A Mom’s Truth About Wrapping Presents

Yes, it’s true that on occasion you will wrap gifts while listening to Christmas carols, or perhaps watching Hallmark movies, sipping hot cocoa and wearing fleece pajamas. It’s been known to happen, and it’s lovely.

But more often than not, you will end up hastily wrapping presents while hiding out in your (relatively) cold basement, listening to your husband play with the kids upstairs, holding your breath every time it sounds like the peace may not last much longer. Your beautifully set-up wrapping station—you know, the one you put together so lovingly in July—has now become home to your work, and you will have to contend with losing the scissors among legal files, household budgets, editing projects, and things you need to (someday) scrapbook. As you dig trough last year’s Trader Joe’s bags chock full of crumpled ribbon, you will laugh at the memory of your plan to carefully roll the fabric- and wire ribbon on the closet rod that hangs above your head, so you can easily pick a matching color and whip it into a fluffy and glittery bow.

Your back will hurt from bending over the rolls of wrapping paper and always-lost packages of tape, and you will curse the fact that someday soon your back will hurt even more from assembling a something-or-other that I won’t mention, just in case some cruel person decides to spoil the surprise. In between the curses, you will hear, in stereo sound, your mother’s imagined-but-sure-to-happen admonishments that you should have put the princess dresses in a BOX, instead of lazily wrapping them in their sort of hard plastic covers. But hey, your back hurts and you know she won’t do her wrapping until Christmas Eve, at which point you will feel like the superior mama for being on top of things, otherwise known as working yourself into a tizzy for no apparent reason other than to please children who are happy with an empty box.

You will struggle to remember why in the world you bought your 4-year-old and your fourteen-month-old the joint gift of Hungry Hippo, seeing as how your little guy will simply eat all the marbles. You’ll stress over the fact that your teenager only wants the kind of gift that comes inside an envelope, greatly reducing his unwrapping joy come Christmas Day, and you’ll wonder if anyone will notice that the only gifts shoved inside gift bags with hastily arranged tissue paper belong to out-of-state family members.

And in the midst of all this, you might even write a blog post about your Christmas wrapping, because really, it’s important for everyone to know that they are not alone. I stand in solidarity with you and your fight to create beautiful Christmas memories that will be ripped to shreds and discarded, maybe in the recycling bin, but maybe in the trash, because you can’t really remember if the shiny kind of paper is compostable or not.

Merry Christmas, and happy wrapping!