Time flies during the holidays

January 23, 2008 04:06 pm

I just mailed off my sister's Christmas presents yesterday. I know, its mid-January and I should be slightly red-faced to admit that I am this late. It may be more embarrassing to admit that I still had wrapping paper lying about to help me accomplish this task. Tardy or not, it was a very rewarding experience.

To be truthful, my sister was traveling during the holidays and there was a real possibility of gifts missing her in transit. Therefore, I claim a sliver of justification in missing the mark by nearly a month.

I did find that wrapping presents after the Christmas rush was strangely more fun. I spent more time on the wrapping and the ribbons. I thought about each individual gift and considered how it would be received. To my sister's benefit, I actually added more presents to her pile, due in part to the "after-Christmas sales" that lure me like leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator. More gifts may have been a compensation move for any belated holiday action on my part, but the after-Christmas bargains idea is a concept I have been trying to float around my house for years.

When my son was still at home, I tried to convince him that Santa would probably be willing to negotiate a time-for-toys type trade. I speculated that he would certainly be much more generous post-Christmas day if we were willing to free up some of his frantic, house-to-house schedule on Christmas Eve. In the end, we decided that the real present receiving headiness wasn't about getting more stuff. It was more about being swept up in that palpable, collective anticipation that permeates Christmas Eve like pea-soup fog.

My sister is another matter. For her, this was all good. I spoke with her last week to let her know that her personal Christmas wasn't over yet — that her gift-receiving window of opportunity was still open for business. She had been given a holiday extension. How exciting is that?

There was a piece circulating on the Internet some time back where the writer equated the anticipation of heaven with a food server telling you to keep your fork. The translation being: Dessert is on its way. Having someone tell you that your Christmas isn't over yet has got to be a powerful gift in itself. "Keep your scissors handy, sis; there are gifts in the mail!"

My sister was delighted. She will enjoy the beautifully wrapped, if belated, presents. For me, this means I already have a defendable head start on any future holiday gift exchange. The pressure is off. Family birthdays, Valentine's Day, Easter, St. Patrick's all have the potential of extended lifetimes. It changes my whole calendar. A little turkey and every day is Thanksgiving. Like Steven Hawking, I have discovered time is not really what you think.

Hey, what do you mean Valentine's Day is coming right up? I just finished Christmas!



Colleen MacLeod is an Imbler/Summerville area resident and also a county commissioner.