The Christmas Box

I’m usually the early bird when it comes to most things.  I like to get up early in the morning.  I send birthday cards out early.   I start Christmas shopping for the next year soon after Christmas is over.  So this year, for me to mail boxes a week before Christmas, was late.

It’s sort of ironic considering I’d had some of the contents since January, sitting in my basement.  They weren’t wrapped or anything but there they were: bought and in bags.  Waiting.  For me.

My sister and sister-in-law usually wait a little longer to mail their gifts but I always receive their Christmas boxes by Christmas so no problem. This year, I received my sister-in-law’s box last week.  My sister’s box should come any day.

The box that I’m calling the Christmas Box is the one I sent to my brother and sister-in-law and their family.  That is the one I have been agonizing over discussing everyday with them. My brother is a teaser, and this is a prime opportunity for him to one up and tease. I will be on the phone with my sister-in-law and I will hear him in the background saying:

“I bet your tree looks nice and full with our presents underneath it.  Ours looks a little light.”   

He knows full well that he will get our gifts, eventually.  He just wants to tease and otherwise bother me. What are little brothers for?  He also teased me about receiving my sister’s gift. 

He said, “The other sister’s gifts are already under my tree.”  

I could blame the delay of the Christmas Box on many things.  I let my son get involved in buying some of the gifts.  He bought them but left them at my mother’s house and I had to go get them later.  Long story.  Bottom line it resulted in delay.  Also, I didn’t plan to send the gifts as early as usual and I should have. Planning is the biggest part of execution.   Some years I’ve sent the gifts so early it was a bit ridiculous. I’m sure my gifts arrived before the Christmas tree was even put up.  Whatever the reason for the delay, I’ve got a delay on my hands.

It’s Thursday and Christmas is on Sunday. I have today, tomorrow, and Saturday for the box to arrive to make it before Christmas.

What’s funny is that the day before I mailed the Christmas Box I talked to my sister-in-law on the phone.  I know, we talk a lot.  Once again my brother was in the background (kind of like the teacher on Charlie Brown: waaanh waaanh waaanh) saying not to spend too much to get it there before Christmas. After Christmas was fine.  Although my sister-in-law relayed this message to me, I could hear that her heart wasn’t in it.

After my husband dropped me and the Christmas Box off at the post office last Saturday, I called my sister-in-law.

“It was going to cost over $40 to get it there by Christmas so I paid $15 and it will get there between Christmas and New Year’s,” I said.

“Awww,” she said, sounding a little sad.

The truth is, although the post office clerk said after Christmas, the screen said it would arrive by Friday, December 23rd.  I’m still hoping for that.

So each night I call my sister-in-law and say,

“Did you get the Christmas Box” and she says, “No.”  

Then she says, “Karyl, I will call you when we get the box.”

Or, “Karyl, I told you we would call you.”

The mystery and anticipation are sort of fun.  Will it get there before Christmas?  Will the Christmas Box get to stay a Christmas Box or will it be a New Year’s box?  The wise men took a while to get to the baby Jesus with their gifts. They arrived well after Christmas. I’m in fine company. But I feel weird and out of my element. I’m supposed to be the early one. I feel defeated like I’ve lost the race. The good news is that I’ve let my sister and sister-in-law win.  But, not on purpose.  Next year I’m sending my Christmas Box in October!

I think of all the Christmas boxes surrounded by Christmas cards on mail trucks.  Big boxes and small boxes.  In brown paper wrapping just like the words of one of my son’s favorite songs, My Favorite Things:

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Boxes in trucks: UPS, Federal Express, USPS.  All that love bundled up being carted around to so many doorsteps.

My sister-in-law said that if the box gets there after Christmas she will still be happy because 1) she loves getting mail, 2) it will make her feel special because it will arrive at a time when she’s not getting other gifts, and 3) it will remind her more of us since she won’t get to see us this Christmas.  My sister-in-law is sweet that way.  And very special in her own right.

Friday, I sent my sister-in-law the following email:

Dear Luisa,  I have a very personal and important question to ask you:

Did you get the box yet?  🙂

She responded with:
I have a very critical and confidential response:
Hmmm.  I guess that’s telling me.  🙂
Then she forwarded me a blog post entitled Simply Trust about trusting God.  I realized that it was silly to worry about the Christmas Box, even in jest.  I gave up worrying.  My angst was gone.  I decided to accept whatever would happen.  I had faith that the Christmas Box would get there.  Or it wouldn’t.  It would all be OK either way.
On Saturday, the last possible day for the Christmas Box to arrive, I wasn’t really thinking about it.  I was busy baking three sets of treats for my husband, son and mother.  I got the following email from my brother at 1:37 pm:
Darn.  Your box just arrived.  Now I can’t tease you!
I jumped up and down on the couch screaming “They got the box!  They got the box!”  It felt like a mini-Christmas miracle.  It’s funny how you can find tiny miraculous things in the mundane.  My Christmas Box had arrived safely at my brother’s home.  Filled with the gifts I thought about giving to him and his family.  Made and bought with love.  Wrapped in shiny paper with ribbons and bows.  All the way from my house and heart to theirs. 
Thank you to all the people who work for the U.S. postal service, Federal Express, UPS, and to all the folks who pack, ship and drive all our sweet gifts across the country to bring a smile to the faces of those we love.

10 responses »

  1. This post actually had me on the edge of my seat…just as you were about the box being delivered in time…until your sister-in-law mentioned the need for patience..and I literally ‘got it’ and relaxed as I read the rest of the post…them internally jumped up and down as you did for real when the box arrived…what a wonderful post, and a great lesson too. It would have been okay for teh box to be late…but I’m sooo glad it wasn’t! xxx

    • You have no idea how happy your comment made me! It was so fun living through that and writing the piece. I took a creative writing class last summer and it has helped me with writing. It’s alsways been a dream of mine to run a marathon and write a novel – probably like a lot of people. I think I’ve given up on the marathon. I did the 60 mile Avon Cancer Walk and that felt like a good substitute. I may have a novel in me (although I haven’t figured out what it is yet). In the mean time I will keep writing whatever comes to me – like short, non-fiction stories. I’m glad you liked it and I’m also glad the box arrived on time! 🙂 Happy New Year! I look forward to reading your blog in 2012!

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