Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wrapping

I love to wrap presents. It's the ribbons, bows, and tags I can't stand. I can wrap any bottle beautifully, or any odd-shaped box, including pyramids. That's fun; I've been wrapping all the family gifts since I was a kid. But I hate fussing over the ribbons nowadays. And tags just make me tired. I bought dozens of plain gold ones that work with most of the paper I have. I try to only buy gold, red, and/or green-patterned paper in a feeble attempt to coordinate paper, tags, and ribbons. So where did all these rolls of silver paper come from? And why is there never a tag that goes with whatever paper I used?

In my family, we have a thing about pretty wrapping paper. Some papers are just too pretty to use, so we "archive" them, meaning that the rolls come out at Christmas, year after year, but we don't use them for large boxes or much of anything. We just enjoy them. We all love old-fashioned holly designs; I love paisley papers, too. We might use some for a special, tiny box, or we might carefully cover a box lid and base, so it can be used year after a year (provided you coax, bribe, or threaten the recipient into returning it to you, which I do without qualms.) Right now, about 1/4 of my paper is not for normal consumption. One year, early in our relationship, my husband mistakenly used the Precious Paper to wrap some of my gifts. I can't remember how I reacted, but it must have been impressive, because he asks me to designate certain "safe" rolls every year with great caution and trepidation.

In my family, store-bought, stick-on bows are considered common. My relatives all make their own elaborate bows with little sprays of silk flowers and glittery pinecones and expensive ribbons. My in-laws, on the other hand, consider stick-on bows an unnecessary extravagance. Therefore, I use a lot of stick-on bows, bridging the two extremes and pleasing no one. I try to make more of an effort with my family's gifts, but it drives me crazy. I can't be bothered; I'm burned out from doing this stuff since I was 8. These days, parents making a kid do all that work would probably be charged with unfair labor practices.

A shiny, stick-on bow is better than nothing, and I give the excuse that the cats destroy the bows anyway. I've given many a stick-on bow with toothmarks to back up this story. I also explain that fancy bows don't survive traveling 350 miles crammed into our trunk, either.

You might think I have amassed a large collection of elaborate bows from presents I've received over the years, which I could recycle. But, no, my relatives snatch them back so they can recycle them. If I do get my hands on such a bow, I hang on for dear life.

I'm taking a break from wrapping to write this. I have only about a dozen more presents to wrap tonight; more will arrive tomorrow. Right now,  each wrapped box is marked with a little, triangular purple sticky, with the recipient's name, for when I get around to the tag-and-bow portion of this event. The stickies are crappy and keep falling off. The cats are wisely avoiding the tall stacks of wrapped boxes on the coffee table... until the lights are out and suspects can't be easily apprehended. When the stickies fall off, I won't remember what's what, so I'll have to peek or tear off the paper altogether — another holiday tradition around here.

By the way, the plush teddybear ornament is missing. It has not been seen since I turned off the tree lights last night. I doubt he fled for his safety. I suspect the Wily Possum, although Wendy has ill feelings towards that bear, too. 

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