Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Giving of Gifts

I have to write something almost mindless today - just to get my mind off of events of late... (Yesterday, I got a work-related call while en route to my family's house for the anniversary of my nephew's death - and where it wasn't a big deal, I just needed work not to be a part of my day... for a day.)

Anyway, It's a tradition I have - I miss my sib's birthdays every year. My brother's is on November 14, another sister's on November 16, and my oldest sister's is on November 24. I'm terrible at remembering birthdays, but I'm good for it. To raise the spirits of my family yesterday, I brought their gifts.

My oldest sister is easier to buy for. I got her a gift card to a store that she has to buy something for herself... She usually neglects herself, so I must force her to treat herself a little. My other sister, however has rules... and where I love my sister, I have to say that she makes the gift-giving process both stressful and not-so-fun.

One: Ideally, the gift must be a surprise.

However, when she tells you what she wants, she's been known to return a lot of gifts... Last year, my mother called in a panic: "Kelly, can you help me find boots for your sister?" I scoured the internet for the proper pair of boots. I chose based on price, appearance, and my sister's strict instructions. I thought I did all right. I even wrapped the boots and brought them home on Christmas Day... Two weeks later, my sister called asking for the receipt. She didn't think they were warm enough.

Two: Gift must be wrapped. I take offense to this rule, even though it's traditionally accepted as a gift-giving practice. My brother-in-law is not really into the whole wrapping thing. I myself am a horrible gift-wrapper. I really stink at it. My lines are often crooked... I used to be tape happy... I never curl the ribbon properly... I don't enjoy the practice...

Days before her birthday, she called me to complain about her birthday anxiety. "No one ever surprises me. No one gets me what I want... And my husband doesn't wrap gifts. I hate that. Can't he just wrap it?" I know the idea of gift-giving is to please the other person, but I have to be honest. If I didn't have to wrap, I would't either. (I've compromised with gift bags)

Incidentally, she's not the only one... If my sister-in-law receives a gift without proper wrapping (or proper accessorizing), she comments, "Oh, Aunt Kelly just hates cards, doesn't she?" I ask you: what in the world does a five-year-old need with a card?

Anyway, back to my theories on gift-wrap.

I work hard to please people - too hard, most of the time.

So I made sure I wrapped my sister's birthday present. I chose pretty, handmade paper in a color I know she loves (Volkswagon green). I didn't bother with ribbon, because to date, ribbon never made it to the list of rules we must follow. I got a card with a phrenology head on it (My sister is in the psych field). To my credit, I did well... She commented on how much she liked the paper. I said I folded it over so she could keep it.

That's where I made my fatal mistake.

My family then chimed in with endless joking about my grandmother (on my dad's side), who saved every square inch of wrapping paper so she'd never have to buy any. She saved most gifts to give to other people - but thankfully, that didn't
enter into the coversation, or my sister would've suspected I regifted her present - which I didn't.

My sister was so upset, that she crumpled the pretty green handmade paper I'd so carefully chosen for her on the basis of her recycling it into something nice - I felt like I'd failed. Yet another thing I must thank my cranky-grandma for on Judgement Day.

Anyway, gift wrapping was only really fun for me once... Maybe six years ago. I'd taken all my gifts and wrapping paper to the nursing home where my other grandma lived. We wrapped together, and she oohed and ahhhed at my gift choices as if she were receiving each and every one. It was really nice to spend time with her - and a memory I've wrapped in my mind with the shiniest of papers, the most glowing of ribbons, and a card that reads "To Kelly with all my Love."



  • At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kelly, I have a recommendation to help you remember birthdays. Go to They have a really good reminder service that helps you remember birthdays, anniversaries, etc. They also suggest good paper greeting cards, gifts and ecards. Chekc it ou.


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