Question: who does the bulk of the wrapping in your house? I’m just trying to get a feel for whether my particular brand of perfectionism is anywhere on the spectrum they call “normal.”
Hold up, before you answer, have a look at this:
He sleeps there constantly, waking up long enough to check for more presents and then going right back to sleep. He even “seeded” the tree with one of his favorite toys, so Santa will know to bring him more. We’ve explained to him that there are many sleeps ‘til Christmas, and apparently he thinks he can just knock them out quickly and make it come faster. I defy you to find anything cuter than this fat little bastard.
Alright. Where were we?
… Probably talking about Christmas stuff, right? I mean, that’s all that’s on my mind right now (other than the endless doctors’ appointments and insurance phone calls, from which I am deliberately shielding you because I love you.) Did I mention I’ve got the most fabulous necklace? It lights up! I’ll have to get a picture of it for you. I’ll put it up when I do, promise!
Shit, distracted again. Hang on, I’ve got it now….
STRANGER: Is your son excited for Christmas?
ME: He’s 16 – he doesn’t get excited for anything.
STRANGER: Oh. Well, does he help you decorate?
ME: (bites lip)
STRANGER: I saw that! What was that?
HIM: Tell her.
ME: Nobody does it right!
That conversation happened a few weeks ago, while we were getting decorations up around the house. We really struggled with lights this year, in spite of the Magical Christmas Gun, because Husband couldn’t be out putting them up himself and had to delegate that task to Offspring. This was problematic because Husband has been Doing It Right for years now, and knows how to get everything right the first time so my OCD doesn’t go berzerk.
ME: We’re going to have to redo those
HIM: Yeah, he did kind of a crap job.
ME: They’re stretched too tight on the zigzag. You can see that it’s a zigzag.
ME: (sigh) When you do it, you keep a little slack in so it looks random and scattered.
ME: And they’re sagging across the bottom edge.
HIM: It’s stretched tight and sagging?
ME: It’s tight on the zigzag and sagging on the bottom.
ME: Don’t make this out like I’m crazy!
See, it’s not that I don’t want other people to do things for and with me, it’s just that… Oh, how to put it?
You’ll remember that my hair is now hella Christmassy, yes? I’ve got a friend who does my color, because doing your own foils requires extra eyes and elbows, and I’ve only got the base-model two of each. Boring, I know. Anyway, one of the benefits of our friendship is that when I tell her my house is messy she comes over anyway, and if she shows up in sweats I’m just grateful that she matches the dustbunnies.
KELLI: (via text) We’re still doing your hair tonight?
ME: Yes please. Don’t mind the mess, I’m just frantically trying to get everything put together and decorations up.
KELLI: I can help!
ME: (no response)
KELLI: Unless you’re OCD about it.
ME: (to Husband) I can’t believe she even had to ask!
HIM: Original Christmas Decorator, that’s you.
I was going to calm my inner demons to have her help make the cinnamon ornaments, but we ended up eating pasta instead. Which is probably just as well, since, as it turned out, the cinnamon dough let my inner child off her (admittedly flimsy) leash.
ME: (holding out cinnamon dough) It looks like poo!
HIM: What have you been eating?
ME: (forms dough a bit) It looks like poo!
HIM: (distracted from making his lunch) Yes, yes it does.
ME: (singing) Mr. Hanky! The Christmas poo! He loves me, I love you.
HIM: I knew you were going to do that eventually.
ME: (sniffing) It smells nice, though. (thrusts poo into his face)
HIM: (sniffs, nods)
ME: (giggles, dances with poo) Therefore vicariously he loves you-
HIM: You’re really that happy that I sniffed your Christmas poo.
ME: (singing) Sometimes he’s nutty, sometimes he’s corny…
Ooh! I’ve remembered what I actually meant to say today!
Oh, this is funny… it’s kind of related, so you can see how I got off on a bit of a tangent… but I meant to ask you about wrapping.
See, around here, Santa uses his own paper (with Santas on it, because he’s just that vain) and… well, it’s not really fair to blame the man himself for the quality control issues, is it? I mean, the elves are doing all the work, and it’s no good trying to teach those lazy buggers about the wonder of double-stick tape, spray adhesive, or wired ribbon. Hell, they can’t even manage to fold their edges under, or match up a pattern on the seam! So they use regular ol’ satin tape, and they don’t use tags – because they’d just fall off in the sack, and that’d slow delivery, right? – so they write directly on the package, and their wrap jobs are a bit slapdash (by my standards.)
I, by contrast, make my own bows. I’ve even made my own boxes, when I need a truly magical and camera-friendly presentation. (Ever notice how on TV they wrap the box and top separately, and the ribbon just sort of folds under? Yup, I do that shit.) Believe it or not, Santa wrapping is really stressful for me – between being able to see the tape and the wonky edges and the soft corners… I actually let out the work to a friend one year just to give myself a break.
I don’t expect everyone to be as… intense… as I am about the wrapping issue. Just, you know, sound off if I’m not the only one who’s got people rolling their eyes and telling me that I put way too much effort into something this time of year. I would especially welcome words of comfort from fellow bow-makers. I’m not alone, right? Because I keep having to reassure Husband and Offspring that I don’t expect their offerings to me to look like what I leave under the tree, but I keep getting stuck with more than my share of the wrapping, including the kind I hate.