Thursday, 8 November 2012

Signed, sealed, delivered.

Yesterday I received a little piece of cardboard in my mailbox, which told me that the postman had visited while I was out. It told me that I had a package waiting for me at the nearby Australia Post, and that at my convenience I could go and collect it. 

What fun! A Surprise Present (SP), to be received at my leisure! Maybe a love letter from a secret admirer!? Maybe I’d won a prize!? All that was certain was that it was bigger than would fit into my postbox.  A lengthy love letter, perhaps? Perfect!

Thanks to the wonders of modern email and online banking, the only reasons I would ever go to the post-office these days is to either collect something, or to send something else. Both activities, in my opinion, are exciting - and provoke similar feelings to Christmas.

Current financial challenges aside, I really like giving gifts. My anonymous mother tells me that when I was little, I used to wrap up little objects (gum-nuts, twigs, dried flowers) in paper, and leave them around the house (in my parents bed) for them to find and enjoy (to stick in their backs while they slept). The joy that I got out of this activity was very real, as was my anonymous father’s resulting hay-fever. Presumably this behaviour continued until I got me some cash (although maybe now is the right time for me to re-discover the art of twig-giving).

My family has a certain system of gifting at Christmas. It lasts a very, very long time, and generally ends with us all sitting around in a lethargic fashion as though we have participated in some kind of endurance-based sport. 

It starts with one person collecting a gift from under the tree (a real tree, mind you... don’t try and fool me with any fake tree b*llsh*t), who gives it to another family member/hanger-on-er-er, who opens it while others keenly observe. After an appropriate amount of admiring/holding/trying-out/on, the open-er goes and collects a gift for someone else. The whole process is peppered with comments from my anonymous mother, such as “Oh, did that say ‘Bridget’? Actually that one was for Meghan/Kathryn/Oscar (the dog).”

Let me tell you: parting with a gift that you’ve opened is emotionally difficult.

Anyway…  so I have just received a slip-de-joy and off I go, slip in hand as though I’d found it inside a chocolate bar. 

One of the major things I think I find so appealing about the Post Office Experience (POE) is that the whole idea so straightforward.  Something needs to get from Point A to Point B. How often are problems as simple as this? If it’s big, you put it in a big box. If it’s small, you put it into a small box, or perhaps an envelope. If it’s breakable, there are a plethora of cushy-options to choose from; from bubble wrap to shredded newspaper, to those little peanut shaped beans that seem like a good idea until you spill them everywhere by accident and then have to pick them up while they make a sound that you feel in your stomach. Either way, the problem can be solved, and generally is solved by way of stationary.

Just imagine if all issues could be solved through delightful and satisfying foldy bits of cardboard! As someone who’s head generally thinks about things all at once and not ‘through’, finding the right box/envelope for the right occasion makes me feel like I have really achieved something. A small success to tick of my lengthy life-list.


I waited in line. I showed my ID. And in the end I did receive my package. Turns out it was something I’d bought for myself on eBay. 

And I couldn’t care less.

Maybe I’ll start posting myself love letters.

The Docklands Market. A nice (if not slightly obscenely warm) way to spend a Sunday. 


  1. Hey, that's cool, we do our Christmas unwrapping procedure the same way! We just add a little twist... we have a dice and you can only take a gift from under the tree to give to someone when you roll a 1 or a 6. There is quite a bit of cheating involved and often a 4 looks very much like a 6 once you've had a few glasses of champagne!
    Happy gifting and unwrapping!!

  2. The prolonged gift opening on Christmas was the Kelly custom, I suspect, because there were a limited number of gifts under the tree. And imagine the serious time commitment required for 12 people forced to wait till after church and breakfast for the rumpus to begin. Love your description of a family custom still kicking.