I hate Gift Bags. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting gifts. I just hate when they come in bags. Why? Because I (and everyone else, it seems) feel compelled to save those stupid bags that I’m never going to use again.
Here is a sample of the gift bags that are stuffed in the back of my closet, taking up space, never to be used again:
This is approximately 1/100 of the gift bags that I have received throughout my lifetime. And most of those were given to me during the time that I was pregnant with Josh. Nearly every gift I received came in a Gift Bag, and my lovely helpers saved every. Single. One of them. And about five years later, I finally threw all those baby bags away. Ok, I thought I threw them all away. Turns out I didn’t. There were still a bunch lurking in there. And this is only a small portion of the gift bags in my house. There are a whole bunch more downstairs with all my gift-wrapping supplies. They’re trying to take over my house.
Maybe it’s because I’m a wrapper. I come from a long line of wrappers. My mom is a wicked gift-wrapper, as are several aunts and cousins. Even my brothers can wrap gifts (one better than the other… the “other” will do it when a gun is held to him, otherwise, he gets his wife to do it… and she’s a wicked wrapper, too)
When I was a kid, I remember going to family Christmas parties, and just looking at all the beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree. No two looked alike. The bows were all homemade. There were decorations of lace, pine cones, flowers, anything you could imagine on those gifts. Often, even the gift tag was a little gift – like a Shrinky Dink (remember those?) ornament with your name emblazoned on the chest of a puppy or something. Sometimes a gift didn’t even look like a gift. I remember seeing an entire train under the tree once – my mom and dad had taken boxes of fruit and turned them into an engine, cars and a caboose. How clever is that?
Now, though, wrapping is a lost art. It has been replaced by the infernal gift bag with a little tissue to “make it look special”, but often, the gift is just shoved in there, not wrapped at all! What’s the point of that???
I’ve always enjoyed opening presents. The mystery! The shredding! The appreciation of ‘all that work’, but knowing that the work was disposable – that the wrapper took just as much pleasure in watching you shred her work as you are taking in doing the shredding. And no, I’m not kidding. I’ve spent time wrapping and decorating presents. Folding the edges so they’re just so. Adding the little doo-dads. Matching ribbon to paper, and creating ornate bows. I’ve told people who are trying to preserve the paper for use another day… “Just RIP IT!!!” Why? BECAUSE I DON’T WANT THE PAPER BACK!!!
Which leads me to my second gift-related pet peeve: saving wrapping paper. Why do people do this? Do they really think that the next gift-receiver isn’t going to notice that their gift is wrapped in wrinkled, torn, previously used paper? That’s almost worse than getting an unwrapped gift that’s been plopped in an old Hannah Montana gift bag! And it makes you wonder what’s really in there? If they can’t afford gift-wrap, what kind of cheesy, second-hand, used-up item lurks beneath? Probably that White Elephant that’s been sitting in a box on a shelf collecting dust for ten years.
Please. Take mercy on your recipients. Spend a few extra minutes wrapping the gift. Make a bow (don’t know how? I’ll show you. It’s tremendously easy, and looks SO MUCH BETTER than those stupid pre-fab, pre-sticky ones). Let your receiver know that you care enough to take the time to wrap the gift, and that you care enough to let her enjoy the opening. Because taking a gift out of a gift bag is about as much fun as taking flour out of a Wal-mart bag. It isn’t.