I’ve been making boxes. Boxes out of double-sided paper. Boxes that hold small things. Candy perhaps. A small gift, if I have one. My mother learned how to make these boxes last year from a friend. They are simple, sort of like origami boxes, only not so delicate. Making the boxes requires only a square piece of paper and some scissors. No tape or glue required. There is something infinitely satisfying about making these boxes. It’s the simplicity: they aren’t too hard too make, are easily completed in a few minutes, and yet do require you to follow a pattern, a certain set of folds and cuts. There is a nice rhythm to making them. A nice routine. And then at the end, you have something. A container. A decoration. You feel useful. I’ve created something, you feel. However small the thing is.
And the boxes start to accumulate, looking even more pretty and decorative in their piling up status. Different holiday patterns on the paper can make a box making session a downright festive event. I made these boxes with my students the other day. We were meeting as part of our advisor groups, a small grouping of students and me. I had my girls follow me as I led them through the series of folds and cuts. Suddenly, all talk of tests and papers and deadlines and all-nighters faded with the simple concentration required for our boxes.
And then we were done. And they went back to their talk of school and assignments and weekend plans. And we had three boxes sitting before us, waiting to be filled. Ready for gifts of the season.