Weekly Writing Challenge: Wrap It Up
Why do I hate wrapping gifts so much? Is it because I suck at it? Is it the Pinterest/Martha Stewart inspired mandate to create ever more creative and handmade wrappings? Is it because, as a child and a young adult, I not only had my own packages to wrap but my dad’s, since he hates wrapping worse? And now my husband’s?
I suck at gift wrap. Oh, I do all the things you’re supposed to do. I have kits of expensive coordinating paper, ribbon and bow sets. I have boxes of fancy gift tags. I have gift bags and tissue paper. I have rubber stamps, and handmade papers, and a Sissix punch and, well, you get the idea. My gift wrapped packages still look as though they were done by a six year old who has spent the afternoon spinning in circles.
I can’t even unwrap gift paper. Those tubes are hermetically sealed, taped and permanently curved. After struggling to remove the cling wrap, I am faced with those little tapes that keep the roll from unrolling. I manage to rip the paper every time I remove one. Then I have to unroll the stupid thing. I unroll it, it rolls up. I unroll it, it rolls up. Rinse, lather, repeat. When I finally manage to smash and corral it to the floor, it is wrinkled and folded and compressed by whatever package I have slammed onto it. Then I remember the present should be wrapped with its up side down, lift the package, and the thing rolls up again.
After smashing the paper flat and positioning the gift on it correctly, it’s time to cut. Ha. My inate non-cutting abilities kick in at this point. It doesn’t help that my daughter has appropriated every functional pair of scissors I own and made them disappear. I am left with lame paper clippers designed for small, fine work, not for cutting enormous swaths of cheap paper. So I chop and whack at the paper, attempting to do the dextrous slide that you see the professional gift wrappers do. No dextrous slide. Instead great big triangular chunks and unseemly rips appear along the entire length of the cut. Damn. Now I have to hide the ugliness by folding it over. This sometimes makes the paper too small to wrap the package and I have to start all over again.
Then comes the actual folding of the paper around the gift. After folding and creasing the edges to hide my cutting inabilities, I began to fold and attempt to cover the present. If the package is a simple box, I might just manage. My inability to make hospital corners on a bed kicks in, and the corners on the package that are supposed to be so tight and crisp become messy and a little bulgy on the ends of the package. I attempt to rectify this with lots of tape. This is the point at which I will began my rant. WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS WONDERFUL DO TOY MANUFACTURERS PLACE TOYS IN SUCH WONKY, IRREGULARLY SHAPED, SPINY, CURVED BOXES? That is my rant. Why? Why can’t they just put the damn things in a square box? These toys cannot be wrapped in standard wrapping paper. At least, not by me. This leaves only one recourse: the dreaded gift bag. And these are, of course, totally inappropriate for children, because children are pokers and prodders and peekers, and if you put out a gift bag, they will know what is in it immediately. Also, the weird shaped packages have so many protuberances and fins that they typically require an enormous bag. So any gift wrapped this way cannot be put out until the night before Christmas, because the kid will be in it in a flash.
Next this leads to tags. And ribbons. And bows. All slippery, inadequately sticky, temporary pathetic things. And you can’t put tags on a kid’s gift. They will shake the damn thing so hard to find out what it is, that if it wasn’t legos or a puzzle before, it will be now. So you have to use the old “one type of wrapping paper for each recipient trick”. That way you can leave the label off, and the kid won’t know which ones are for them. This results in them shaking and squeezing ALL the packages. Ribbons of course are as curly and pesky as the wrapping paper. And that little trick where you curl the little skinny ribbons with the edge of your scissors? Doesn’t work. They become sad and kinky looking instead. And bows. The factory installed adhesive DOESN’T STICK. Don’t try to tell me it does. The bows are off the packages by the time you carry them downstairs.
And the whole Martha Stewart package thing, where you wrap in handmade paper from Pakistan with coordinating raffia and hand rubberstamped gift tags bearing hokey little messages? Forget the whole thing. First of all, why would you bother to waste this on a kid? And really, why would you waste it on anyone? You can spend hours contemplating the layout and message of said package, and it will be ripped off in an instant. And anything that is hand lettered, for me, looks like it was done by a toddler in crayon. So I wouldn’t waste my time unless the gift was actually FOR Martha Stewart. And then it would stress me out beyond belief.
And unfairly, and horribly, I get stuck wrapping all the gifts. First I had to wrap my dad’s. Now I have to wrap my husband’s. He even has me wrapping the gifts he’s bought for me. I wish I were joking. Plus I have to wrap my own. Plus anything for any Christmas party or Dirty Santa. And you would think, you would really really think, that with this much wrapping over the years, I might not suck at it so bad. But I do. And each package appears as if someone had stomped it really vigorously into the ground, followed by setting it on fire. And then everyone makes fun of the wrapping I did for them. And I want to stuff my ugly little packages into their various smirking lazy mouths. So gift wrapping is the icing on the veritable Christmas cake for me. And I still don’t know why I suck at it so bad. I hope it isn’t genetic.