Originally posted Dec. 24, 2010 for KVOE.com “What’s On My Plate.”
With a lot of things sliding off my plate recently (i.e., Year in Review segments 6-10), I’m feeling a lot more in the holiday spirit than before.
Except for one thing.
I’d like to know which one of our ancestors thought it was a good idea to coat our gifts in wrapping paper.
A website called Associated Content, apparently connected to Yahoo!, says wrapping paper has “a long and popular history.” It also says “wrapping a holiday gift can be as much fun as purchasing and giving it.”
Since when? And who in the heck did they ask for that bit of opinion?
My view of wrapping paper is colored — excuse me, gift-wrapped — by my experiences with the substance. I’ll be the first to admit I’m bad at wrapping gifts. I’ve neve had the talent or the patience to make sure my gifts look like they come straight from Martha Stewart’s catalog.
Wrapping paper, in my opinion, is a useless waste of time.
Even if I did, though, I’m not all that sure I see the point. I mean, you will still either the (fill in the blank with any of the following:) joy, giddiness, boredom or frustration whether you wrap the gift or not. Wrapping paper only delays the inevitable.
Thanks to Associated Content, I learned wrapping paper has been around since the early days of the second century. That’s a lot of ancestors to find and ridicule
However, the practice of adorning gifts in such a manner didn’t take hold until the Victorian Era and didn’t really take off in the United States until the 1920s.
I bring all this up because, well, I would just as soon hand my gifts off unwrapped. If you saw the amount of wasted paper, if you observed perfectly good gifts look like they came out of a trash pile, if you saw the 5-mph bumpers I engineered during this round of holiday wrapping happiness, you would understand.
Every year I do this. If I was smart, I’d buy a ton of gift bags of differing sizes and use those instead.
Instead, I tape paper in the wrong direction. I rip paper trying to crease it. I have to trim paper because I have way too much on one end, only to cut an entirely new piece because I’ve trimmed too much. All in the name of holiday cheer.
So to improve my holiday cheer, everybody next year will get their gifts in bags next year. Christmas is too important to give yourself unnecessary stress for no good reason.
Just thinking about this has put me in a better holiday mood. Pass the egg nog. And make sure it’s spiked.
Merry Christmas, everybody.