an early Christmas tale

We’ve all experienced the typical snafus that happen with online ordering; missing packages, receiving someone else’s goods, getting the wrong fruitcake. Alright, that last one was a flat-out lie [shudders], but you know what I mean. The annoying stuff that happens this time of year, and makes some of us feel a little less Kris Kringly.

Last year something a bit out of the ordinary happened.

A giant box from Amazon showed up at the house. Not a surprise, as I was expecting a few shipments. What was surprising was how lightweight this box was when I picked it up.

As in…was there a package of clouds in here?

I grabbed the box cutter, sliced the tape, and pulled the flaps open to find…

Nothing. The box was completely empty, except for a packing slip that told me what was supposed to be inside the box. The following days became an ongoing joke about the box, and continued disbelief that I had actually been shipped a box full of air.

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The box, on the other hand, had other plans. It quickly become a fun hideaway — filled with little girl giggles for a couple of days until the corners busted, and its destiny, fulfilled.

We’ve had other fun boxes, as all parents have. Though large ones can serve multi-purposes, small ones have smaller, equally fun jobs.

There was the beer box that became a Box Troll.

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There have been countless airplanes, tanks, police cars (and jail cells!), and other vehicles that have traversed my house on days when weather dictated that imaginations rule.

When my oldest was a baby I was so stinkin’ excited, as only a new Mom can be about her baby’s first Christmas. I was extra proud of myself because I had scored her an orange Boohbah. (Think Teletubbies, only 100x scarier.)

All this build-up to the Big Day, when I got to give her the very best gift of all…and you can probably guess what happened next. I dutifully undid the 50,000 plastic ties holding the orange alien furball hostage inside the box, and handed my precious baby the most amazing toy she’d ever seen in her
9 months of life.

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Then she pushed it aside, so she could play with the box it came in.

What I’ve been pondering recently is how what my kids — what all kids — really want is more time with me. Not distracted time, not screen time, not we’re-kinda-sorta-spending-time-together-but-I’m-really-just-driving-your-asses-around-town-and-we’re-spending-a-buncha-money time.

Just real, honest to goodness face time.

However, it’s not just the kiddos that crave this. The other day I received a confirmation from my MIL that she would be here with us for Christmas Eve. Her response was this: One request — please keep it simple and easy for you. The best part really is being together.

Message received.

It’s a no-brainer, but I think some of us (me) need this reminder. Especially this time of year.

For all my talk of mindfulness, I’m kinda the

Queen of Going Overboard.

I’ve been trying to change that. This year I’m making a concerted effort to do more with my girls, and by more I also mean less ‘scheduled’ time. We get so caught up in the go here, go there, what’s next, who do we need to see now that the busyness of Holidays will sweep us into next year if we’re not careful.

I’m all about slowing down. Cookies. Twelve at a time. Not 10 kinds this year, or even five. Two, or three max. Simpler. Smoother. Calmer.

I’ve joked that I’m going to give my girls all a large box, with only a package of markers inside this year, with a note from Santa (aka me): “You’re Welcome.”

I may still do this. They may hate me forever. Or we may make an Elf Town.

Before I get too sappy on you, I’ll leave you with a sound financial investment opportunity for the future. If nothing else, I hope you’ll remember this one takeaway from my message here. I think it’s been pretty clear all along.

Invest in cardboard.

When Amazon takes over the world, it’ll remain the only hot commodity that’s still needed every single day in order to transport all of our must-have-nows, and I’m-a-Prime-customer-WTH-isn’t-my-stuff-here-yets.

Do you wanna build an Elf Town?

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Happy Holidays to all. Hope you get to spend quality time with those you love, and survive all the others in grand style.

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring, A Long-expected Party

Written by

Holes and a series of rabbits — my debut poetry collection — now available!

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