On Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, I did something I’ve never done.
For almost 35 years, I’ve avoided it.
But this year, there was no escape. There was no time. I had run out of options. And the walls were closing in.
So I gave in. I had no choice.
That’s right, I … wrapped … presents.
Oh, the horror.
Normally, and for my entire life, I’ve set about having others take care of this yearly chore.
When I was younger, it was my mom. Years later, a dear family friend began wrapping them. And I’ve even enlisted my wife. But mostly, I’ve paid whatever charity at whatever mall that was willing to bail me out.
If you think about it, it’s really a testament to my ingenuity and creativity that I’ve annually found a way to avoid it.
But this year, my own laziness worked against me.
This past week, I was on vacation. I had already completed my Christmas shopping — entirely online — and I was waiting for the items to be shipped.
As they trickled in, I realized my time was running short, so I called my mom to have her wrap them or have her enlist that family friend, but, honestly, my heart wasn’t in it because then, I would have to take a shower, get dressed and drive those 45 minutes to Burlington.
Remember, I was on vacation. And that felt like so much work.
Just days away from Christmas, my only option was to have my wife do it all, but it seemed kind of slimy and the ultimate in husbandly laziness to have Megan wrap her own gifts.
So, in the interest of being a good spouse, I had my wife teach me the fine art of gift-wrapping. That’s right, I blame Megan for this disturbance in the force.
I told her my plans, and she seemed so happy that I was taking an interest and lightening her load. I’m a sucker for that smile.
So, on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, I watched her wrap a few as I sipped my coffee, and I picked up a couple of things. She eventually had me complete the corners on one gift as I’m very much a learn-by-doing kind of guy.
Soon enough, I was ready to go.
Unleashing me to the world, she had me wrap a gift she bought for her mom. I muddled through. And it didn’t look good. At all.
Megan was doing her best to encourage me, but that present looked like crap. I knew it. And I know she knew it.
But it’s what’s inside that counts? There’s a lesson in there somewhere.
And, I might point out, if a person complains about the wrapping, he or she probably doesn’t deserve the gift inside.
Think about that. Yeah, that’s right.
But anyway, the more I wrapped, the more I was gaining in confidence, and I found something weird was happening.
I was actually enjoying myself.
How could this be?!
Who’d have thought that after avoiding this for nearly 35 years I would’ve enjoyed it?
Certainly not me, but off I was. And before I knew it, I had wrapped six presents.
Back in high school, we were charged with covering our textbooks, and I used the brown paper bags we got at the local grocery store way back when the sackers asked if you wanted paper or plastic.
I remember enjoying that whole process, and I got pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.
So, perhaps that’s where this newfound enjoyment originates?
In any case, tonight, on Christmas Eve, Megan and I will make that trek to Burlington for a bite to eat with my parents, then church, then back to my parents’ house for a snack, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and unwrapping presents.
For about 5 seconds, my inability will be ridiculed — all in good fun — but that’ll give way to the enjoyment of the gift. Probably.
Because remember, it’s what’s inside that counts.
Especially if the wrapping job is crap.