Gift Wrapping Made Complicated

The identity of whoever invented gift wrap has been lost in the alleys and gutters of time, so we have no way of knowing who to blame.  It was probably the same person who instituted the “do not open until Christmas” rule that torments people to this day.

People react differently to gift wrap:

Uncle Mario tears paper, ribbon and bows into mangled shreds with one deft hand movement, then tosses it all onto the floor.  You want to punch him out, because, dammit, that wrapping was a work of art until he played Demolition Derby with it.

Aunt Josephine, on the other hand, sits holding her present and says, “Oh my!  This is so pretty I hate to take it apart.”  You want to punch her out because, dammit, you bought that present and you deserve to get an ecstatic reaction from her when she sees it, which will not happen as long as she sits there holding it like a moron.  She then takes an eternity to open it, carefully making sure she doesn’t tear any of that pretty paper, which she folds up neat and tidy before she finally gets around to her gift.**

Kids are never going to be careful with wrapping paper unless they have been trained to recycle it from year to year.  This was traditional in our family.  We had pieces of gift wrap that were family heirlooms.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t get gift wrap to look right.  Something always ends up lopsided or bunched up, too short or too big.  And those are with boxed gifts, books and other things which should be easy.  You don’t want to look at anything else I have wrapped, unless you want a good laugh.  Some things should be left up to professionals.
It always starts out well.  I gather together the present (hopefully in a box, if it isn’t a book), the paper, the ribbon and a pair of scissors.  I clear a space on the table and settle down to work.

My cat sees something interesting about to happen and immediately jumps onto the table and starts to play with the paper.  I pick her up and put her on the floor.   She jumps back up onto the table, swats at me and starts to play with the ribbon.  I put her on the floor again.  This continues until I finally pick her up, put her in the bathroom and close the door.
With the four-footed paper shredder temporarily out of the way, I place the present on the paper and try to figure out how much it will take to cover the whole thing.  I am allergic to the idea of measuring.  I can’t be bothered.  So I eyeball it.  I am also allergic to drawing straight lines to use for cutting, so I just take the scissors and try to cut in a straight line without having a straight line to cut on.  It comes out lopsided and slightly too short.  I remedy this by cutting a small piece of paper, taping it to the exposed end of the box and then finishing with a lot of folding and application of Scotch “invisible” tape, which isn’t as invisible as it says it is.
I look for a stick-on bow to cover the resulting messy spot, but the only one that is the right size is in a color that clashes with the paper.  I decide to call on the one gift wrapping skill at which I am an expert:  curling ribbon.  I curl enough ribbon to cover my less than stellar work with the paper.  This makes the present look like a rag doll without a face, but it’s kind of cute, so I let it go.
I put the wrapped present in the closet and let the cat out of the bathroom.  She gives me a dirty look, swats me and gives me a cold shoulder for about fifteen minutes, at which point she commences to rub against me, purr and nudge me with her nose to remind me that it’s her dinner time.

**Aunt Josephine once tried to fold a pair of Uncle Mario’s pajamas while he was still wearing them.  Their sex life improved dramatically that night.


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