I’ve tried to continue many of my childhood family’s Christmas Eve traditions with my own family. Some work, others have needed some adjustments. One Christmas Eve tradition in particular has required some adjustments.
Wrapping presents on Christmas Eve
Every Christmas Eve, Daddy would drive to the nearby town of Greenville, SC and visit McAllister Square—a bigger shopping mall than what the small city of Spartanburg had at the time. He’d buy Mom some red lipstick, Norell perfume, and a couple of outfits. He’d come home triumphant, not only presenting my sister and me with gifts for Mom to wrap, but with Pepperidge Farm summer sausage and cheese logs, and Dunkin Doughnuts for Christmas morning.
Spartanburg lacked Dunkin Doughnuts and Pepperidge Farm stores at the time, making these treats extra special. At some point in the proceedings, red pistachio nuts would also make an appearance.
My sister and I would follow Daddy into the bedroom and uhh and ahh over his clothing purchases. We’d leave the prices on the clothes, because no one appreciated a good bargain more than Mom did. One item was chosen to bear the honor of being wrapped in the precious Saks Fifth Ave box that would be recycled every year.
My sister and I would end up competing on who could make mom’s present look the prettiest and who could tie the better bows. She always won, but then, she was two years older.
I haven’t been able to translate this tradition with my boys. Their wrapping skills are not anywhere close to their rapping skills. If I buy it and drop humongous hints about how much I like it, they’ll use pretty paper. A stick-on bow will do them nicely and they slap a self-adhesive tag anywhere on the box—not necessarily anywhere in the vicinity of the bow.
There are, however, the couple of hours during which I’m banned from the bedroom as Matt and the boys work their magic with scissors, tape, and folding skills. When the labor is complete, we all reward ourselves with a little cheese log and summer sausage. Often, pistachio nuts (not red though) make an appearance.