Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bad Elf

My idea of the perfect elf is something similar to the character played by Will Ferrell in the movie, Elf. A good elf should be full of the Christmas spirit, oozes love and kindness, and wraps the perfect present. I try to be full of the Christmas spirit and ooze love and kindness, but I fail miserably in one important category- present wrapping.

I try to be a good wrapper, I really do. I attempt to carefully estimate the exact amount of wrapping paper needed. I fold the paper with nice little creases; try to make triangles that fold in on themselves to cover the ends, and use just the minimum of tape, but the presents I wrap are easy to spot under the tree. It is like my presents have been dragged behind Santa's sled over all the neighbors’ roofs.

When I wrap presents, the Lorax cries. I often find myself using twice the amount of paper that is needed for some gifts. The ends of the gifts have so much paper bunched up that I feel compelled to get my staple gun and tack down the corners. The seams are angled oddly on the sides, and sometimes on the front of my gifts. On the presents that I don't use too much paper, I don't use nearly enough paper. It is not unusual for my presents to have holes on the sides and on the back of the gifts that must be patched with scraps. The end result is like some sort of patch work wrapping experiment that requires four times the normal amount of tape. The frightening Frankenstein present.

There is no perfectly wrapped gift from me. There are always highly noticeable issues that stand out like neck bolts. It is like I am missing the present wrapping gene.

Last night the marathon of gift wrapping began, but Amy was not feeling well. Hanging out with the kids over the last two days without me left her worn-out, and fighting a bad cold. She totally has my sympathy, but with three kids and two days before the major unwrapping event, the job had to be done.

So, I volunteered to wrap presents and told her to just label the presents as I finish. I had completely forgotten that I cannot do this task without looking like a spaz. How that had escaped me I really don't know because as soon as the present and the wrapping tools are within arm’s length, it all comes rushing back to me.

Amy was watching me align presents and create my Christmas origami mysteries, but I refused to meet her eye. I knew she was ready to burst out laughing and I just couldn't be distracted from the task at hand. There was no time to be mocked.

But there was plenty of time to curse and mutter under my breath about the ridiculous shape of toy packaging- large rectangular cuboids- Stupid!

Tape is another problem for me- sometimes it is too sticky, other times it is not sticky enough, and just when you are on a large, challenging wrapping job and you only have one hand free to seal the deal, you run out. Even though I buy tape three packs at a time, I can never find the other two rolls. I have been known to resort to using duct tape in a pinch.

This year I bought a handy little paper cutter. You just run the tool down the length of the paper and it cuts the perfect straight line. Bull! This thing cannot cut a straight line, and after you have used it a few times, it no longer wants to cut paper at all. It wants to shred paper, making bunched up tears, and jagged ripples that make every cut an adventure.

I was trying to do my present wrapping on my bed. There really couldn't be a more difficult place to wrap things, it is too soft, with pillows and blankets and I always tear holes in the paper by accidently pushing the present through the paper on the reverse side and into the bed. The problem is that my little people are all jacked up on the idea of Christmas presents and the sound of wrapping paper is like the sound of bells to Pavlov's dogs. When you are an elf at my house, you must wrap under the most strict security measures possible- locked door, wait an hour after the kid's bedtime, and you must listen for the sounds of stirring gremlins. There is no wrapping at the dining room table…

For some problems in life there are no solutions, we just do the best we can. The wrapping problem continues, and Amy's cold is worse. I bought lots of extra tape, and few extra 1000 ft rolls of wrapping paper. Later today I will coffee up and do it all. I am a little over halfway through the gifts that I remember needing to wrap, but the job must be done – even if I am a bad elf!

In the spirit of the season, I would like to share this little song with you-

Happy Holidays!


Janene said...

I detest wrapping presents and struggle with many of the same challenges. Have you tried this- ?

Al said...

I totally fprgot! I have one of those at work... I think you are right- that little tape dispenser would have really helped speed things up.