Thursday, December 27, 2012

To Break or Not To Break....

Nine years ago, when my sons and I were faced with celebrating Christmas minus their father, we decided to begin new (and wacky) traditions, in part to honor him (he was wildly creative) and also to acknowledge and accept our revised family. No wallowing in the past!

The tradition that has lasted is our annual gift-wrapping contest, where each of us wraps at least one gift in the oddest way possible.

In these intervening years, each of us has developed our own particular wrapping style: Reilly mines the kitchen for discarded cereal boxes, lengths of foil, duct tape. Nelson goes the route of glueing-things-to-other-things. My style has not evolved so much as been a last-minute grabbing of whatever I can find that is odd. (One year my entry was wrapped in pages from an old dictionary.)

Reilly's sculptural assemblages (shredded wheat boxes, plastic yogurt tubs, string) have won nearly every year. The vote must be unanimous! (Alas, I've never won.) 

So, last Sunday I got an email from my friend J., who wrote that he had an idea that would pretty much guarantee my win: he'd help me construct a glass box in which I could entomb a small gift.

 Christmas Eve we met at his house, and using plate glass and a scoring tool, he snapped out six rectangles —

which we glued together with UV glue and an ultra-violet light —
Before gluing the last pieces, I slipped the present within –

VoilĂ !

Back home, I wrapped the glass box — openable only by breaking! — into several other boxes-within-boxes to ensure surprise.

Nelson began to laugh —

and couldn't stop for a mighty long while —

The caveat: I wouldn't be a truly tortuous mother without messing with his head just a bit more. I told him that if he breaks the glass, he'll discover what is inside. But if he doesn't break the glass, the gift will be re-upped next year, as long as the glass remains unbroken. If he guesses what's inside, he still qualifies for re-upping. And either way, he gets the gift.

breakage = only this year
no breakage = a continuing gift

He asked if it was a check for $10,000.

No, it isn't.

(But I won! I won!!)

And I told him to give it a few weeks; he may just figure it out.

Any guesses from blogland?


  1. Such intrigue! I have no idea what's inside but what a creative family you are!

  2. I love this, and I love the photos of your son's face! I'm a terrible guesser and feeling utterly unimaginative in this moment, so I'll wait it out eagerly!

  3. Seeing that he is not wearing a watch, and that the box is watch sized, I go for socks.

  4. A box of tissue to wipe his eyes and blow his nose. That's how hard I'm laughing.

  5. Hmmm (laughing hard, too!) --- perhaps a yo-yo? A glass-cutting instrument or Swiss Army knife? Fun. Fun xo

  6. Oh T! I Love this idea (best wrapping) as a tradition. You are SO clever! And the glass box, priceless!
    I wish you and yours a MOST wonderful 2013! We've both come a longggg way in the last few years!!! It's a wonderful life!