Things I Hate About Christmas

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a Bah! Humbug! post. I may have to spend it in our new home in Cleckhuddersfax, but not even that prospect can dampen my spirit.

I’ve always enjoyed the Christmas season and suspect I always will, yet that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things about it that irritate me. Like the free gift wrapping service on offer in the department stores.

I’m hopeless at wrapping presents, as I gather are most men. I don’t know if it’s our lack of dexterity or patience or our inability to concentrate on more than one thing at once, but I can never get the paper neatly taped or the ribbon tied in a fancy bow.

To be honest, it all seems a waste of effort since the wrapping will be ripped open and discarded within seconds of handing over the gift, so why spend an inordinate amount of time getting it to look just so?

It’s not unlike creating beautifully constructed castles, space stations, cityscapes  etc with your kids’ building bricks or Lego only for them to smash them to bits just as you finish it. Your enthusiasm wanes.

But Mrs P in particular sets great store by the love and toil that is seen to go into gift presentation, so I try my best. It’s just that my best isn’t up to much.

You would think then that I would welcome a free professional wrapping service when it is on offer, and so I would except that it only seems to be available at the cosmetics counter.

If I were to present Mrs P with a parcel that has paper with no ragged edges, flaps on each end that are symmetrically triangular, all tied with tasteful ribbon and no artlessly applied sellotape, she’d know immediately that I hadn’t wrapped it.

More importantly, she’d know what it contained and that would spoil the surprise.

So I politely refuse the offer of free wrapping and instead curse and swear as I attempt the task myself, only to find that the sheet of paper I’ve cut is half an inch too short.

It seems to me that there are two possible solutions. Either all retailers should offer free gift wrapping, which is unlikely, or the likes of Lancôme, Chanel and Dior should also offer an unprofessional gift wrapping service, perhaps giving employment to a few hapless men in the process.

Which reminds me that there was quite a bit of publicity about the Crap Wrap service at a few years ago and by all accounts it is still going strong. See the old newsclip below.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

6 comments… Add yours
  • Jennyta 19th December 2011

    Love it! I’m not so good at wrapping presents myself, actually and I did go through a phase of making a virtue out of bad wrapping, especially presents for more artistically gifted friends. 😉

  • Roger Green 19th December 2011

    My pet peeve, actually, is wrapping paper. I think it’s a waste, and this is not a recent awareness. My parents and sisters used to mock me when I was a child and I deigned to wrap presents in the Sunday funnies or advertising circulars. I thought, and still think, that it’s ecologically better.

  • Elizabeth 19th December 2011

    Ian, I’m totally with Roger on this one. An acre of rainforest is lost every second of every day because of de-forestation.

    I love spending time on making presents look beautiful and special but only ever use paper if I know that the recipient will use it again – perhaps a special Japanese lens paper for an artist or similar. There are so many creative alternatives that don’t cost the planet. Wrap your wife’s present in a silk scarf or hide it in a vase surrounded by tiny battery fairy lights that she can utilise later – so much easier than wrapping, too. Large things like bikes can be wrapped in recycled bubble-wrap but before you put it on , cut a tiny nick into the back of some of the bubbles and pop in smarties – it looks great, conceals the gift and they love excavating for the goodies afterwards. There are endless possibilities – think about the person’s interests, put soft toys into balloons (provided they are latex ones) before taking them to be filled with helium, use the christmas baubles that divide into two, etc, etc. Always use real ribbon rather than non-degradable gift ribbon. It doesn’t have to be hard work, boring or involve one piece of paper.

    Think back to when we were kids, Ian. Wrapping presents wasn’t the complicated affair that so many make it today, but has got built upon until people think that they’ve got to spend a fortune on nonsense and fripperies. We need to reverse the process for the sake of our planet.

    A useful tip that I know you will truly appreciate is that YORKSHIRE TEA have a committment to save an area of rainforest the size of Yorkshire, so if you bought everybody a box of YORKSHIRE TEA to include with their present, instead of spending that money on wrapping paper, then you’d really be helping the environment – as well as promoting the best county, of course. x

  • john 19th December 2011

    The best wrapping paper I ever used was simple brown paper embossed with a star design made from a potato printer!!!
    I made all of my own pressies that year ( I was skint) It was great fun! and everyone seemed to enjoy the gifts all the more!

  • Mr Pudding 19th December 2011

    Your assumption that all men are as cack-handed as you are when it comes to wrapping presents is wildly inaccurate. At Cleckhuddesfax Secondary Modern School I achieved a Grade 2 in C.S.E. Xmas Present Wrapping and can still quickly wrap a present very beautifully. Here’s one practical tip – get a heavy duty office tape dispenser from Staples. That way you can hold the paper with one hand while you get yourself a small piece of tape – no scissors or finding the end of the tape. (Tip provided free of charge)

  • Mr Parrot 19th December 2011

    Thank you all for those tips which I genuinely found encouraging. I thought it was just me who thinks that gift wrapping was a waste, in more ways than one.

    It’s come s year as everything is wrapped (after a fashion) but I will try these ideas next year.

    I did see one good idea for wrapping odd shaped gifts on James May’s Manlab Christmas Special last night using those vacuum bags normally used for storing clothes, bedding etc to save space.

    Simply paint it a nice colour, pop in the present, apply the vacuum cleaner and it’s done. And the ‘wrapping’ is recyclable.


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