I have always enjoyed sitting down a week or two before Christmas and wrapping the gifts. Years ago, a family member used to pay me to wrap all of his gifts along with mine. Throughout the years, I have added a few special treats to make the event so enjoyable, that I look forward to this day all year. Today was my day to have the house all to myself so that I could wrap all of the remaining Christmas presents for the thirteen people who will be celebrating Christmas here in 2015. Fortunately for the rest of my family, this weekend also happened to be the opening of the new Star Wars movie, so they had plenty to look forward to as well.
As the rest of my family sat in a theater watching Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, I watched my favorite holiday movie, It's a Wonderful Life and sipped a glass or two of Pinot Grigio. I may have also sampled a couple of freshly baked gingerbread men throughout the afternoon. By the time the above classic was over, I was only about halfway through wrapping, so I also viewed Christmas with the Kranks, a relatively new favorite of our family. Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen are a hoot in this movie, especially the scenes where they're tanning in a mall, and when Allen's character decides to get Botox just before a lunch out with his wife. We laugh so hard while watching this movie.
Aside from the fact that I can't have children around watching me play Santa, I also need all the space I can get because I definitely sprawl when I am gift wrapping. I must concentrate so I don't forget where I have hidden items or forget whose gift I'm wrapping. This year I started filling out the gift tags one at a time before wrapping each gift. After a glass or two of wine last year, I would forget what I just wrapped and then would have to loosen the tape and peek inside before I could put the gift tag on it.
I don't know how other parents of large families keep track of their purchases, but I keep a chart with everyone's names, gifts, and stocking stuffers so I can be sure all gifts are equal in number and price range. I also check off each gift on the chart as I wrap it so I can be sure I don't forget any. If I do, then I have to do a thorough search of my house, vehicles, and outbuildings because we have hidden presents everywhere to prohibit nosy children from finding them. I now have a pillow to sit on too because the wooden floors do not feel good under my body after sitting on them for hours on end.
I always wrap all the childrens' gifts first and hide them away in case my husband brings them home from the movies early. Then I move on to gifts for adults and extended family. You'll notice that I couldn't pass up an opportunity to purchase some plaid wrapping paper this year. I actually bought the last roll in our local Target store. I do have plaid ribbon, but I just don't bother with ribbons and bows on the kids' gifts anymore. I don't think they even notice them.
Some friends of ours introduced us to this little rhyme a number of years ago and we have tried to stick to this to keep from becoming too materialistic at Christmas:
"Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read."
We have also added to that a game or movie, and also an ornament that I purchase for each child annually. Once they grow up and have their own residence, I then give them all the ornaments they've accumulated through the years for their first Christmas tree. We have found that as time goes on, our children are often hard-pressed to even come up with five items to place on their wish list. What a difference from the days when they would peruse the toy aisles and point to every other item on the shelf and say, "I want this, and I want this, and I want this..." Instead they really spend quite a bit of time giving thought to one main item that they would truly enjoy.
So what about you Readers? I would love to hear what gift wrapping traditions you might have to make the task more enjoyable.