Christmas comes but once a year, but when it comes to wrapping presents, that is probably more than enough. Each year, I must face the harsh truth that whatever that gift-wrapping gene is, my version is wadded up, torn in the wrong places or just a tad short of covering.
It isn’t just Christmas when this failing appears, but Christmas means I don’t just wad up a gift for one individual, I mis-tape, mis-cut and break ribbons for everyone’s gift. I chose the picture above because that is the image I have in my head of a well-wrapped present, but it is a long way from the truth about the way I abuse a gift with wrapping paper.
I usually start out okay, I can get a few things wrapped and under the tree, but that won’t last. I will put a box on a sheet of wrapping paper and it doesn’t fit. I will MAKE that paper fit, even if I have to tear it in a few places. Occasionally, I even punch the gift box to smush it up just a little and make it fit. I always blame that on the delivery people.
Okay, I had too small a paper for one, so for the next one, I cut the paper twice the size needed for a box. Now, this is much less frustrating, but once you have bunched all the extra paper up around the sides of the box and get enough tape on it to hold it together, it looks a lot like the gift has been wadded up into a Christmas towel, and at least they will never guess what it is by its shape!
Gift bags really don’t help me much. I can buy them and stuff them with paper and it never fails–something protrudes out before Christmas Day gets there and my gifts look like those poor, bony children under the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Present, with skinny limbs hanging out all over.
I think my skills at gift wrapping or lack thereof might be acceptable if those around me shared them, but apparently, the beautiful wrapping gene which skipped my generation, was “gifted” (pardon the pun) to my daughters. In particular my younger daughter can wrap presents with unusual skill. She can wrap a box with a precise piece of paper and then, ever so gently, expertly position that gift on the perfectly fluffed tissue paper–color-coded no less–that she has arranged in a gift bag. It’s really quite frustrating…I mean awe-inspiring.
As the years have gone on, I have learned to compensate. I use a lot of tape and I expertly position bows over the gaps in the paper and for the most part I get by. I try to buy gifts based on their ease of wrapping. Square boxes, medium in size are best. That is why sometimes my nephews will get a box of cigars–they don’t smoke, but the box is easy; or my aunt will get a box of shotgun shells–she doesn’t hunt, but it will be well-wrapped and she can re-gift it if she really doesn’t have a gopher problem!
Gift cards are an excellent choice and they don’t have to be wrapped. However, I listened this morning to the radio announcer outlining all the ways that a gift card can be scammed. So the choice on that is clear: give them a gift card that might have been scammed or hand them that beautiful vase, wrapped up until it resembles something that came out of a mummy’s tomb!
Another year has arrived and I have tried to do my best on the wrapping part. However, I read about a social club that will wrap your presents for a donation to their organization. I took my sad, ripped up, over-taped packages and said, “Do you think you could perhaps make this look a little better?”
“That depends,” said the young woman behind the counter as she looked at my sad little Christmas paper wads in dismay. “It would probably have been more helpful if you hadn’t let your five-year-old try first.”
I should have walked away in a huff, but of course I didn’t. I had them re-wrap all the presents and I put up with the wise-cracks and side-long looks, because they truly were able to do the job right. My gifts looked spectacular: varied Christmas designs, sharp corners, beautiful bows. I was so pleased, I could hardly wait for Christmas.
My daughters were delighted. “Oh, is that the new fryer I wanted?” squealed one, while the other shook a clothing box and crowed, “I just know this is the sweater I asked for.”
And that brings us to my other problem with presents–I’ve never surprised a soul with what I buy! Oh well, one problem at a time–I need to wrap up this wrapping handicap. Happy wrapping to all of you!