When we were first married, the Mister’s father gave us one share of stock in Scott Paper. It seemed a bit odd at the time but there was something lovely in that gift that I didn’t originally appreciate. I was thinking about that the other day as my Christmas “tissue” blog is being re-blogged below.
The Scott Paper people apparently didn’t care if you had one or one million shares of their stock. They still sent you a Christmas present every year. A giant box full of paper towels, toilet paper and, of course, tissues. Being a teensy bit poor during that time, that box was manna from heaven for us.
Now I’m wondering if that was the forerunner of my “tissue” issue. It does seem to be my thing at this time of year. One little share of Scott Paper morphed into something much larger. At least for me. Who knew?
The Mister and I wish you the very happiest of Christmases.
The Christmas Spirit
year was 1961. I was working in Boston at the New England Conservatory of Music
as a receptionist. It was, in all respects, a wonderful year. I was in love
(still am) and was surrounded by talented, generous and joyful people.
Christmas was always hard for me. What to give to my parents? My father never
wore anything but a suit, had enough ties to last several life times, bought
his own socks and had no hobbies. My mother was choosy about the things she
wore and the things she had in the house. I always had great angst about what
to give them. That year I found a little Japanese porcelain dish which I hoped
they would like, but it cost more than my small salary could comfortably bear.
Still, I bought it. There wasn’t any joy in the purchase, however. I was
worried and poorer…not a good combination.
Conservatory was, back then, in a less than desirable part of town. It was
surrounded by poverty level housing and people. There was a drug store right
across the street that I visited on my lunch hour to pick up necessary items.
day, near Christmas, I was at the drug store, mindlessly purchasing some stuff,
not giving it any thought as I stood in line to pay for my items. An older
woman was in front of me. She wasn’t dressed warmly enough for the cold Boston
December day. It did strike me that she most likely didn’t have a warmer coat,
but the thought was fleeting.
then something happened that I will never forget. As my arms were carelessly
full of stuff, I realized she was buying a single box of tissues. And I heard
her say to the clerk: “This is for my friend for Christmas. She’ll really like
find myself as speechless now as I did then. And still a little close to tears.
It was a hard reality. She was delighted with her choice of a gift for her
friend, confident that it would be given, received and used with love and
I was worried about an expensive porcelain dish for my parents who needed
nothing and would most likely put the dish in a drawer anyway? Not a Christmas
goes by that I don’t think about that moment.
I wish our family could just exchange boxes of tissues, carefully choosing one
that might appeal…they come in such jazzy colors and designs these days.
Wouldn’t that be fun? We could wrap them up fancifully with pretty paper and
ribbons, confident they would be used and appreciated.
Now, I know we can’t….and would never want to…deny our families the joy of Christmas morning and presents under the tree. Santa Claus does exist. But, for me, perhaps, a box of tissues has become a symbol of friendship and love, of a longed-for simple Christmas season, of joy, of an opportunity to share with others less fortunate, and, of course, in its own way, a true meaning of Christmas.