--but other things, like a miniature stuffed dog for my nephew--
Even the stickers she adorns the outside of her boxes with are adorable. The "Christmas long johns" stickers she used on her package for my family this year--
--matched some of the sheets of tissue paper inside, and we all got a laugh out of the design. Sometimes she'll layer sheets of tissue between layers of presents. One of the fun things about her packages--and why I've always loved opening them--is that she uses so many different wrapping paper styles, tissue paper colors, and tie-ons that each person's gift is somehow unique, even on the outside, from everyone else's. Sometimes a tiny container of cookie-decorating sprinkles or colored sugars will simply have a to/from label stuck to it. Sometimes a pair of gloves for my dad or brothers will contain a candy cane. The "Ooh! Ahh!" comes from slicing open the cardboard and seeing the sea of assorted colors and textures and patterns, truly Christmas-in-a-Box.
The beautiful gift-wrapping Aunt Laurie is famous for in our family is one of the skills I most want to learn from her. I think I get a tiiiiiny bit closer each year, but I'm not there yet, and I'm certainly not organized about it. If someday my nieces and nephew appreciate looking at--not just unwrapping, you see, but even just looking at--the gifts I send them the way I've always anticipated seeing Aunt Laurie's, I'll know I got it right. The little package I sent to her and her family last Saturday was colorful and sweet in its way, but I had waited too long/was too disorganized, so while the modest gifts inside were things she, her husband, and their son will enjoy--a Christmas-themed gnome tin filled with peanut butter cups, a small aqua vase for her aqua dining room, a few yards of green floral fabric, an album of family photos, a birthday card that "looks like her," prints of some of my Christmas/mantel decorating with notes on the backs, some green floral fabric, and a package of stickers she had admired before but hadn't been able to find locally--the way I wrapped them was more slap-dash than I had wished: No ornaments or tiny "extras" tied to the presents, no pretty tissue paper to cushion it all, and no variety in the gift wrap. But next year! Next Christmas! Because I really want this to be one of the things I learn from Aunt Laurie. And I want this to be the year I make a real effort to get better at it, although that will mean periodically making trips to the craft store for ribbons and pretty wrapping supplies, frequenting thrift shops throughout the year--instead of in one frantic December visit to search for ornaments and tie-ons--and then finding room here to store it all. Some would say this is trivial--"Gee, Val, what a goal for the new year"--but it really isn't trivial at all. Nothing that makes your loved ones feel more loved is trivial.
"There is something about receiving a beautifully wrapped gift
that touches the child in all of us."
~ Christine Fritsch