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The Great Boxing Dilemma

© 1997 by Miriam A. Kilmer
       In a moment of mental aberration, I volunteered to help my mother select gifts for her many descendants, wrap them, and send them out with my own gifts for Christmas. I hadn't really considered what this would entail. Her gifts numbered nearly seventy, of all sizes and descriptions: books, objets d'art, a scarf, jewelry, candle snuffers, a carving set, and so on: all treasures (many of them heirlooms) from her own collection and that of my late father. These I planned to box up with the books, games, and stuffed toys that Tim and I had purchased for our Kilmer-side nieces and nephews.
       I got the gifts for Tim's side of the family mailed first, since that was a far smaller project: only 20 gifts, divided between two addresses. Then I put aside the gifts that would not need to be mailed, as the recipients would be in this area on or around Christmas day. I bought lots of gift-bags and boxes of different sizes, wrapping paper, and tissue paper. We had plenty of mailing boxes of all the sizes and shapes I could possibly need, which I had saved from our recent move.
       So I thought.
       As I wrapped, boxed, bagged, and packed, I found that there was always one gift just an inch too long to go in Box A. Another gift, destined for the same household, was just an inch too wide or too high to go in box B, which fit the long gift perfectly. In order to accommodate the wildly varying sizes and shapes of the gifts, I ended up having to pack gifts in boxes that seemed far too big for them. This necessitated using mounds and mounds of stuffing to prevent the gifts from rattling around during shipping. Alas, it would also jack up the cost of shipping. I was running out of large boxes, while I still had plenty of long skinny boxes and mid-sized cubical boxes.
       Suddenly the logical solution came to me. Instead of sorting gifts according to destination, I should be sorting them by size and shape. That was the most efficient way to package them. It cut down on wasted space and packing materials, saved time, and allowed me to use the boxes I already had, rather than having to go out in search of more boxes.
       So, my dear family, that is why you will be receiving packages that contain gifts for some (not all) members of your own nuclear family, and some for people who live in other states. It will be up to you all to sort things out.
       Now isn't it a good thing that my own personal gift to each of my siblings and their grown children is a list of names and addresses for the whole Kilmer clan?

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© 1997 by Miriam A. Kilmer
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