It’s hard to believe one of my first jobs in high school was working in the gift-wrap and lay-away department at a grocery store. I learned how to expertly wrap gifts of every size from jewelry to television sets without showing a seam or hint of tape. My bows were even hand-made. First, my mother taught me the tricks of the trade, and then my manager. I once gave a speech in my high school forensics class on “How to Wrap a Present.” It would be the equivalent today of “Gift-wrapping for Dummies.” I guess my teacher liked it because I scored an “A” on that one!
These days when it comes to this particular holiday season, I’ve lost all interest in gift-wrapping. I think bows and ribbon are a waste of money, and question the importance of actually wrapping. I pawn this task off on my teenagers. Even the little ones offer to help. This means I’m good for years since my youngest is only four. Yea, me! I’ve considered my husband’s approach to wrapping gifts, which is “why even bother?” When he and his brothers exchange presents, they’re still in the bag from the store. I’ve seen others use the comic section of newspapers, but ironically, I think I’m allergic to newspaper print. I always sneeze repeatedly when I read the paper. Go figure. It is one way to save money though, as pretty wrapping paper doesn’t come cheap.
What I didn’t mention is how one actually opens a gift wrapped by my mother. I didn’t inherit her “use an entire roll of Scotch tape per gift so it can never be opened” approach. It’s pretty much the equivalent of trying to enter Fort Knox in Kentucky. It’s not easy. My children always know when a gift is from her. The box is taped so securely, it requires a knife, scissors, or saw to get into. This could be from all her years working at Federal Express, but I doubt it. I clearly remember her using this technique when I was a small child and she was a stay-at-home mom. It might be because one Christmas we ripped our gifts open so quickly she cried. I clearly remember that! All her hard work picking out the perfect gifts and meticulously wrapping them, and my sister and I ripped through them like two small tornadoes. The following year she made us draw numbers and open one gift at a time. To this day, we still do it that way. Complete bummer. I make my children do the same thing although I’ve never given them a complete explanation as to why.
I’m not exaggerating about her taping abilities like one might think. She doesn’t skimp and use the cheap stuff either. I got an email from her the other day bragging about the tape she used last year. She even attached a photo as proof. After putting their artificial Christmas tree back in the box last year, she taped it up in her normal manner. When my father dragged out the huge box this year, a rattlesnake had attached itself to the tape and died what I’m sure was a slow and miserable death. This was probably better than opening the box and finding a live, slithery creature inside. I’m sure that would have taken years off my father’s life or given him a heart attack. None of us have ever been fond of snakes. Why they choose to live in a desert is beyond me.
Nevertheless, I hope my children are eager to wrap the gifts again this year. Otherwise they’ll be receiving them in the store bags they came in. I plan to buy cheap tape and tell them to use it sparingly, except of course on the gift for my mother.
Compliments of the Atchison Globe