Even though it is considerably less fun without young children around, I do still enjoy the holiday season. I love the lights and decorations, I love the trees, I love the festive feeling, and getting together with friends. I always love the excuse to spend money with a clear conscience, and, as I mentioned last week, I love the goodies.
Opening gifts is fun and I adore beautifully wrapped packages. But it is always bittersweet, because I simply can’t reciprocate. I really kind of hate gift-wrapping. I’m not sure when my bad attitude started. Perhaps it was when I first sat looking at the dozens of little things I had bought to fill my family’s stockings — times three. My favorite children’s age was when I didn’t even have to take the price tag off.
In my mind, I start out seeing a cleverly wrapped showpiece in my head, but somehow the message just does not make it to my fingers. My tape never sticks right, my paper never lines up evenly, my cuts are raggedy and I always end up with an excess of folding on the ends. My gifts are lumpy at best, tacky at worst.
My family has gotten used to it, bless them, but I quake at the idea of wrapping for someone less forgiving. I rely on it being the season of goodwill toward the clumsy.
My efforts have dwindled down to tissue paper and curly ribbon. There is never a place to stick a bow. I rarely use a box. I have tried not to be shamelessly lazy and put everything in bags, but it takes willpower.
I promise to start out this year’s wrapping marathon with Martha Stewart in mind, but it is pretty much a given that my end results will be shapeless blobs with half-tied ribbon and a slap of tape holding them together. I suspect it’s just that I would rather be doing any number of other things, like laughing at other people’s sweaters, sipping wassail or slicing pie.
I did, however, go the extra mile this year to hide my daughter’s presents. She is the worst about sneaking peeks into the bags I label and sort things in. This year I did not label a bag for her. Instead I slid her gifts into a nook and cranny where she won’t think to look and I won’t forget I put stuff there.
She hasn’t asked where her bag of stuff is, but that would be admitting that she hunted for it. Let the Christmas games begin.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer madly searching for her missing scissors, tape, ribbon, paper or gift tags. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.