Congratulations! If you’re reading this essay, it means that you have you have survived to see another Boxing Day. The Christmas season has been my favorite time of year since childhood. As I’ve grown older I’ve found I get more and more joy out of finding the right gifts for friends and family, and I’m as impatient to give those gifts as I once was to receive my own goodies.
But there’s still one part of gift-giving that I dread: The wrapping.
Since age three, my book-smarts have outpaced my ability to do things like use scissors or zipper my jacket. So every year, my gift-wrapping process goes a little something like this:
- Realize that it’s December twenty-something, and I have a closet full of unwrapped treasures that urgently need wrapping.
- Search frantically for gift bags to reuse from years past, in hopes of skipping the wrapping paper mess altogether. I can usually turn up a few bags, but there are never enough. Why aren’t my loved ones as wrapping-averse as I am?
- Pull the wrapping paper out of the closet. I swear I’ve only bought one or two rolls in my lifetime, but somehow there are always at least four rolls crammed behind the folding chairs and paint cans. I think they are having sexy, swinging parties in there.
- Bring the paper, scissors, tape, and gifts to my bedroom and shut the door. It’s the only reliable way to cat-proof the proceedings.
- The author’s photos of this year’s attempt
(front and reverse)Unroll the paper and place the first gift on the unprinted side. I generally try to make sure there’s twice as much paper as there is gift before I start cutting.
- Unleash the scissors. I will have every intention of cutting in a straight line, but when I stop, the edge of the paper always seems to resemble a seismograph reading.
- Fold the paper in half(ish) so that it covers the gift. Tape the top portion of the paper to the paper underneath to secure it.
- Now I think I’m ready to fold up the ends and tape them in place. This is when I typically notice the paper is far too large. Quickly snip off the bulk of the excess in a manner even more slapdash than the original cut.
- Seriously, now it’s time to fold. Line up the edges of the paper, and realize that they’re terribly uneven. Tape will fix that. Continue ripping off strips of tape and mashing them down on top of the paper until it lies flat and smooth.
- Take a moment to ponder the futility of the entire exercise.
- Flip the package over. This side doesn’t look so bad! Pray that the recipient is able to handle the gift and open it without ever looking at the Frankenstein’s monster of jagged edges, wrinkled paper, and copious Scotch tape on the reverse.
- Repeat as many times as necessary.
- Give gifts with a clean conscience. Sure, these things look like they were put together by a toddler on a sugar high, but that’s how folks know that I took the time to do it myself.