So there I was, sitting at the dining room table, wrapping socks of a high degree of fluffiness, and thinking about how those socks were acquired when suddenly half a century or more of Christmas shopping passed through my mind like a shooting star.

What triggered those memories was doubtless the fact that although this was my first wrap of the evening, I’d already misplaced the scissors. As I smacked gift wrap here and there, attempting to locate the scissors without lifting every roll, sheet, or fold of paper, box or bag, it occurred to me that this has been standard operating procedure for every Christmas gift wrapping session of my life.

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