Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Christmas is over. It is a new year. It is January 2008. Most people don't look at this time as being a time of reflection, that would be reserved for New Year's Eve. I, however, find it a very appropriate time to look back over the previous year and see what worked, what didn't, what can be changed, what will simply be tolerated. I don't believe in resolutions -- they always fail but I do believe in realistic observation and appropriate action.

My children are grown. Gone are the days of Barbie, leggos, action figures -- except for the sixteen boxes of aforementioned items from the 70's currently housed in my attic. Gone are the days of surprises because now my children have preferences and opinions and homes and spouses. They have changed. Their needs, desires and expectations have changed. Mine, on the other hand, have not. I still find myself shopping for the "perfect" gift, a surprise, if possible. I still find myself looking for the perfect wrapping to create the fantasy Christmas that my children enjoyed in their youth.

This year, however, in the quest for all the Christmas perfection I seem to need, something became alarmingly apparent to me--the cost of the wrapping paper. I didn't do as much shopping as I ususally do. Much of my shopping was done online in a search for hard-to-find religious publications for my son or vintage college yearbooks for my daughter. So, I assumed that since I didn't buy as much I wouldn't need as much thrilling wrapping and decoration. My third trip to my neighborhood Hallmark store had me wondering what in the world I HAD bought and why was it taking so much paper to wrap it? Did I buy more than I thought? Was there less paper on the roll? Was I getting senile and did I forget that I ALWAYS buy nine rolls of paper every year.

Nine rolls of paper and the appropriate ribbon and tags totalling about $110. Paper that was ripped and thrown away, paper that was not even admired for its beauty and cleverness. Nobody commented on the giant white polka dots that the rocking horse was wrapped in. In my opinion, that $110 could have been flushed down the toilet.

Next year the perfect gift, the perfect color, size and wrapped in the perfect wrapping -- money.