Friday, December 24, 2010

Gifts, Presents, or Presence?

Whether you have wrapped all your gifts for Christmas giving, or are finishing them up today, wrapping presents can be fun if you are a little bit creative. I got an early start in gift wrapping, since one of my job tasks in my first real job at age 16 was to wrap customers’ gifts. The owner had an awesome tool that made beautiful bows, but the trick was to practice pulling out the loops so you ended up with a fluffy bow. By the time my part-time after-school job ended, I could quickly and efficiently wrap gifts and tie on attractive ribbons and bows. My mother would ask me to wrap the family’s Christmas presents because I was pretty fast, and told me, “don’t look in that box; that’s your present!”

So Christmas presents have become one of my favorite times to use a theme to wrap all the gifts in – I would choose a color theme and then buy only gift-wrapping papers, ribbons, and tags in those colors. Color themes I’ve had fun with have been lime green and pink, purples, silver and gold, red and green…When I became more interested in papercrafting, I started making some of my own papers, tags, and designing ribbons. Here are some pictures of my last year’s presents – can you see what my “theme” was?

Here are some of the presents I wrapped for this year – one theme is masculine,
and the other is feminine.

With the internet, there are oodles of ideas for making last minute items to wrap presents with, as well as unconventional gift wrapping ideas, alternative gift wrapping, and stylish DIY gift wrapping – I am such a packrat and hate to throw away pretty things that might come in handy to put on a present…recycle them! But buying things post-Christmas that you can use on presents is great too – this year I used snowflakes and snowmen.

When I think of gifts and presents, I am reminded by that saying, "The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present." Out of curiosity, I checked online to see who is credited with saying that….can you believe it, not only were there several slight variations of it, it has been quoted by several folk, among them was Eleanor Roosevelt, Bill Keane (the cartoonist), and even someone named Babatunde Olatunji (??). The saying supposedly comes from an ancient phrase and in “modern English,” it is: "the tide abides for, tarrieth for no man, stays no man, tide nor time tarrieth no man" (…).

As far as the “presence,” I enjoy the holiday “presence” and “presents” – I love designing and putting together “presents”…making each one special for just that person…having the recipient think for just a minute before tearing it open, “oh, it’s too pretty to unwrap.” And hope that the gift I wrapped makes them not only feel special for that instant, but that they can sense my “presence” in the way I designed the “present” just for them. This quote pretty much summarizes my thoughts on presents: “The manner of giving is worth more than the gift” (Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur; retrieved 12/18/10, from  Hope you will take a second look at some of those pretty presents you might receive!

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