Holiday drudgery created to make me crazy or a tutorial on gift wrapping

Gift bags from Miles Kimball

My gifts never look this good or coordinated! Gift bags from Miles Kimball

When I was a kid (just a few years ago) I loved the holidays. Decorating. Tree trimming. Presents. Events. Happy hours. What was not to love?

Then I got older. No interest in another rendition of the nutcracker suite or fighting the crowds for anything. The parties are fewer (considerably fewer and not near as  crazy fun) and decorating is just plain work.

The thing I never enjoyed was the “wrapping of the gifts.” Never. Not even when I was young.

The paper, bows and ribbon were always stored away. They had to be found. That could take a while. The paper was “aged” so it looked like old Sanskrit and the tape was brittle and dried out.

When I was a kid I would wrap my presents on my bed. You had to be careful so you didn’t cut your bedspread or your pillow or wrap the cat. The package corners weren’t sharp. They never came out like the pictures.

You couldn’t do it someplace where people would walk in on you, especially when you were dancing around with THEIR gift on your head. (Oh? What? You didn’t do that? That was the fun part!)

Despite my design background, present wrapping wasn’t an outlet I enjoyed.

Then one day I heard Gabriel on the trumpet. (Yes I am sure it was Gabriel. He had wings and a halo just like an archangel. Herb Alpert doesn’t wear either.)

Someone magical created “gift bags.”

You popped a present inside. Stuffed the bag with toilet tissue paper and slapped a card on it. Slam bang thank you ma’am! You could do it in less than 30 seconds, 45 if you wanted it to look “nice.”

If you were careful, you could casually reclaim the bag and use it the following year.

They came out with bags that had tags on them. Great. Don’t need tags anymore. (Just be sure to remove them if you are reusing them for someone else.)

Here is my suggestion list for Gabriel’s next inventions.

Something that makes the Christmas tree pop up at the right time and then go away. I know I have the beloved husband who does most of it but I was thinking something more mechanical.

Presents that buy themselves. Since I don’t buy a lot of gifts, you can put this at the bottom of your list. (Yes, Gabriel, I know all about Amazon!)

Most of all, a happy pill for people who no longer greet Christmas with the enthusiasm of their youth. (What’s that? That’s what eggnog is for? Do you know how hard it is to find good eggnog? What about those lactose intolerant friends? They need a happy pill too!)

Hope everyone’s holiday was fun and the mess in the house isn’t too bad.

56 thoughts on “Holiday drudgery created to make me crazy or a tutorial on gift wrapping

  1. Years ago I worked at the customer service desk in a retail store ~ that meant gift wrapping purchases for customers. I learned to wrap quickly and beautifully. Do I use those skills today? Heck no! I’ll use a gift bag every time. All the best to you in 2016, Kate!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t care much for wrapping gifts but I love that nasty eggnog. Went the store today to buy some to put in the freezer for a nasty February or March day, but they were out. Going to try another store or two tomorrow.

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  3. Love Gift bags (don’t mind wrapping, unless there’s a tonne of it to do). But I always think of my Mom when I dive for the bow or the bag and shriek “don’t toss ’em we can re-use that!” and they look at me like I have 3 heads. Bags are definitely meant to be re-used!! 🙂

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  4. My sister and I loved to wrap gifts. Our garage was a hobby room with a big table in the middle, the paper and bows nearby. We took pains to make fancy bows. Now I use crinkle ribbon or bags. I agree. They’re a great invention.

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  5. I loved what you said to Elle…that must have made her feel good. This had a touch of melancholy to it, the faded youth part, since I feel it too. The image of you wrapping gifts on your bed, with one on your head, made me laugh and realize, we have more in common than I even thought.
    Favorite line : When I was a kid (just a few years ago)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes I think I was a kid just last week. Then something starts getting creaky and I realize it must have been last year or thereabouts! I should have put a link to Elle’s post because it was interesting.

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  6. I start out strong! I look forward to decorating the tree, don’t mind wrapping the gifts and I’m doing fine. Then somewhere very close to Christmas it all begins to overwhelm me. If something isn’t wrapped it is likely to be loosely wrapped in tissue paper and barely disguised and my enthusiasm for it all begins to dwindle and I fight the fatigue. Now I’m getting ready to take down the tree and put everything away. I really hate that part, but it can’t be avoided. This time next week it will all be a blur in the rearview mirror! 🙂

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  7. Wrapping is a chore, but my dad was an expert packer (maybe his military training, like bed-making?) and taught me well how to make those sharp edges. But after I wrap it, I never want to decorate it with bows. I can barely be trusted to put a name on it.

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  8. Sorry, but I’ve got the opposite view. I was one of those annoying and pesky people who wrapped gifts that were tiny works of art … each of them sparkly and shiny and overflowing with bits and baubles, and always, (always, always, always), a bite of chocolate and a candy cane nestled quietly among the curling ribbons and flashy bows. Some gifts would be adorned with fabric bows that shimmered with glitter, or bits of branches and berries that practically shouted out that it was time for a festive holiday. People would swoon when they saw my gifts under the tree, remarking how delightful they looked amongst the rather plain and understated gifts that others had wrapped. I was practically a gift wrapping celebrity within my family.

    That was then. Today? Well, these days I still wrap with enthusiasm, but not nearly as much flair and pomp and circumstance. You might even say they are rather mundane and boring now, but at least I still manage to add the bit of chocolate with a shiny bow. You might say it’s a subdued version of my earlier enthusiasm. (grin)

    This year I couldn’t even talk myself into putting up a tree, so I built a small tree with the Christmas cards I received, and called it Christmas decorating. Hey, lots easier to put away than all those lights and baubles, but honestly, I did miss the twinkling lights. Maybe next year.

    Even without the usual holiday decorating, I still had a very enjoyable holiday. I had constant visitors, one right after the other, which is unusual in my quiet little home which is usually rather silent during the holidays. It was a Christmas to remember. Lots of laughter and silliness.

    Even so, I’m glad that the holiday is behind us, and we can all sit back and rest a bit. Still polishing off the last of the Christmas cookies, and the delicious banana bread my daughter-in-law always bakes for everyone, so even though I’ve likely gained a few pounds, it is also good to settle back into the usual routine again. Another holiday has come and gone. Onward to the New Year. 🙂

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    • You would have been my idol back in the day. My sister-in-law often had her packages wrapped in a story by a professional and they were beautiful. I am so glad your holiday was filled with joy even if it included calories! Onward!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I wrap “cooperative gifts” ~> books, frames, boxes, etc.
    “Wild and wooly gifts” get booted into bags.

    And, now, I am tired of Christmas. I’m ready to bag the tree and pack up the Santas til next year.

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  10. 😊and if all else fails make your kids wrap their own presents! Those gift bags are great inventions Kate and I reuse them too. Heck, I think I have some of the first ones ever made! I saw a tutorial on how to make your own gift bags with wrapping paper. Pretty neat. Google that! May do in a pinch but store bought are a lot easier. ~Elle

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  11. LOL..I can top that ..I have a “Christmas room”. I too, love the bags..a fabulous invention..and I reuse them too..even the tissue paper if it isn’t too wrinkled. You see I live alone..and I rarely use the rec room..so one year I just decided to leave eveything up and decorated! I just dust things and I am all set to go next year. It is fun!..A few people thinnk I am “little off the wall”..but I don’t care. It makes me happy and that is all that counts! Happy New Year everyone. It’s going to be a great one!… bring on 2016! Let’s see what it holds in store for us! Thank you Kat..you bring so much joy to my life through your writing.

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    • I like people who are off the wall. They are so interesting. Usually it’s guys with train sets that have a “Christmas room.” We are bagging our tree decorated this year so the yearly ritual of setting it up will involve bringing it down from the attic and uncovering. Thank you for your kind words and I so enjoy your comments. It’s the connecting with others that makes writing a blog so fun.

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  12. Gift bags are awesome, as they do not involve the Yearly Battle of the Ribbons waged against the household felines.

    I hear you on the eggnog. That stuff is mostly pretty foul. However, Andy makes an AMAZING eggnog from scratch. It’s all whipped up and white (rather than the urine-colored goo they sell in cartons at the store). People are hesitant at first, but then they devour it. “It’s like ice-cream!”

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    • Years ago there was a canned eggnog from Borden’s (yes, I know it sounds scary but it was way better than the carton stuff). It had a good custardy taste that you could add any spirits you want. Now most of my friends are either lactose intolerant (or think they are) or dieting. Of course dieting doesn’t include all the Christmas cookies they consume. It’s like drinking diet coke with a slice of cake. I’m getting to really like Andy! However did an Asian get a name like Andy anyway?

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      • Well, Andy, his siblings, his cousins, and many of the ABCs (American Born Chinese) have an English first name and a Chinese middle name. I’ve been meaning to do a post on this, because it’s kind of funny. Andy’s parents, like many Chinese immigrants, didn’t understand that Americans have “nicknames”, i.e., that “Andy,” really stands for “Andrew” and “Freddy” really stands for “Frederick.” So Andy and his cousins all end in “Y” nicknames: Freddy, Eddy (like the current), Denny (like the restaurant), Mandy, Bonny, etc.

        But it could be worse. There’s a Chinese-American named Conan, after all.

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        • That explains a lot. I go to an ABC doc. He is very American and dapper, quite the Madison Avenue type and his first name is Johnny which is so odd. He’s the kind of guy you would want to call John if you were on a first name basis.

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  13. I have a recommendation for reclaiming the joy of Christmas. Our church “adopts” several families. Except for the one church couple who delivers the gifts and food, we don’t know who they are. The names and information are gathered thru the school counselor. Several folks will sign up to adopt one family. In my case, one person wanted to buy all the groceries they would need for a nice Christmas dinner and each person bought gifts for a child. I’d never bought gifts or clothes for a 6 year old boy who likes dinosaurs and wants art supplies. It was fun imagining the look on his face when he unwrapped a large stegosaurus or found the sketch pad and the huge art set I’d originally bought for a granddaughter. Sure, it involved shopping and wrapping and going above and beyond what I’d normally do. It was fun. I’d bet there are similar opportunities where you live.

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  14. I so want to respond to this, but apart from agreeing with you completely… what else is there to say. I used to joke about the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer was “I have decided not to grow up”, but then you are right in that attitudes to Christmas (and similar) change drastically with maturing (as distinct from aging!). I think the “answer” (what was the question?) is that we can now but commercial hype into a more realistic perspective. It is simply businesses method to separate us from our money to make more profits at our expense. We know that now. As “younger people” we just swallowed it all without question. Long live maturity, and may the aging process do nothing more than expand our range of maturity. Have a wonderful New Year Kate! 🙂

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  15. I always thought that a Christmas tree that popped up like an umbrella would be a great invention. Now I have a three foot one that I put, still fully decorated, into a large bag and the next year it is all ready!

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    • Finally, this year we got one of those small ones. It’s around 3′. We put the decorations on securely with pipe cleaners and bought a bag that it will fit into. I think I’m in heaven (and looking around for Gabriel with the eggnog!)

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