After you’ve done all the online shopping, you’re still not done with losing your mind with shopping. Oh no—shopping is a two part-er. You shop, then you have to….
#3. Wrap your gifts. You can’t just hand people the boxes the gifts were shipped in! You have to wrap those boxes. (This is one of the benefits of online shopping…you don’t have to shop for boxes!) Hey, it’s recycling, right? (And technically, it’s one less thing you have to do—who wants to have to break up the boxes and scream at your 16 year old because he didn’t take the recycling can to the garbage for the third week in a row and now there’s no place to throw the recyclables, and boxes and cans and bottles are stacked all over the house like some hoarder show?) You have to wrap the gifts as they are delivered or your kids will start snooping and discover the stash of gifts in the bottom of your closet and you’ll come home from the gym one day when their father wasn’t paying attention and discover them playing with their toys in their bedrooms. And even if they don’t take the gifts out, they’ve seen the gifts and they know. Which kind of ruins Christmas for me.
*Side note—the people in this house LOVE to ruin Christmas for me by finding their gifts. They snoop in drawers, they go through bags, they stick their noses where they don’t belong. My husband is THE WORST. He will actually stalk my online credit card purchases to see what I’ve gotten him. He’s hacked into my email to see what’s been delivered. He’s bribed his mother, my best friend, and my sister when I’ve hidden gifts at their house. He is TERRIBLE. His mother warned me that when he was a kid, he and his sister actual spent an entire afternoon cracking the combination to the locked case his parents used to hide their gifts in. So, unless you have an iron-clad gift hiding spot, you need to wrap right away.
You used to enjoy wrapping, though. When the kids were really little and you knew they weren’t going to climb out of their cribs, you used to wrap gifts in front of the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree or the fireplace, while watching a Christmas movie or listening to Christmas music. With a glass of wine, of course. Ahhhh…so relaxing, wasn’t it? You’d wrap each child’s gift with different wrapping paper and make bows and ribbons and be singing Fa La La La La the whole time. Then the cat would abscond with your ribbon and the dog would plop herself in the middle of the wrapping paper while you tried to wrap gifts, and then kids learned how to climb out of their cribs…so you had to barricade yourself in the bedroom to wrap gifts. And even that wouldn’t be so bad if someone else would watch them while you wrap. Because they’d bang on the door and want to come in or want a drink or need you to wipe them. But anyway, I digress…this is about the joy of wrapping tons and tons of gifts until your fingers are stiff and bleed from papercuts.
*Another side note…my parents would ALWAYS wait till the last minute to shop. I actually remember quite a few years of going with my father on Christmas Eve to the hell on Earth of a mall to grab a “last minute gift” for someone—usually my mother. (He bought her a gun one year when I wasn’t with him. I would have warned him it was a bad choice. The next day she made him trade it in for a puppy.) Anyway…they would ALWAYS be wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve for HOURS. For years…because there were 4 of us. Once grandchildren came along, they STOPPED wrapping. Seriously. Now they throw things in bags or hand the box to the kids. How tempted I am to go this route some years when the wrapping starts to go sour. Which it always does…
You’ve finally finished wrapping the kids’ gifts, but you still need to hide them somewhere. The little nosy brats will be looking for them and shaking them and inspecting them, so you can’t put them under the tree. Actually you can’t put anyone’s gift under the tree because the cat will sit on it and make a hole in the box and eat the ribbon and then barf it up on your comforter. And then the dog will tear the paper off the packages and there will be wrapping paper all over your living room and you’ll have to start over again with the wrapping so you HAVE TO HIDE THE GIFTS.
You will hide them in plain sight—a Rubbermaid container that used to house Christmas decorations works best. You put it in the basement where no one dares to go. For an added security measure, you don’t label anything so they can’t tell what’s theirs and what’s their cousins’ gifts. Because you will totally remember which is which on Christmas (you won’t). As you collapse from your wrapping extravaganza, you swear that next year everyone is getting gift cards.
*An additional side note—wrapping is one of the few Christmas activities my husband will participate in. However, I cannot wrap with him. He’s annoyingly meticulous and constantly criticizes my wrap job. After wrapping 500 gifts, I usually don’t care if a little bit of the package is showing on the back or the edges don’t line up. He does. Wrapping in his company usually ends with me crying, throwing empty wrapping paper tubes, and angrily ripping up wrapping paper. ‘Tis the season.