Xmas ’22 – Day 2

Playing elf..

Spent some three hours wrapping presents. It was okay, I was determined to do it. Despite finding it tedious. I try to make it fun.

“Oh just put the gift card in a small bag.”

“No way! I much prefer putting it in this big jewelry box with a hand full of candy. That way they think they’re getting something really good!”

The wrapping paper companies must make off like bandits. The only thing more wasted than tissues. At least tissues are useful. Wrapping paper… you spend three hours sizing, and folding, and taping. And you spend 10 seconds ripping it off. Add another five seconds to ball up the paper and throw it at someone.

Three hours. And it is never some elvish stream-lined process. You can never cut a straight line. Despite the dotted grid guide on the back of the paper. Despite utilizing both methods of cutting. The slow, measured snip, which always results in a jagged and sometimes slightly torn edge… or the fast sliding slice, which can sometimes result in a grossly crooked edge, or in the case that your arms are not long enough, the paper bends and the scissors catch and grievously tear the paper…

Oh well, that’s what tape is for right? This magic ‘invisible tape’… that is completely, glaringly visible. Either finish, smooth matte, or vivid gloss. You may as well be using that neon 90’s hip-hop era colored duct tape. …actually, duct tape would probably stick better to some of the cardboard. So much for magic tape.

And, of course, you can never get the piece of wrapping paper just right. You either have too little and thus toss that piece aside and hope you have a smaller present to wrap… or you end up with too much, in which you either stick with it and roll and roll and roll the paper around the gift like a roll of paper towels… or you snip the extra off creating those annoying and useless strips of wrapping paper you’ll never be able to wrap anything in…

It is all well and good. You will hear people constantly and self assuredly announce that they don’t like surprises. Almost as if hanging a sign around their neck that says, “Sucker. Someone hide around the corner and jump out at me when I get close.” And yet they always, always fall into the magical mind game that is wrapped presents. The very purpose of wrapping presents is that the gift is mean’t to be a surprise. The object of opening it is that you want to be surprised. Weak constitution or control freak, whichever you are, nobody DOESN’T want to be surprised. The world would be so disappointing if you knew everything and every action and every event. It is the purpose of our brains to be challenged in even just some slight way. Shake the present (hope it isn’t fragile because wrapping paper with the words “fragile, this side up” would remove some of the magic) and attempt to guess what it is.

And when you tear back that paper (unless you are like me and carefully unstick each piece of tape individually…) even if you knew what it is, you still feel a slight swell of surprise. Because the purpose of a gift is not just to spend money on someone that you know. The purpose of a gift is to show that person that you see them, and that you care.

(Wrapping paper is still kind of ridiculous though… one roll of baby shower paper and you only had one gift to wrap… )