A Wrapping Cabinet

I have a wrapping cabinet.  And it brings me so much joy.

What’s a wrapping cabinet, you ask?  Well, a wrapping cabinet is just that; a cabinet that houses gift-wrapping supplies.  My wrapping cabinet has a hanging shelf for giftbags of various sizes and occasion, coloured tissue paper, ribbons and bows, and enough space for several rolls of wrapping paper to stand.  It’s in our basement,  in the corner of the room, with a large, open area of carpet beneath it.  I have boxes of greeting cards, gift tags for every holiday, and even bacon-printed wrapping paper.bacon-wrapping-paper-3736-1287950355-58

These supplies are things that I’ve accumulated over the years, and yes, I am that person that folds all the tissue paper that comes with the gift bags I receive at Christmas and birthdays, and re-uses it again, wrinkles and all.  I am nothing if not ecologically thrifty.  But the part I love the most about my wrapping cabinet, the part that brings me the most joy, are the thoughts I have about the person for whom the gift is for.  I value my relationships above most other things, and I find giving to be a great way to outwardly express my love for the people in my life.

Now, I’m certainly not talking about spending wads of money and being extravagant and excessive.  I’m talking about sending the perfect card for the perfect occasion or finding the perfect offering for the perfect person.  I take great pride in gift-giving and card-writing, and often buy things months in advance, knowing they will make the eventual recipient very happy.  I’ve been known to mail care packages halfway around the world, spend more on shipping than the gift itself, and send birthday cards week ahead of time.  It’s the act of giving, the thoughts behind giving, and the emotion involved in giving that makes me so happy.

I love to sit in front of my wrapping cabinet with a cup of coffee and a pen, and find the words to convey my thoughts onto a 5×7 birthday card.  And I’m definitely better at communicating through the written word than I am the spoken word (hence this blog), so perhaps that’s why I love it so much.  I’m able to say what I really mean, and channel the strength of my emotions.

Wrapping cabinets are good for the soul.  Trust me on this one.



The Key Jar

I hope that you had a Happy Mother’s Day weekend, as I did.  There was lots of family time in the sunshine for us, and that suits me just perfectly.  I’m not at all about gifts and commercialism, in case you missed my ‘Gifts, and gifts, and gifts, oh my‘ post from awhile back.  I’m about thoughtfulness, and experiences, and time together; but I’d like to share the knock-your-socks-off present that made my day, and perhaps my year… cue the melodrama.

My children, who are now six and three, came home from Kindergarten and Preschool with handmade loveliness in the form of decorated flower pots, butterfly canvases, and Mother’s Day cards.  My husband added a sleep-in (I made it to 8:45am!), some fresh cut flowers (my fave!), and a homemade Whole30-approved brunch (today is Day 12 of my first Whole30, if you happen to be following along).  Brilliant.  I was a happy girl.  And then they gave me this:


This is a key jar.  The premise is simple: the jar is filled with questions- thoughtful, exploratory, insightful questions.  At family meals, we pull a ‘key’ from the jar and it unlocks beautiful conversation from our children’s hearts and minds.

But as wonderful as my husband is, and he really is wonderful, he did not come up with the key jar idea.  In fact, it is a brainchild from the Momastery website, written by Glennon Doyle Melton.   She writes:

“Getting to know ourselves and others is the greatest adventure.  We are explorers of ourselves and the people we love.  Love is the ongoing process of unlocking each other and keeping safe whatever we find.  Thoughtful questions are the keys we use to do the unlocking and safekeeping.”

Here’s my (unsolicited) advice:

  • If you have a child, you need a key jar.
  • If you know a child, you need to give them a key jar.
  • If you have a key jar, you need to treasure what it unlocks.

To make your very own, please find instructions by clicking here.

Happy Tuesday, my friends.

Gifts and gifts and gifts, Oh My!

My son, who’s four, came home from Junior Kindergarten last Thursday afternoon with a backpack full of loot bags.  Halloween loot bags.  Halloween loot bags from friends that he has known for eight weeks that were passed out to the entire 18-kid class, labelled ‘To My Friend’, and stuffed with Halloween pencils and erasers, balloons, glow-in-the-dark sticks, and spider rings.  I received a note from his teacher the week prior, reminding parents that if they wanted to “send something in for Halloween” it had to be non-food-related due to allergy concerns.  I chose not to send anything in, and here’s why:

When did this never-ending cycle of gift-giving start?  There’s the obvious biggies- Christmas and birthdays.  But when did it become commonplace to shower our children with ‘stuff’ every month of the year?  There’s back-to-school gifts in September, Halloween gifts in October, and New Year’s gifts in January.  Don’t forget the Valentine’s hoop-la in February, Dr. Seuss Day in March, and Easter baskets in April.  Oh, and Thanksgiving and Canada Day and the first day of Spring. What about June?  Ah yes, the “passing present” when they finish school.  Yes, you read that right: a passing present- that is, buying them a present for “passing” to the next grade level.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I am all about celebrations.  I am the first one to give a hug, a congratulatory phone call, or mail a card when a big event happens.  I put out lit-up pumpkin lights for Halloween, I hang Christmas lights in November, and I serve my kids red and pink food all day on Valentine’s Day.  But I’m not about stuff.  Gifts, gifts, and more gifts are not my style.

So, back to the note from my son’s teacher.  Halloween is already a big event at school when you’re in Junior Kindergarten, and my son was beyond excited that he got to wear his costume to school.  They also had a dance-a-thon in the gym, a movie in the classroom, and a costume parade through the halls.  It was a big deal.  It IS a big deal.  But I didn’t buy him, or his classmates, a gift.  Because the joy we had leading up to Halloween, the laughs we had trick-or-treating, and the memories we made on our neighbourhood streets were worth far more than a $5 loot bag could hold.

Call me a killjoy, call me cheap, call me a poor sport.  I will call me low-key.  I’m for jeans and a ponytail over dress pants and up-dos.  I’m for experiences over things.  I’m for earning over deserving.  I’m for opportunities over entitlement.

Happy Halloween!