Whenever I unfold a big roll of American Christmas wrapping paper my thoughts wander back to the wrappin’ paper of my childhood, sold by the ladies of Moore Street.
“Anyone For The Last Of The Wrappin’ Paper?”
I fondly remember the chorus of street vendors throughout Henry Street on Christmas Eve. The sense of urgency in their voices was directly related to their excess inventory of wrapping paper at the start of the day. If sales were not to their liking their high pitched pleading rose to a crescendo as three o’clock approached.
“Anyone for the last of the wrappin’ paper?
Get it before it’s all gone!”
The Moore street ladies sold wrapping paper in sheets, a single leaf seldom big enough to cover any gift box. Five sheets for 20 pence! No sheet matched, so any large present was decked out in multicolored, festive layers.
And nobody bothered wasting money on gift boxes. If the item didn’t fit in a shoe box, the best solution was to roll it up in wrapping paper any which way. Gifts of every shape, size and dimension surrounded our Christmas tree each year.
I don’t know if the Moore Street traders still sell “wrappin’ paper” all along Henry Street coming up to Christmas. If they do, I’m sure it’s a lot more expensive than 20 pence these days.
Every Christmas, when I buy a huge roll of thick, high quality gift wrapping in America, I reminisce about the “last of the wrappin’ paper.” When I see my perfectly symmetrical packages, part of me misses the misshapen, mismatched wrapping of my childhood. And no matter how long I live in America, I will always miss the ladies of the Moore Street markets.
Nollaig Shona Daoibh
Irish American Mom