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It’s a wrap

janie3-214x300The older I get, the more I dislike gift wrapping.  Not that I ever really liked it in the first place.

I’d just as soon put the presents I’ve bought in paper bags.  But all that brown isn’t very festive, and I don’t think my family would be too happy with what resembles bags of groceries for them to open.

So, I usually set aside a few hours, preferably when something I enjoy is on TV, sit on the floor and surround myself with the necessary materials:  scissors, wrapping paper, tape and a very large bottle of vodka.

Now, I’m a pantser when it comes to gift wrapping. I delve into it by the seat of my pants, not really knowing where I am going.

Inevitably, a few minutes into this wrapping expedition, I lose the scissors.  I start tossing paper around until I locate them. Then I can’t find the paper I needed.  After several exasperating minutes, I find that much needed paper, only to have lost the gift.

And let’s not talk about bows and ribbons.  I’m still at Gift Wrapping 101.

My husband on the other hand is my wrapping opposite.  He’s a  plotter with a doctorate in gift wrapping. He sets the gift onto the paper, rolls it over onto its side, measures exactly how much paper he needs, cuts and then wraps. Not a scrap is left over

My gifts look like they have been dressed in a second-hand store, whereas my husband’s sit like kings under the tree.

This got me thinking. Why do we wrap presents so differently from one another? There may be a government study on this topic. I mean, they’ve researched the antidepressant qualities of semen, of all things.  So why not this?  So far, I haven’t found one.

But after years of receiving gifts I have come up with my own conclusions based on the personality types which have existed since my high school days.

1.  The Cheerleader, known in adult life as the social butterfly or the woman who decorates excessively. Her need for acceptance makes her wrap a present as if it were a competition with colorful tape and  matching bows. She waits eagerly for the giftee to comment that the present looks way too gorgeous to open.

2.  The Nerd-Turned-Successful-Entrepreneur. His energy goes into choosing the right present; wrapping it is just an afterthought.  He’ll use scraps of paper so as not to waste anything. Rarely will there be any extra ornamentation such as bows and ribbons.

3. The Class Clown, or that annoying relative who tells too many jokes.  He, of course, will put a necklace inside a box.  Put that box inside another one and so on, ending up with a gift as large as a dishwasher, which takes up all the space under the tree.

Anyway you look at, when it comes time to open the presents, everyone tosses paper and bows every which way. All that mess gets shoved into a big bag and carried to the recycle bin. Where it ultimately gets turned into grocery bags.  And we’re right back to where I started.

Why not go with paper bags in the first place? This year, I think I just might.

— Janie Emaus

Janie Emaus believes that when the world is falling apart, we’re just one laugh away from putting it together again. She is the author of the time travel romance, Before the After, and the young adult novel, Mercury in Retro Love. She has an essay in the best-selling humor anthology, You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth and is proud have been named a 2013 BlogHer Voice of the Year. To read more of Janie’s humor, you can find her every week In The Powder Room. To learn more about her crazy life, visit her website

Reflections of Erma