Gifting and Grinching

Clump #120: Assemble cards and packages.

I thought I’d be further along by now.  I tried to get much of my holiday preparations finished in November, so the fact that I’m still at it this late in December is discouraging.  One danger of starting early — but not finishing early — is that I’ve had holiday-to-do-list thoughts clouding my head for too long.  I’m hoping to get to the post office tomorrow.  I checked the USPS website, and it looks like Friday is the last day to send domestic mail, First Class, to arrive by the 24th, after which the level of priority and price go up.

I had bought these candles, below, at a holiday open house in November.  The lady who sold them to me said she bought them for everyone she knew last Christmas.  Something special that someone might not buy for themselves and can be used up, not adding too much to the gift recipient’s clutter.  The beeswax candles on the left made someone very happy today, which made me happy.  Getting to the good part!

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One other holly-jolly happening was the arrival of my younger daughter, home from school.  We watched the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas together.  One of the all-time greats.

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And the perfect cure for creeping grinchiness.

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We even watched the special features and learned that Dr. Seuss’s mother had wanted him to become a doctor, so when he chose a pen name he used Dr. and his mother’s maiden name, Seuss.  He was voted “Least Likely to Succeed” by his classmates, because, “How could he make a living doodling?”  There was some speculation that he was the Grinch; he lived in a house at the top of a tall hill and looked down at La Jolla, CA.

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Christmas comes whether you are ready or not.  I still haven’t found a way to reconcile the true meaning of Christmas with the real-life crush of too much to do/buy/clean/bake/send …

“It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

–Dr. Seuss

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Let Me Get This Off My Chest

Clump #63: Clear papers and books from family room chest.

Below is the chest I had in mind (or what’s underneath): the repository of previous paper purging projects.  (Alliteration!)  Aack!!  So many homeless items in need of decisions.

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Getting rid of our excess paper, for me, is like the children’s story, The Cat In The Hat Comes Back, by Dr. Seuss.  What can go wrong with such a friendly-looking fellow?  (The Cat representing paper in this analogy.)  Come on into the house!

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For those who don’t remember, the good, hard-working brother and sister of the story are left alone, shoveling snow.  Trouble starts when The Cat takes a bath while eating cake.  Ah, that pretty, benign-looking pink frosting leaves a pink ring around the tub.  No problem, The Cat assures the worried children, he can easily get it off.

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“Do you know how he did it? / WITH MOTHER’S WHITE DRESS! /Now the tub was all clean, /But her dress was a mess!”
Out, out, damn spot!  Oops, that’s a different story.  Since I was a kid, I’ve never lost the “Mother-will-come-home-and-we’ll-be-in trouble” anxiety this tale so effectively creates.

The persistent pink stain went from the tub to the dress, to the wall, to Dad’s shoes, to the carpet, the bed, ….

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Well, I won’t spoil the ending.  My point is that the eradication of long-neglected papers feels as dispiriting and futile as The Cat’s stubborn pink spot removal.  From the study, to the floor, to the chest … each time getting smaller and smaller, but still there.

My very own, personal, paper trail of white.  Will it ever be permanently put out of sight??

And — ah, I can breath again — the after photo.  Mothers and others may now enter our home.

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When (not if) I get down to the end of the papers, I will have to have cake in the tub, with pink icing, to celebrate!