I realize we’re celebrating Independence Day, but as a good Southern woman, I have to get my act together and decide on a wrapping paper theme for this coming Christmas. Last year, I foolishly believed my husband when he offered to take care of wrapping the gifts, and as God is my witness, I ended up with a pile of presents wrapped in the newspaper, held together with a combination of masking and duct tapes and labeled with a big black Sharpie. I justa‘bout died.
The reason Christmas is so important to Southern ladies is because we feel greatly indebted to be born in a place where doors are literally opened for us, the tea is sweet, and now the latest show of love — azaleas are cultivated to bloom all year long. With this blatant favoritism showered upon us, we feel obligated to make our Savior’s birthday absolutely perfect, right down to the gift wrap.
Those who wait until the last minute to tend to details, know all too well the shame associated with mismatched gifts under the tree. You can have the most beautiful house in the neighborhood, and a Christmas tree that rivals the White House, but if the gifts below are wrapped in 10-year old birthday paper, you can forget about the Junior League cookbook savory appetizer sub-committee ever wanting to meet at your house again.
The monogramed stockings must coordinate with the tree skirt, which must also coordinate with the Christmas morning pajamas, and if the gift wrap is out of whack, it throws the entire day off kilter. If that ever happened, it would leave my boys with bad memories they would certainly share with their future wives.
“She did what? Used fifteen -year old Barney the Dinosaur wrapping paper? What kind of backwoods Mama do you have?” one of them would say. It would break my boy’s hearts to know their wives didn’t respect me because of a gift wrap malfunction.
In 2002, I found several rolls of Lenox Holiday wrapping paper at the outlet mall to match my Christmas China and it was one of the most glorious Christmases in our family history. Photos from that year’s festivities were pretty enough to be featured in the “Our Christmas Memories” silver frame.
Cousin Rosie Belle from Robertsdale thinks I’ve lost my mind. She doesn’t give a flip what her wrapping paper looks like and long ago switched to using gift bags she finds on the seventy-five percent-off table in January. Christmas at her house is a free-for-all and once the gifts are unwrapped, there are shredded bits of paper and ribbons with Scooby Doo, shamrocks and Frosty the Snowman, littered all over the house.
During my duct-tape/Sharpie fiasco of last Christmas, my Pretty in Pearls Book Club was due to hold their holiday soiree’ at my house on December 18th. I was forced to toss the ugly duct-taped gifts on a blanket and pull them down the hallway to the guest room where I threw another blanket over the mess. “You certainly are waiting until the last minute to get your shopping done,” said Velma Rae as she suspiciously stared at the empty space beneath my tree. “You know me, I think blazing a streak through the stores the week before Christmas is the happiest part of the holiday.” I told her, thinking all the while how I was going seek revenge for my husband’s enormous lack of decorating compassion by leaving a lump of coal for him under the tree — beautifully wrapped, of course.
I’ve narrowed this year’s motif down to either glittery stars or angels, but I’m still toying with the idea of reindeer, although I’m afraid that would look too much like a deer hunting theme and that just won’t do.
So even though we’re in the hot days of summer, I’ve got an alert set for my phone to notify me when Hobby Lobby unveils the first drop of Christmas merchandise — which should be any minute now. And when I get the notice, I’ll be ready to “roll.”