I wrapped your gift very poorly but I love you

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I think my gifts this year are thoughtful, well-considered, and appropriate, though my wrapping job belies the fact that I’ve never worked in a department store and apparently have not had much contact with adult scissors before.

It’s getting worse every year. I wish it was still cool to just use gift bags and tissue paper. People seemed to consider that lazy on my part, but would you rather have a festive bag with crinkly tissue paper that has tactile and audio appeal, or this gift that looks like I let my 1-year-old niece dress it?

Also, are we cool with Amazon gift cards by email moving forward? I know I tried that for a while and the experiment has become a bit of a joke. I just thought that maybe instead of me giving you the wrong gift, you returning it and finding out it was cheaper than you thought, then just giving up after shopping for a while with the $20 you got out of it, you might just like to click a button and have the perfect thing delivered directly to you.

Could we try it again if I send the e-card with a link to a very thoughtful option for spending it on? I’ll add enough to the card that you can click the “Gift wrap” this order option if it makes you feel better. I could even deliver them in advance so you could bring it to the party and unwrap it with everyone else.

I’d still make you a nice card, though I might leave a blank spot so you can customize the message. It’s not that I don’t care about you as a person or am entirely blind to the quirks of your personality that I might exploit for humor in a greeting card. I’m not a monster, I just know that I would appreciate the extensibility option if it were offered to me. No? That’s ok, I’ll make it personal. Although my penmanship is still at 3rd grade levels, and I think it may have declined. I can no longer replicate my signature between tries and it looks like a completely different 3rd grader signed for every purchase at the liquor store, the pharmacy, and the bank (those are the places I still have to actually sign with a pen on a piece of paper). Plausible deniability, I guess.

Speaking of cards, could we all agree that they’re a bit frivolous? I do not understand them. I love exchanging gifts, at least with thoughtful people, but the card? I believe them, and the social ceremony surrounding them, to have been the device of parents of old to make Christmas gift exchanges last longer.

Have you ever been surprised by something written inside a card? Probably not. You awkwardly laugh at the Hallmark kitty that doesn’t really ever make anyone feel better, then read the inscription and it says exactly what you think it will, every time. Then you have to make eye contact with the person who gave it to you and pretend it’s warmed your heart. Your cold, cold, heart. And yes, a card from someone I care about when I’m sick, or especially when I didn’t expect one at all, has the element of surprise and makes me emote. Like I said, I’m not a monster.

So you get these cards, and you ceremoniously read and express appreciation for whatever sentiment the giver is known to express. Then what? You have that card on the mantle until it’s no longer appropriate (say, the next day), and so many people seem to feel bad about throwing it away. I would like to take this opportunity to call for a cease-fire on the card guilt thing. You’re totally allowed to use that space in the closet that will be left open when you finally throw out that box of cardboard pieces bought at stores and hastily “personalized” by someone who doesn’t remember giving you the card at this point.

Also, I’m not saving the wrapping paper this year. I’m TEARING THAT STUFF UP LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW. This is SPARTAChristmas. I have no religious association with it, and I’m getting older, more cynical, and quite grumpy. But I’m spending the morning with three generations of my family and we’re going to have FUN. I can’t, of course, make that happen for anyone else (I’m as entertaining at parties as I am skilled with gift wrapping), although I believe I’m officially old enough now to override the standing order to carefully remove tape and save the dressings without getting in trouble. My dynamic siblings and the antics of their unpredictable spawn will fill the entertainment needs wonderfully.

I’m kinda maybe looking forward to tomorrow morning. Maybe I’ll be fun to be around this year, in a way I really haven’t since I was about 10. I’ll actually appreciate being with my family. Because Christmas.

Just keep in mind that I can only stay in a room with loud noises and multiple people for about 27 minutes before I have to go stand in the bathroom with the lights off and the fan on and pretend I’m floating in space. Yeah, you always wondered what was going on in there, didn’t you? It’s not as dirty as you might have thought.

Merry Christmas. Despite not being a follower of religions that celebrate Christmas, and despite having plenty of friends whose religions/heritage/community don’t either, I use that term because it makes me happy and I want to share that happy with you. Kwanza, if that’s a real thing, has so little relevance to me that wishing you a happy one would be a horrible, empty, pandering gesture. I want you to enjoy whatever you’re doing this time of year as much as I do (maybe more if you’re emotionally healthy and more mature). So Merry Christmas!