You know how children always try to guess what their wrapped gifts are? And when you have multiple children, they count the gifts to see who has more?

My mother is a creative one. It’s tough to figure out which gift is roller skates when the two skates have been separated and put inside random boxes.

But her best attack on these practices involving wrapping gifts inside gifts. I’d open a shirt box, find a sweater and little wrapped gift inside. I’d start to tear into it, but—“wait! what does the tag say?” Oops. Hand it over to my sister. Counting was impossible, because we couldn’t see all the gifts.

And the sense of magic and discovery—the only true meaning of a consumer American Christmas, no?—was even stronger.

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