24. November 2005 · Comments Off on ‘Tis the Season… · Categories: Domestic, General, General Nonsense

…To consider the 153,00th way in which I do not resemble Martha Stewart… which is, as of 10:30 AM, Central Time, I was running a medium-warm iron over sheets of gold, green, red and white tissue paper, to take out the wrinkles and fold marks. Yes, indeedy, I am re-using Christmas tissue paper, stuff in which gifts that I received last year were nestled, or slightly crushed and added to the top of a gift bag… for pete’s sake, people, it is only slightly used! It’s perfectly good, and have you seen how much it costs, anyway?

I also re-use the heavy paper gift bags, but then all of our family does: until my parents’ house burned, two years ago October, there were some particularly sturdy bags which had been circulating for a decade or so. Honestly, do we look like we are made out of money? And never mind the cardboard cartons and the large bag of Styrofoam popcorn, out in the garage… with a little forethought a sensible and thrifty person with sufficient storage space need never be caught short of packing materials in this Christmas season… and have you seen how much they charge for packing materials at the post office, or at the Container Store, or your friendly neighborhood accommodation address/UPS Drop/ Kinko-Klone? Why pay for things that your spendthrift friends and retail outlets are sending you, gratis? Honestly, most people will never notice, and those that do, and will hold it against you… well, really, those are people whom you are best off without. If you are related to them by marriage or economic bonds, my sympathies… unfortunately, I do not think Amazon.com offers “A Life” or the means of sending such to them. At the rate things are going, however, this may be possible in the near future. Check back in a year or so.

Number 1 or 2 in the ways in which I do resemble Martha Stewart… Ummm… I am organized, and do my Christmas shopping early. Way early. All during the year, in fact…ever since I bought a Japanese porcelain tea set for my sister Pippy and stashed it under my bed in the barracks in Japan for six months until it came time in October to mail it home. This may actually be what have done it for me, instilled a rigorous sense of what was required, giftwise, and the knowledge that it had better be done in time to mail it to CONUS by the October deadline. You know that Christmas is coming, every year. You know that gifts are obligatory, to those you are bound to, by ties of blood and affection or duty. You know that you will have to buy them something… why not be sensible and organized, and pick up things for them throughout the year, as you see them by chance, or on sale, or as opportunity presents, rather than be bludgeoned into buying any old thing at the last minute, or even… gasp (the last resort of a person who has no clue at all) dashing off a check dated December 25th. Even a gift certificate is better than that, at least showing a grasp of what, and which retail outlets the giftee prefers.

It’s Christmas, people. It comes every year, about this time. It’s not like it is a surprise, or anything. Of course, if you really enjoy being packed into a mall or big-box store, searching for a parking place, and jammed in cheek-by-jowl with a million other shoppers, and being attended to by exhausted retail associates who are wearing tennis shoes because Friday after Thanksgiving is a day they can depend upon being run out of them… well, whatever floats your boat.

I shall think of you as I wrap my own Christmas presents in slightly used tissue paper.

You probably don’t want to hear about how the thrift store is the best place for baskets and picture frames… or that Half Price Books and the grocery store is the best place for books to build pretty Christmas baskets around.

(Buy a basket at the local thrift store, and a cook book at an off-price outlet. Mark a nice recipe, and fill the basket with all the ingredients to make it. Package and ornament as your budget allows. When all else fails, buy people on your list something to eat. This does not fail. Number 3 in the way that I do resemble Martha Stewart.)

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