I am not good at wrapping presents. It is not in my skill sets. First of all, I have a hard time guessing how much wrap I should cut off of the roll. I either end up with wrap about one inch too short to cover the present, or enough wrap to wrap around the present twice (or three times).
My biggest problem comes when the present is covered and it's time to fold up the corners of the wrap. Can't do it. Well, that's not true. I can do it, I just can't do it and make it look good. It ends up in a big wad, or the underside of the wrap is showing, or the foldy point of the wrap is so big it wraps more than halfway around the present again. I've been shown how to fold these corners, but I just can't seem to grasp it. (Just like I've been shown how to raise and lower window blinds, but do you think I could raise or lower them in such a way that the bottom of the blinds are level?)(Umm...no.)
And then, there are the bows. The Wife has tried to show me how to wrap bows around presents. And, she's also shown me how to make the end of the ribbon all curly and pretty by running a pair of scissors along it so that it curls on the end. I'm just not very good at it. She wraps the ribbon around the corners of the boxes, but I always get confused as to how to do this. And, as far as curling the ribbon with scissors is concerned, it just seems to me to be another way to hurt myself with scissors. (I guess if I really wanted to live on the edge I would learn how to curl ribbon while running with the scissors.)
I blame my mother. My Mom was visiting this fall near The Wife's birthday, so I thought, "Great, she can help me wrap presents so they will actually look good!" Wrong. My Mom was as bad at wrapping as I was. Once again heredity rears its ugly head.
It didn't always used to be this way. Once upon a time, I used to get positive-ish comments about how I wrapped things. (Looking back, they were probably condescending positive-ish comments, but positive-ish nonetheless.) Remember, I was single until I was 40. As a single man, the only real objective of wrapping presents is to cover the presents so that the receiver of the gift can't see what the present is. (I'm not sure why this has changed since I got married, but it has.)
So, back then I was widely known for wrapping presents in newspaper. It made perfect sense to me. I already had the newspaper. It was cheap. I didn't see the need to spend money on wrapping paper. (Americans spend more than $117 billion* dollars on wrapping paper every year.) [*86.2% of all statistics on this blog are numbers I made up.] I didn't see the need to hand over my money to the wrapping paper consortium.
Plus, I used to be creative with my newspaper wrapping, often incorporating the pictures from the paper into the wrapping. I remember the sports page having a large close-up front-page picture of football coach Bill Parcells in mid-yell. I wrapped the present in such a way that the present was a festive, angry Parcells. And nothing quite says "this present is pretty lame" than a present wrapped in a full-page picture of former Utah Jazz center Greg Ostertag.
|My brother, holding up the gift I wrapped in newspaper with a festive photo of football coach Bill Parcells.|
(Parcells is probably yelling at my brother because of that ugly Packers hat.)
And, I didn't stop at newspapers. One year, I wrapped a bunch of my presents in plastic yellow Nestle Quik containers. (At least the presents that would fit into a Nestle Quik container.)(And you'd be surprised at what you can stuff into one of those things.) In fact, I often would (and still do) use things like old cereal and Pop Tart boxes to put presents in. (Obviously, knowing what I think about wrapping paper, you can guess my feelings about the 13.2 billion* dollar "gift box" industry.) The Wife's comment this year was, "I can't believe how many presents you wrapped in cereal boxes." I like to use cereal boxes because they are already on hand, and they can add a little mystery to easily-guessed common-shaped presents like books, DVDs or CDs.
But, my attitude toward wrapping with newspaper changed a few years ago. My brother and his wife asked my nephew what they should get me for Christmas that year. He said, "Let's get Uncle Joe some wrapping paper, so he doesn't have to wrap all his presents in newspaper." And thus I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the hands of the wrapping paper conglomerates.
Soon enough I'll have to wrap this year's presents. Maybe I'll have my oldest daughter help me. That way we can determine if she got her present-wrapping skills from her Mom or from my Mom.
Edited from a post originally published on 12/27/2010.