Of Bows and All Things Wrapped and Unwrapped

single-plastic-coin-purseThis was my Christmas present from my Grandparents many years ago. Well, not this exact one, but a plastic coin purse like this. Several were hanging on their Christmas tree, like ornaments, one for each grandchild. We got to choose the color we wanted. Inside was either a fifty-cent piece or a silver dollar. It’s sad I don’t remember which, but I’m leaning toward the fifty-cent piece. I wasn’t very old – five? – so not old enough to understand the value of the large coin, but old enough to be a little disappointed in both the gift and that it wasn’t wrapped like I expected.

Later, Grandma’s gift wrapping became legendary. dsc03017

This is her gift-wrapping booklet I found – and took – after she died. Her gifts looked like pieces of art. She could twist flat ribbon into points so tight they looked dangerous. Paper and ribbon coordinated to make the prettiest packages, many of the bows having tiny decorations in their center. I tried to keep them intact while I opened the gifts, but it rarely worked.


I did learn to appreciate the monetary value of that first gift, as well as the creative way Grandma gave it. Over the years the gifts improved, usually something handmade, yet they remained simple. Then the one gift we received each year was an ornament for our tree. We never received a big gift from our grandparents, but the time and patience Grandma took to make her simple gifts look beautiful weren’t lost on me.

While I don’t think I could get away with giving just a plastic coin purse to my almost 8-year-old granddaughter, I do look to my grandparents’ example of Christmas gift-giving. Our youngest grandson is a long-awaited, adorable 4-month-old. A friend asked if I went crazy buying for him. That would’ve been easy to do for all the grands. She was a bit surprised when I said no. We did the 4 gift thing – something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Even those were kept simple.

That decision took off so much pressure. It reined in the temptation to buy just one more thing, and some of the impulse buying – there were stockings after all. Fewer gifts meant less shopping. When we did shop, those four categories kept us focused and gave us freedom. I mean, a necklace is something to wear, right? Who says it has to be clothes?

Simplicity is a gift I hope to keep unwrapping in the coming year. Less running around, but more running outside. Well, maybe not actually running, but at least walking! Fewer appointments on the calendar, but more unscheduled time with family and friends.

Oh, I did try to make some of my grands’ gifts look pretty. I have the curling ribbon thing down fairly well, but have a long way to go before my flat ribbons twist into dangerous points. Maybe next year. I have Grandma’s booklet.


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2 Responses to Of Bows and All Things Wrapped and Unwrapped

  1. Susan March says:

    Neat story Kim . I have to ask which Grandparents ? I bet those were wonderful times .

    • Grandma and Grandpa Kempf. I remember the ornaments Grandma Schmitt made one year. They were cardboard shapes she covered with material and sewed together. When you squeezed the gently they opened and the small gift was inside. But what I mainly remember about Grandma and Grandpa Schmitt was the meal with all of you cousins!

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