I love beautifully-wrapped gifts. I really enjoy taking time to wrap gifts well and make generous bows. The presentation, I think, is part of the gift.
I love neutral wrapping paper and prominent bows. That’s what I do for baby showers and birthday gifts and especially Christmas. Never in my life have I ever used a pre-made bow. I take lots of shortcuts when it comes to things like vacuuming, laundry, home organization and personal hygiene, but gift wrap is where I draw the line.
When I was a kid, my mom got three different rolls of wrapping paper and used one for each of us. Her strategy makes good sense to me, and I was thinking of doing something similar — beautiful boyish paper for David, beautiful girlish paper for Mary Virginia.
And then Lightning McQueen drove his way right into the Christmas aisle.
I debated. I love beautiful presents, but my kids? They love cars, and princesses. They love fun.
And Christmas, for the next decade at least, is about Jesus and family and fun, right? This is the first year David really gets the whole Christmas present thing and I can already imagine him waking up Christmas morning and shrieking because MOMMY LOOK! MY PRESENTS HAVE LIGHTNING A-QUEEN!!! AND MARY GOT DOLLS!
That’s what I imagine will happen, anyway. It probably wont, but I’m pretty sure the only one who would shriek about a bunch of packages tied with fabric bows is me.
Plus, it’s not like these garish presents are going under the tree where they’ll sit until Christmas and clash with my beautifully-decorated home. They’re going in a cardboard box in the trunk of our car, because no present — no matter how it’s wrapped or who it’s for or what’s inside — is safe under our tree.
Our tree isn’t even safe.
It only has about a third of our ornaments on it because so many have gotten broken, so I just stopped decorating it.
Whenever I tell people about our broken ornaments, they suggest I put the breakable ones at the top and the unbreakable ones at the bottom. Except my kids are breaking unbreakable ornaments. Wheels pulled off a plastic train, googly-eyes peeled off a clothespin reindeer. Somehow Mary Virginia pulled a tiny gingham bow off her baby ornament. On the day we started decorating the tree, they broke seven glass balls. I found one still hanging on the tree, broken. That means they broke it while it was on the tree. And I had to shake down the limbs to get the glass pieces out.
You can barely tell, but in this picture David’s hanging a Mater ornament. I was going to get him the matching Lightning McQueen one, but he broke it when we were still in the store. This was his second Mater, which is now also broken and in the trash. He broke it when he was climbing on his chair to hang in on the tree for the forty-third time in a row.
We’ve had our tree for a few weeks, and in that time Mary Virginia has learned to take ornaments off the tree and run away with them. Because David is the tree sheriff and if he sees he with an ornament he will snatch it, an action that always makes her cry and occasionally damages the ornament.
My glass ornaments can stay in a bin this year. And maybe next year, too.
I barely even notice because every night before she goes to bed, Mary Virginia says goodnight to the lights. And on the day we put up the tree, David kept announcing, “This is my favorite Christmas ever!”
Which sort of makes it my favorite Christmas ever, too.