My attic cleaning helper called right on schedule to remind me we needed to wrap the junk from the attic which was too good to throw away even if nobody wanted it. We set the plans last summer. We would wrap the junk up nicely and have Santa deliver it Christmas Eve when the whole family would be here.
We almost stopped before we got started. The first afternoon we ascended the steps. I looked around and then asked, “Do you remember where we left the black trash bags up here?”
“Yeah Grandma, right over there,” she pointed, and then added, “Uh-oh, right over there by that dead bird.”
“Don’t even start,” I warned, “Last time every dead bird was just a dust ball.” As I spoke I turned to the direction she indicated, and there was a dead bird.
“Actually,” she said, “It looks kinda cute, like it’s just asleep.”
“Yeah,” I agreed. “Why don’t you take a paper towel and cover it up, and then get rid of it.”
“Well, it’s not that cute,” she decided.
So we did what any sensible female does and summoned Bill to dispose of the body. It was an even exchange. We got rid of the bird, and he had a good laugh — at us.
We settled down to wrapping the “gifts.” It took us two sessions to complete the job. We divided the booty into three bags for three age groups — little kids up to age 7, teens, and adults.
I ended up passing the stuff out Christmas Eve. The rules were that whatever they got was theirs. They could keep it, trade it, or give it away, but when they all went home, the junk went with them.
First the little ones settled around me. They were not quite as thrilled with the “gifts” as I had hoped. One of the little girls got a really small doll. “I don’t want that. It’s ugly,” she said. She was right.
“Well you can give it away,” I told her. Great idea, but no one would take it. Finally an inspiration. “You can put it up until you’re older,” I told her, and by then it will be worth a lot of money and you can sell it on eBay!” This she could understand and so she agreed to keep the doll.
Next the teen group moved in. They were ready to trade. The hot item for them proved to be various mismatched towel sets I’d collected over the years. They were very adept at dealing with whatever they got. At least they didn’t leave any of it behind.
Then it was time for the adults to enter the game. They proved to be the best players of all.
The rules were spelled out again. I reached into the bag and handed whoever I called whatever package I pulled out. They unwrapped it and could keep it, trade it, or give it away, and they were responsible for its removal from the premises at the end of the evening.
The college sophomore got a lovely salad fork and spoon in bright orange plastic. The bachelor got a pot drainer. One got a beautiful roll of toilet tissue printed with bright red poinsettias after he used a forbidden word. He also got the grapevine wreath with the pink and purple poinsettias which probably produced the forbidden word.
The giveaway proved to be a success from my viewpoint. All of the junk was gone with the guests. I did find out later some of it was stowed away and found after some people got to their own homes, and some of it may be back as gifts for the unsuspecting next year.
If the holidays are any indication of how the New Year is going to go this could be a great year. I hope it’s happy and healthy for all of you.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate January 2, 2002.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.