Gift-wrapping is another one of those tasks which divides the human race: you like to do it and are good at it; or you think the idea of wrapping gifts is goofy and you despise the task. I fall into the second group. I like buying gifts. I love the people to whom I give the gifts. I despise wrapping gifts. Now, you need to know that I buy 7 gifts each year: one for my wife, one for each of my four children (two by blood; two by marriage); and two for my grandsons. Some years, if I see a good dog toy I buy two more for Rocky and Peanut, our grand-dogs, but they just don’t seem to get into the whole Christmas thing. They like to tear at paper though. So, maybe I will buy 9 gifts this year. But that’s it. My wife takes care of the rest, bless her. And she take a day off to wrap them. Seriously. I, on the other hand, take 15 minutes on Christmas morning to wrap my gifts with whatever wrapping paper is left around the house, and I fill in the gaps with the plentiful newspaper around my chairs. ( Yes, I still read print newspapers.) There is never any doubt when it is time to open gifts which come from me and which are from “Santa”. Thus it was and it ever shall be. I can live with the shame.
Some years I think that I will try harder, despite my inability to understand the purpose of gift-wrapping. So when a late night talk show host had on the winner of a national gift-wrapping contest ( I am not making this up…there is a national contest for gift-wrapping; oh my) I was trying to write down his special technique to which he gave the acronym “WRAPS” (clever, huh?). Each letter stand for a step in his award-winning process. “W” is for width, “R” is for ridges, and so forth. The last one, “S”, was a stretch in that it stands for “special”, but what he really means is the bow on top. I will tell you that the national talk show host did put a beautiful wrap on the box by employing this nationally-awarded technique. What-ever. Gift-wrapping 101 is not going to change my life, I fear. But it did get me thinking: where did this gift-wrapping idea come from?
I don’t know, but if I was forced to give an answer I would say it comes from the story about a young girl who gave birth to a baby in a barn, a baby she was told was the Son of God. I picture Joseph and Mary scrambling for some water with which to wash the baby boy and then, staring at him strangely thinking, “this is what God looks like?”; and then, at his first cry, Mary takes him to her breast while Joseph runs to his travelling gear for the clean cloths they brought along ‘just in case’. “She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid in in the manger.” With trembling hands and dripping eyes, I imagine, the perfect gift was wrapped like no other gift since. Keep on trying.