six Christmases in this house that the CE has had to climb a ladder to put our makeshift little cardboard star atop our tree. The idea of a small tree for us is basically akin to saying there is no Santa Claus. Everyone took it in stride, though and tried to be cheerful about re-imagining Christmas… with a small tree.

Then, as we had bravely adjusted expectations downward (as does anyone presented with a gift wrapped by me) we heard from a neighbor that the Christmas tree lots had closed! What? It does seem that Scrooge McVirus is winning all the points this holiday. And that we are all wearing down. We’ve been frayed at the edges for quite awhile now and, I fear, in danger of unraveling completely.

Fortunately, the neighbor was wrong. There are Christmas trees for sale. And, fortunately, the CE was wrong. We did not end up with a Tiny Tim tree after all. There he is, back up on that ladder:


Best of all, our new Los Angeleno, Daniel, texted that he and Freddy were thinking about coming up to see us for the weekend. We lost our Newport trip (we will make it up to you, Tina!) but gained a pair of tree-trimmers. Daniel hasn’t been home to decorate the tree for at least a dozen years so this is special. Lily thinks so, too!


We had such a special, cozy evening together and, as of this morning, the tree is almost halfway decorated. This week began as a very sloppily wrapped gift that turned out to completely exceed expectations. Here’s hoping that all of our and all of your Christmas seasons turn out that way!

Oh, and, by the way, we’re pretty sure there really is a Santa Claus.


About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in All Things Family, Holidays, Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Unexpected gifts.

  1. citymama says:

    thank you, for not only the reminder that Tina and i never should have been allowed to wear make-up, but also for teaching me how to spell catty-wampus. šŸ™šŸŽ„šŸ˜¬

  2. dizzyguy says:

    Looks more like Kitty-wampus

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