We all remember fondly the rituals of Christmas in our youth. I remember one such ritual with especial fondness. High in a cupboard in the entrance hall was a wide, flat cardboard box in which a suit had been delivered to my father. The tailor’s name – Hector Powe, – was on the box’s lid. Inside was the household collection of Christmas wrapping paper.
I had my favourite sheets, as I suppose did the other members of the family. They were like old friends and I took great care not to damage them with sticky tape or excessive creasing. They were never cut, of course, so the sizes of gifts and wrappings had to be carefully matched. I don’t remember new wrapping paper ever being bought.
The tailor’s box and its contents have gone – a casualty of my mother’s downsizing to a flat. But in the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet I keep a smaller box with a wide enough assortment of wrappings for my present needs. Every year some sheets are lost from the collection, to be replaced by new ones from which I have meticulously peeled as such of the sticky tape as I can. Small blemishes are covered up by ‘From/To’ cards, stick-on reindeer and the like.
My Christmasses would not be quite the same without this.