Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I threw out the wrapping paper, or…

Loosing one of my manias.
We all have one or two (o.k. some of us have way more than that!) little tricks for saving: be it money, things, time (these are usually worthy actions), etc.

My mother washed out ziplock bags until they were used enough to throw away. I seem to have more than one (and yes I also wash out ziplock bags, but only once or twice). Two of the most predominant: cutting up a paper towel into quarters to use as napkins when I am on my own and the subject of this blog, i.e. saving the wrapping paper.

I can claim that this is partially genetically programmed: I can’t remember a Christmas where my father wasn’t gathering up the wrappings as we went, straightening them, piling them neatly and saving them for the next event. My mother, who tended to be the saver and tidier was seemingly content to let that go although as we grew older she did try and get him to actually watch us open our gifts instead of concentrating on the paper.

I inherited this trait – big time! I not only gather the wrappings as we go, but also make sure that no re-useable box goes missing. My two sons have long known that the box is definitely not indicative of the present: I mean, really, socks in the cartoon for scouring powder or money in egg cartons. I hadn’t realized how bad it had gotten though until we shared Christmases and birthdays with others in our lives – the looks on some people’s faces before we explained that no, the fact that the box said industrial strength drain cleaner didn’t mean that that was what they were getting, anymore than the cute (and might I add expensive) box for some brand-name perfume, meant that they were actually getting that perfume!

The tables have been turned: last night we celebrated just the three of us, my upcoming birthday (son #1 – in age – returns to his job in Africa, son#2 – still in age, will be leaving soon for his stint as camp counsellor) and although two wrappers were recognizable for the stores in which the gifts were bought (let me hasten to add, that when they are good stores, this is perfectly acceptable), but the rest came in “gently used” boxes and wrappings.

A first for me – I actually threw out the paper wrappings – couldn’t quite tear myself to do the same with the bags and boxes - one of which was actually a bag for a bottle for a Christmas present – hey the apple haven’t fallen far from the tree. Got to grow up sometime (hmm… maybe not, think I’ll rescue some of the pretty birthday motif tissue paper).