The Parcel Packing Vortex

With each passing hour and day, we’re getting a few steps closer to that very, very special time of year. We all know what it is and for some, it’s a day filled with both equal amounts of celebration and trepidation. It’s the day we pack up the car, fire up Christmas tunes on the radio, and head off to our local post office or courier drop-off location to launch the yearly parcel of Christmas gifts for family or friends, and yes, it is always heartfelt parcels destined for a land far, far away.

We’re in the exact same boat as you are.

Many of us have friends and family who live on the opposite side of the country or perhaps even that special person(s) who live far, far away on the other side of the planet.

At this time of year, those loved ones who don’t live near us are referred to as “domestic” or “international” shipping. Terms that have significant meaning to some given this post, but honestly do the terms “domestic” or “international” really ooze or create much of a “warm and fuzzy.” I think not.

I’m sure as we are doing here at the “old homestead”, you’re getting gifts together for the family members who can’t be with you; wrapping and sticking those precious hand-made Christmas tags on each one, and then the horror, that seasonal horror of biblical proportion starts to creep up like cold air seeping under the front door……the smell of evil permeates everywhere.

All these gifts for the grandchildren(as an example) have to fit into ONE BOX.

The freaking and genital crushing “ONE BOX” dilemma.

A devilish exercise which is akin to a thousand-piece puzzle that the world’s fastest and largest computer system would cough and wheeze over and ultimately crash in a heap of smoking ruins.

The process always starts well, with the first few gifts fitting nicely into the shipping box. But, as the exercise moves along the process slows down when you come to the realization that those last four gifts….no matter how you move them in some bizarre “three-dimensional four-level puzzle torture” they simply will not fit.

Thus each gift gets taken out of the box, along with a cry and sigh of anguish and defeat. The slow awakening that this heart-wrenching and soul-crushing exercise has to start all over again.

The process always repeats itself for three to five distinct cycles and with the following realization.

The “parcel box vortex” comes to ultimately define the meaning of insanity – “doing the same thing over and over again the same way – but expecting different results each time.”

But, when it seems all is lost and that Christmas may not happen this year, a miracle happens. It feels like the hands of a “Christmas angel” have directed those last few pieces to fit perfectly.

You yell an exclamation proclaiming that there is “something bigger than all of us at work in the cosmos.”

The flaps of the shipping box fold down perfectly. You finish securing each flap, corner, and edge with several layers of packing tape. You sit back for just a few minutes and admire with great satisfaction and wonderment the final product. Often a glass of wine is required given the sanctity of the moment.

Then off to the post office or courier company.

We’ve used FedEx for the past few years to ship Christmas gifts to our daughter in Atlantic Canada. We’ve found them to be reasonably priced(usually about $25) and bang on in terms of the delivery schedule. I suspect we’ll do the same again this year with presents for both Sara and Andrew(the boyfriend).

Regardless of which company one may use, whether a private courier or national postal service, at this point we’re all in the same boat.

The rapidly leaky boat of finishing the gift buying and moving up to the starting gate of the “parcel packing vortex.”

So, over the next few days or a couple of weeks…remember you are not alone in this exercise of self-humiliation and intelligence-crushing insanity.

There are scores of us all crying and pounding our fists on the carpet, like a three-year-old having an epic “where is my sippy-cup” level meltdown.

Remember……we’ve prevailed in the past and I’m confident that we will prevail again this year.

“Would you mind just topping up my wine glass again?”

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

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