I got my Christmas shopping done in good time this year – yay, me – but now am faced with a task so onerous that it actually sends a little shiver down my spine just to think of it:
I have to wrap all these presents.
I suppose this is as good a time as any to point out that I hate to wrap presents. In fact, I have a bit of a complex about it. Where paper, tape and ribbons are concerned, I am all thumbs. And they’re not opposable.
As with most of my shiver-down-the-spine complexes, this one goes back to kidhood. In this case, I’m thinking of the times I was mocked mercilessly for the sloppy wrapping jobs I did on presents for my family. I’ll admit they were right about the quality of the work. My corners never turned out right and I always seemed to wind up with too much paper on one side and not enough on the other. Where others could produce a nice, neat rectangle of a present, I – armed with the same shirt box and a roll of colored paper – managed to create rhomboids. And don’t even ask about the year I ran out of tape and so fell back on the only tool I could think of, a stapler.
It was often said that a present wrapped by Mike looked as if it had already been opened. I do think people could have been a little nicer about that, but you don’t need to hear it, not when I’m paying therapists good money to listen to my whining and complaining.
So here I am looking at a mountain of presents and just dreading the fact that I have to wrap them.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Or I think I know what you’re thinking. I think you’re thinking I could just go get them wrapped somewhere – Joe’s Present Wrapping Service or some such.
Nope. Can’t do it. That would be against the rule (see above under: Kidhood and Shiver Down The Spine) that says you have to wrap the presents you buy. To do otherwise – to have the store wrap it, for example – makes it somehow less meaningful.
Actually, that is one of many Yule Rules I was raised with, rules that my rational self knows make no sense at all but my irrational – which is to say dominant – self can’t shake. For example, my mother’s insistence that the Christmas tree lights had to be strung so that no two lights of the same color were next to one another. It simply isn’t possible. You’re only dealing with a half-dozen colors. You’re bound to wind up with two red bulbs next to one another. Try telling that to Mom.
I was also told that money was not a good gift because it is impersonal. Gifts are supposed to carefully selected with the recipient in mind and all that baloney. You know the drill. Well, I noticed my nieces and nephew never seemed to object when Uncle Mike gave them crisp new bills in their Christmas cards. And it certainly simplified the wrapping problem.
Oh well. It’s too late now. This year I spent the crisp new bills on things that need to be wrapped. I’d better get to it. Hand me the stapler.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on speaking fees and availability, visit www.spotlightwww.com.