When I was old enough to know...well, you know...I started to help my mom wrap the Christmas gifts.
We'd set up shop in my brothers' bedroom, a cozy space with sloped ceilings and dormer windows, easily accessible to the attic nooks and crannies where gifts were hidden until Christmas Eve.
With five kids, there was a lot to wrap and the time spent in the attic bedroom quickly became one of my favorite times of the year with my mother.
One of the first things she taught me was that a present -- any present -- can be wrapped with three pieces of tape.
Her mother, my Granny, taught her this as well. As a child in the Great Depression, my Granny was well-schooled in all things frugal. Family legend has it that she even used to write my dad, a notorious jokester, letters on recycled bits of paper towels and other tissues. Were they used? Legend neither confirms nor denies.
Either way, we used three pieces, and only three pieces, of tape to wrap gifts: a piece at the place where the two sides of the paper meet around the gift and a piece each on either end.
I think about the three pieces of tape, and the countless memories I shared with my mom. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I wrap a gift. Merry Christmas, Mom. I wish I was there to wrap presents with you.