I love packaging, which is why I used to like wrapping presents so much. I would spend hours and hours wrapping each present by hand (how else would you wrap them?), using brown paper and twine, raffia bows and handwritten notes. I hung tags from them and decorated the outside.
I think it was my first Christmas with the woman who was to become my wife and her three children, I had spent a lot of time, thought and money buying presents that year.
I don’t think I went overboard on the kids. I got them each a few nice things, but I wasn’t trying to win them over or anything, and they were all pretty young. I was, however, trying to impress the girlfriend.
I meticulously wrapped each gift with brown kraft paper. Then I hand-wrote a small card for each gift, explaining why I thought it was a good gift. Each card was enclosed in a handmade envelope. The package was then wrapped in a raffia bow and the envelope hung from the twine.
What can I say, I was in love. It was one of my best Christmases ever.
When I was a kid, we didn’t believe in Santa Claus. We weren’t allowed. Christmas was a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Period. I’m sure we missed out on a certain amount of Christmas magic, but I think we made out in the long run.
A majority of the wrapping occurred on Christmas Eve. Since we didn’t believe in Santa Claus, there was no illusion to where the presents came from. We would separate to different bedrooms and wrap gifts. When you had a pile, you brought them downstairs and put them under the tree. We had six children in our family, so the gifts would overflow in all directions from under the tree. It was quite the party. By the end of the night, half the living room would be filled with our coming bounty. It was magical in our own way.
I’m not a big fan of gaudy Christmas wrapping paper. I prefer plain, brown paper packages, tied up with string. Or even newspaper. I’m sure we usually had typical wrapping paper, but I also remember wrapping gifts in newspaper, which works just fine.
Generally speaking, we didn’t do bows, and we didn’t do tags. We just wrote the person’s name on the package.
That was then.
Today, I’m not a big fan of wrapping gifts. I’m happy to buy them, but I can’t get all that excited about wrapping them. The little kids couldn’t give a shit, and the older kids aren’t that impressed. It just makes my back hurt. I don’t know why we don’t wrap gifts on a table. We always do it on the floor. Why? It’s horrible.
My wife and I have given each other countless gifts in the bags or boxes they came in. “Here,” we say. “I didn’t wrap it.”
No one cares.
Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’m tired.
But when I’m feeling particularly Christmasy, I want to break out the brown paper, raffia and make an event out of it. It’s a constant struggle.
Some years I’m Scrooge before the ghosts, some years after.
The point is, I like a well designed tree. I prefer that all the packages look the same, or at least are in the same design family. As opposed to looking like a schizophrenic, color blind, lunatic wrapped them. But that’s me.
No one else gives a shit.