There’s an ongoing joke at our house about folding laundry. Whenever my husband and I are gathered around our folding table, the kitchen island, working our way through the week’s worth of damage, he compliments me. “You’re just so much better at folding laundry than I am.”
It’s entirely true — I can fold laundry like nobody’s business. The fact he needs to point it out each time, I believe, comes from his deep desire for me to just complete the task on my own. So I chuckle and point out his stacks of T-shirts and jeans are just as wearable as what I produced. He shrugs and I suggest I can teach him my ways, an offer that goes ignored until we’re situated around a mound of laundry again.
When Christmastime rolls around, we have a similar conversation about wrapping presents. You guessed it, I’m just so much better at wrapping presents than him. And again it’s entirely true — I can wrap presents like nobody’s business.
As much as I try to stay on top of folding laundry, oftentimes wrapping presents is something that’s delayed well into the final days before Christmas. This year, with a new shopping strategy in place, I decided to stay on top of wrapping to avoid the dreaded wrapping fatigue that can easily overtake your Christmas Eve if you let it.
Much of my wrapping skill comes from watching the wrappers who came before, my grandmother and my mother, and learning their techniques. While the gift bag trend became popular, both women balked, instead choosing a variety of heavy-weight gift wraps with which to create the perfect presents.
I learned early on having an arsenal of supplies is important. My inventory of wrapping paper includes weddings, baby showers, birthdays of all types and my largest supply, Christmas paper. In addition to quality paper (the cheap stuff is just that, cheap and easily ripped) and boxes, a stock of satin finish gift wrap tape and the all-important wrapping paper cutter are musts.
While I can wrap a mean present, perfect corners and flawless seams, my shortcomings include ribbons, bows and gift tags. I just buy a giant bag of the stick-on variety and roll with it, while not sacrificing color coordination or style.
So I’m as particular with my gift wrapping as I am my laundry folding. Because I’ve never been able to enlist the help of my husband or kids, I was somewhat hesitant when my son offered his assistance this year. I was “so good at wrapping presents” he wanted to learn, he said.
I was suspicious — this kid was surely wanting an in for present snooping. But to my surprise, he really wanted to know how it was done and took a particular interest in running the wrapping paper cutter across the width of the roll and using lots of tape. After a few packages, he seemed to have the steps down, and it was honestly nice to have an assistant.
Later in the week, a package for his sister arrived and I figured I would leave the box and supplies for his first solo wrapping attempt to be completed after school. When I returned home from work the package was completed nearly to my standards, with just the minor rookie mistake of wrapping too loosely.
With another gift under the tree and ready for Christmas morning, I took a stab at engaging my son’s help with the art of folding laundry. That offer was met with a firm “no.” At least it’s nice to have a little help around the holidays.
Contact Abigail Pelzer