Greetings! Whether your holiday is Christmas (like mine), Hanukkah or the Winter Solstice- we all share this tradition: December is the month to wrap it up. Presents. Our possessions. Our lives.
Everyone has idiosyncrasies. One of mine is the practice of a certain style of wrapping presents. Attractive paper... coordinated wired ribbon puffed out in a bow... a beautiful tag... these signal how much the recipient is cared for without a word. Wrapped so, what is given is clearly not just a package given out of obligation. It is a present.
While wealth and talent are nice to have- they aren't required to express creativity and caring in presenting a gift.
The bird and pine cones here are festive icons of the season. This little decoration and the ribbon were bought half-price. The gift inside is practical and not at all expensive- but because it is so well dressed- the grand entrance of what is inside is highly anticipated. My husband reads his name on the tag- and sees there is nothing moderate about how much he is loved.
When presents under the tree are going to go every which way, similarities and contrasts in wrapping are useful tools in avoiding stress. Presents going to one side of the family might be wrapped mostly in green with silver ribbon- the other side easily identified for transport by red paper with gold bows. This "coding" stopped the embarrassment of leaving behind a present as we ran out the door on our Christmas rounds.
At home, our sons presents were easy to separate because each would be wrapped with different outdoor themes. Trevor's gifts were often those in images of the forest. Kenny's presents were snuggled beneath graphic representations related to stream life.
Yesterday, my friend Edda Gahm called. While on vacation in the Pacific Northwest with her sister Gloria Whitley and husband John, Edda was inspired to collect cranberry items for a gift basket our club- The Diamond Bar Republican Women- would be donating to the biennial LA County RWF Convention. Could I help?
It was a "No parking. Street sweeping Day." at her place. Eddap packed up her bags of goodies and wrapping and drove to where my place.
We spread out the bounty for the club basket on my dining table- much of it from the Cranberry Barrel, a favorite merchant she visited on Washington State's Cranberry Coast. As I arranged the abundance of coffee, tea, soaps and more -Edda regaled me with tales of the families there who lived off the land and sea. In the summer they fished...in the autumn they harvested cranberries from bogs held by their families for a hundred years.
The more she talked, the more she smiled, the younger she appeared.
Edda brought moss green tissue paper, which popped in the collection of goodies, highlighted the little band in the plaid container. Like a throw over a sofa, the cranberry themed tea towel draped over the back . Cream colored lace angels provided visual pop.
Edda pulled out a spool of gold ribbon- a traditional way to fasten a feminine collar to the basket dressed in iridescent cellophane.
Why was this so important to Edda? People. First, the ladies and the men who are associates of our club. They volunteer hours that deserve recognition by what is done on their behalf. Same for the ladies of the LA County under which the club is organized.
But especially, Edda wanted to show her appreciation for her long time friend Mary Lou Terranova. At the convention held earlier today, Mary Lou would be stepping down from the County Presidency. Displaying the treasure in this fabric "suitcase" was a way Edda showed her love and respect for all of Mary Lou's hard work. At the same time, helping her do this brought me joy, too.
The basket wrapped and safely in the trunk of the car, we moved on to another tradition of wrapping up the year. Sharing a bowl of homemade Turkey Soup made from the leftover carcass of the big bird.
Trisha, Edda, Sue and I spent much of the day earlier E-mailing back and forth our thoughts on the traditional after-the-holiday fare. Our conclusion: there is no such thing as bad turkey soup.
Edda and I chatted over Portmeirion soup cups filled with my rustic version. We wrapped our vast assortment of thoughts together with friendship. With joy about our adventure up to Sacramento the day before. About the craftsmanship in my husband's woodworking hobby. About the sad anniversary of her only daughter's death. Of my angst of my oldest son's coming divorce. We reminisced the bitter sweetness of life. We're okay with it. After all, chocolate is bittersweet. It is still GOOD.
'Loving Annie' is a lover of food, travel and all aspects of the good life. She is a blogosphere friend. Her blog reviews are a joy to read because they are fair, accurate and intelligent. Drop by for a taste of what she offers at http://www.truetraveltreasures.blogspot.com/
The gorgeous sheets of wrapping paper and the tag are from The Paper Source in Old Town Pasadena. On Colorado Blvd, next to Sur La Table. Or shop online at http://www.paper-source.com/
At this writing, both Michael's and Jo-Ann's Fabrics and Crafts have holiday decorations and wraps at after- Christmas price points. Stores throughout the area.
Travel info on the Cranberry Coast is found at http://www.experiencewa.com/scenic-byways/cranberry-coast.aspx