Making Christmas


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:


kitty waiting for Santa


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)
HIM:  (laughs)
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.


portico lights

Still not quite magical


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.
HIM:  What?
ME:  (sigh)  When you do it, you keep a little slack in so it looks random and scattered.
HIM:  Oh.
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.
HIM:  Oh.
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?


Conan "You're clinically insane"

Right, that too.


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:  …
HIM:  …
ME:  (singing)  Sometimes he’s nutty, sometimes he’s corny…


Mr. Hankey "things sure are starting to look Christmassy now!"



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.





7 comments on “Making Christmas

  1. tiredwife says:

    I just find Christmas stressful these days, so after the tree went up, I just sort of lost interest. I am also the person that, when I run out of clear tape will happily use duct tape or electrical tape, and I’m pretty sure I’ve wrapped things with plastic bags before, or printer paper I’ve forced the kids into coloring on so it’s not see through. If your present looks like it was wrapped by a 3 year old after drinking an energy drink, it’s probably from me. Of course, I lie and say the kids wrapped it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JenS says:

    I’ve never been the type that worries about the perfection of the lights or wrapping. I figure that as long as the lights are up and look good, there is no need to worry about it. I mean, if the lights were a real crap job, I’d fix the small details, but otherwise I’m just grateful that it’s complete.

    The wrapping used to be a big deal. Getting stressed about corners and then f’ing them up anyways. Over the years I’ve noticed that no one actually cares if things aren’t perfect as long as they can get to the present underneath with relative ease. I mean, if someones that picky about how there present is wrapped it would make me nervous about the person and their priorities in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • See, that’s the thing: I don’t assume that anyone will care or judge – though I do like it when people notice a stunning package and say it must be one of mine – I honestly like the way they look when I’m done enough to put in the effort. Mind you, that concern for appearance doesn’t seem to extend to other things, else I would care more about whether actual chew toys were scattered down the hall and around the top of the stairs for people to step on, which is why I don’t make them take off their shoes. I have a very selective form of Martha Stewart Syndrome, apparently.


  3. Merrisa says:

    Mine is a perfectionism that has been passed down and a life skill I should like to pass along myself one day. If there’s one thing the world needs it’s more OCD…At some point growing up it was decided that my step-dad needed assistance with the holiday wrapping as there were too damn many kids in that house and mom is more the “delegator”, so I, the eldest, became the apprentice. Now, its what we bond over. Just me and my step dad talking papers, bows, ribbons, tapes and package options. If he gets tied up at work, because its weather dependent, my mom calls me over. And on more than one occasion other friends and loved ones have asked me to come help them wrap (**come wrap while they watch), and the bf will leave me everything except what he got me. Goaded into it with a “but yours are so pretty”. Also, shoddy wrapping actually offends my senses. And the bf’s youngest seems to actually appreciate all my effort, for now. Says his favorites are the ones that are really done up because they look extra special and expensive…..nevermind that its a box of socks! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve learned to pick my battles. The tree and lights are my domain. They will be perfect and therefore are touched by no other hands but mine.

    Regarding wrapping, on the other hand, I’ve decided I will never again stress out over something that’s just going to end up in shreds anyway. Besides, Nutty Hubby enjoys it more than I do. He likes to make his own boxes in increasingly difficult-to-construct shapes like stars and plus signs that require mathematical formulae to wrap once completed, and I’m more than happy to leave him to it.

    BTW, do let me know if the cat’s plan succeeds. I’m not above purchasing cat toys for a pet-free household if it makes Jolly Old Saint Nick show up any sooner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No success yet, though I did just catch him standing on one of my son’s gifts and reaching up to shake the lower branches of the tree, as if the gifts are hidden in there and they just fall out. That’s probably my fault, though – I did some wrapping earlier and put two out while he was napping, so he did actually wake up to more presents.

      Liked by 1 person

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