I'm taking special care to wrap my mother's Christmas presents in what she and I would both call 'Grandma's wrapping paper'. What is that, you ask? What is Grandma's wrapping paper? It's difficult to explain, to describe, but you would know it if you saw it. It's Christmas wrapping paper that could double as wallpaper--a repetitive pattern of wreathes, or presents, or Santa faces--printed on a thin paper: sometimes red, sometimes green, sometimes on a beige background. Nowadays, it's the kind of stuff that you'd pick up at Big Lots and the Dollar Store, but there were no Big Lots or Dollar Stores back when my grandmother was wrapping gifts. Over the forty+plus years, I unwrapped gifts given to me by my grandmother, her style in wrapping paper was unwavering. One would almost think that she had two or three never-ending rolls of the stuff; for sure it was easy to pick out which gifts under the tree came from Grandma.
I know when I present the gifts to my mother, she'll comment on the wrapping paper. She'll take them and say, "Ooooh...that looks like the kind of wrapping paper Mother used to buy." She'll notice. I know she will. And I will say, "I know. That's what I thought of, too."
I smile to think that something as silly and disposable as wrapping paper can bring forth such warm and gentle memories. And I ponder that the wrapping paper that reminds me of MY family's grandmother came from another family's grandmother, who no longer needs wrapping paper and whose gifts, also, are now of the memory kind. I suspect there must be a grandmother code--all grandmothers must use rose-scented soap, hang plaster casts of fruit in the kitchen and buy the same kind of wrapping paper.
And all grandmothers, both present and not, are remembered at Christmas.