All Wrapped Up And Nowhere To Go
by James Snyder
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Each Christmas season brings with it all sorts of wonderful things. Topping the list is Christmas caroling and celebrating with our family and friends, and even people we don’t like. After all, Christmas is the time to put aside differences and just enjoy one another.
There is nothing like a Christmas party to bring everybody together and put them all on the same page, so to speak. It would be a miracle of Christmas proportions if we could treat each other during the 51 weeks of the year as we do this one week at Christmas.
I assure you I enjoy every aspect of the holiday season except one major thing. Don’t get me wrong, here. I’m not Mr. Scrooge, but I wrestle with one aspect of the festive season year after year.
My joy-challenged exception to the season of Noel is the thousands upon thousands of Christmas gifts I must wrap. Okay, maybe not “thousands.” But more than one is more than I can handle at any given time. Who is the insane person who invented the idea of wrapping Christmas presents?
I’m sure it was some shopkeeper somewhere who at the Christmas season had an over-abundance of colored wrapping paper he did not know what to do with. Just as his wife was about to throw the stack of unused paper away, the shopkeeper had a brilliant idea. It is these brilliant ideas that light the way into the future. When the next customer came into a shop, he tried out his idea.
“I can gift wrap that for you for only 50 cents.”
Of course, the customer had never heard of gift wrapping a present before, but was too embarrassed to allow this slice of ignorance show. So with a nervous nod of a head, the gift-wrapping phenomena began.
Now the entire world is stuck with a tradition completely out of control and nobody seems to know how to stop it.
As if this were not bad enough, one year one shopkeeper discovered a bunch of red bows in his back storeroom. That Christmas he began the tradition of attaching these pretty red bows to every Christmas present he wrapped for his customers.
Now, we are all forced into gift wrapping our Christmas present and then attaching a red bow. Nothing could be more useless and a waste of good paper and bow then these things. However, tradition is a powerful thing.
This has caused many husbands, this husband in particular, no end of grief, pain and a multitude of paper cuts. Now everybody wants his or her Christmas present, birthday present or any other present gift-wrapped, and don’t forget the red bow.
Do not let this get out among certain people, but I have given presents to people where the gift-wrapping cost more than the actual gift.
What I struggle with is the simple fact that when I give a wrapped present to someone they do not adequately appreciate and admire the wrappings. In complete disregard of my effort and in a frenzy of excitement they rip to shreds the carefully selected wrapping paper while letting the red bow fall to the floor.
And wrapping a gift is an art not easily mastered. I have been at it for years and still fall short of anything nearing expert, not to mention cellophane tape.
I have returned presents for the simple reason I could not wrap them. It was the perfect gift, but I could not wrap the blasted thing. Everyone knows a Christmas gift is not presentable until meticulously wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper with ribbon bows all color-coordinated. Then there was that one Christmas I remember so well. Finishing my shopping spree, I headed home fully intending to wrap these presents myself. This, I said to myself, will impress my wife. I don’t often impress her so this was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to waste.
Everything went wonderfully. I had 25 Christmas presents to wrap and by the time I was finished I had 25 Christmas presents wrapped. It took some doing but I accomplished this marvelous feat and then stood back and sighed deeply a sigh of contentment and satisfaction with a job well done.
Just as I was about to leave the room a terrible thought wrestled my brain to the mat.
Looking at the massive pile of wrapped Christmas presents, I realized not one of them had a nametag identifying to whom it belonged. I had not anticipated this problem.
All of my energy had been focused on one job — getting these presents wrapped properly. Now, I had all these wrapped presents and did not know what to do with them.
Should I, for example, capriciously label them hoping I get most of them right? Or, should I unwrap each present to discover the name that goes on each one?
To admit my mistake would put me at a disadvantage with my wife, which no husband can afford. I then came up with the perfect solution. I put my wife’s name on each one with a small note attached, “To my perfect gift and the master giver in this house.”
I knew she would know who to give the presents to.
Unlikely, when God gives he knows what he is giving and to whom he is giving it to.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV.)
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I heard recently (as part of a sermon illustration) that we as a nation has purchased enough wrapping paper to wrap the planet - complete with statistics just in case you doubt. Of course the intent of the message was to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and everything is totally out of control! Thanks for the humor. :)
I would be in concert with the previous critique, but, I was too busy feeling your pain. I tried to offer my "good stewardship" advice to my wife one Christmas season but she just couldn't justify the savings we would appreciate by using old newspapers instead. Maybe, we could deter our loved ones by giving gift wrapping paraphenalia as gifts? Imagine the look on their faces when they see that! "Oh, honey, cellphane tape! You shouldn't have."
"they rip to shreds the carefully selected wrapping paper while letting the red bow fall to the floor." Oh this is so funny!!! I LOVE YOUR HUMOR, and I am now looking forward to reading all your writings!! My gosh, as I read about how we search out and wrap gifts, I recalled stories my mother told me about her Christmas gifts to her family. She was born in 1910, and her parents had 10 children. She was 2nd in line, and the oldest daughter. She told me that her gift to one of her brothers was 'to mend all his shirts, and replace the missing buttons.' Now THERE'S a red bow of the heart! :^) Thank you for your delightful and humorous article, it brought a chuckle to my morning. Jacque