A tisket, a tasket, oh bring me a full basket. I love full baskets. My secret dream used to be that someone would give me a basket! One of those huge gift baskets that have pate and pickled mushrooms, Camembert and water biscuits, pickled mussels, tiny onions, and exotic jams. A basket full of things I would never buy for myself.
If I received a basket like that, I used to think, I would leave it on the table with all its little treasures still tucked into the raffia. Then at each mealtime I would dig out a tin of something I'd never eaten, and I'd make a meal of it, eating the whole can of whatever it was.
Or I would invite a friend over to share the bounty one afternoon. But the main thing I knew was that I would never really unpack the basket and put all the items away, because then they would become ordinary. Their charm was that they lay nestled, half-hidden, in that special big basket, just for me.
Well, that was my fantasy. Since then, we have actually had such a basket. My husband won it as a door prize, and it was a whopper of a basket! Because he knows I love doing it, he invited me to open the shiny cellophane and investigate the contents of the basket. It had more jars and cans and packages than I had ever imagined.
We unpacked the whole basket, ooh-ing and aah-ing over each gift, until the basket was empty except for its shredded red cellophane packing. My husband neatly separated the jars and packages into types: cheeses in one pile, chocolates in another, pickled items in another. This was already more organization than I would have wanted, had it been MY basket. But the next morning, nothing was left on the table. He had taken every item to our basement pantry. All the little fancy mustards were now encircling our backup jar of ordinary
In short, my husband's organizing imperative had taken the golden excitement of that gift basket and turned it into ordinary dross. His actions were very practical, but the sparkle of the gift basket was lost.
It felt a little like learning the truth about Santa Claus.
Nowadays, of course, gift baskets have changed. In November we start receiving catalogs from the gift basket companies. You now buy themed baskets. For a baby gift, you can order a basket with a teddy bear and a bathinette complete with a soft little towel. In my opinion, gift baskets should contain nothing but FOODvery fancy, very expensive tins and jars of food! Anything else is an abomination.