Thursday, December 20, 2018

Wrapping up the Holiday Season

I sent out my husband out to the store to pick up something I forgot to get at the grocers since I'm working from home today and he's off.

I was told not to go into the basement while he was gone as he was still wrapping something.  I asked if he was having trouble with it and he said 

"The tail keeps getting in the way".

I just laughed and sent him on his way, with a list, as without it there's no telling what he will come home with.

Once, instead of getting me roses for one snowy Valentines day, as I said I don't really like them as they just die, he came home with some rolls of duct tape and disappeared in the basement. He made a dozen duct tape roses.

Being married to an engineer I have learned to never expect the expected and I've also learned, after spending some of my formative years with a widowed Dad and only men in the house, that men look at shopping and gifts a bit differently than my female friends.

Men don't buy the Cap Snaffler, anything by Popeil or the simple. Men are drawn not by "easy", and "quick to use" but terms like "industrial strength", "tested in non nuclear warfare" and "will withstand 4,000 foot-pounds of foot pressure!" because men contain some DNA within them that strives to be the best at every profession there is. A man isn't just a man, with the right equipment he's a fireman, paid assassin, grill chef, engineer, nuclear physicist, cowboy.

He doesn't make fun of you because you have a half dozen different lipsticks or lip glosses, and Abby has twelve almost identical stuffies so we don't say anything when he comes home with four almost identical pipe wrenches. One of them of course always has that special use that can't be done by the other three.
I've simply learned, especially during the holidays, that a man's idea of shopping is not the same as a woman's.

I admit it. I shop like a guy. I plan what I need to get, look at some reviews to see which is the best product and pick it. Then I walk into the store in a manner in which General Clausewitz would be proud, cleverly avoiding people trying to spray me with cologne so I don't end up in sporting goods smelling like a brothel. I see what I need, I grab it,  I pay for it, usually cash, and I quickly leave the scene of the crime.

So when you just surprise your mate with "honey would you go to the store and get eggs and milk" and he's sent into battle with no time for preparation, bombarded by countless displays that make no ergonomic sense and people shoving food and products at him with "want to try the new Kiwi Persimmon Pop Tart, now with antioxidants", he just wants to escape and as quickly as possible. Which is why he  is sent out for milk and eggs andsometimes comes home with a case of beer, a bottle of olives and a birch tree for the side yard.

Hardware stores are different. Send him to one of those for just one small item and he'll come home with a vehicle packed tighter than the Clampett's truck on Beverly Hillbillies.
And since it's Christmas - Men and gift wrap.

Most men do not like to wrap gifts. I think it was Dave Barry that said the first gifts given were the gifts to Baby Jesus. "Hence the term "wise men". Men don't understand the point in putting the carefully coordinated paper with oodles of expensive ribbon on a package just to rip it off. (lingerie though is a whole 'nother idea).

Give a woman a 15-inch scrap of decorative paper and she can gift wrap a helicopter in less than 10 minutes. I don't know about the men in your family, but Dad and my brother would carefully lay out the present, cut a swath of paper the size of Nebraska, and when they were done, there would be a gap in the back where you could see what the gift was. I realized in my anthropology courses, that the Pharaohs had to be wrapped after death by women.  Someone once said that otherwise the back of the mummy would be held together by a big piece of Scotch Tape.

So my Dad and brother would often give me a present in a Safeway grocery sack, stapled carefully shut so I couldn't peek. With a bow on it that they'd happily press on it to dress it up for me. This lasted until Dad bought the mother of all Christmas wrapping paper, a roll that was at least 2 feet thick. He still has it. You knew immediately which gifts were from Dad and my brother. Forty years later, the roll's diameter is only about 5 inches less.

But if you want someone to have some FUN with a gift in my family it's from the men. From childhood on I've had boxes that rattled that shouldn't have, been too large for the contents, as well as those with mysterious air holes bored in the side. The gifts often turned out to be something extraordinarily fun but not what we thought it was.

Mom - What's with the big lawn and leaf bag in the living room?

Dad - It's a gift. It's Christmas, remember!  Can't you tell? See there's a BOW!  Mom: (pulling it open and speaking in that tone that only women receiving appliances as gifts can actually utter with a straight face) It's a shop vac . . . .

Dad - But it has a six horsepower motor! And it comes with several small attachments!

Mom (laughing) - Is one of them a divorce attorney?

Dad - Oh, look there underneath (looks like a jewelry box)

Mom - It's those diamond earrings I admired!! (squeal, kiss, kiss)
Mom - when is Santa Paws going to get here?

So this Christmas, though I won't giggle at the funny wrapped packages, and one that I bet squeaks, There will likely be a decoy rattle in one of the presents as well, my husband keeping up the family traditions.
I'll simply be very thankful - that my Dad still has the roll of paper in the closet, that I have a husband kind enough to run to the store as I forget to get tortillas to make Migas for the day after Christmas breakfast and that I am loved by both two and four-legged family members.   I am also quite thankful that we both are fortunate enough to be able to provide these small things - items that don't make the holiday but certainly make the holiday special.

Happy Holidays everyone!


  1. Momma says her momma is the BEST creative wrapper. They'll get a box of rocks or a six-pack of cokes or something to disguise the weight and sound.

  2. this was the most interesting and fun post ever! I think some of it depends on the husband can't wrap but he makes sure that someone at the store WILL wrap for him (if it is a gift for me).........he listens when he hears me say I like something or am interested in something and often it turns up down the road as a gift. We are both blessed with good men!

  3. Yup! Sounds about right. My in-laws had wrapping paper that was years old. Except instead of a gigantic roll of it, they carefully unwrapped each present, then folded the paper up to be reused next year. They also used the same candy canes year after year to decorate the tree, and tinsel that probably contained lead. Happy holidays!

  4. Great story!!! But we are all still wondering about the present with the tail???

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  5. This is my first visit to your blog, and I had so much fun reading it.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Linda and we hope you'll visit again, there is a really super nice group of folks that are part of this Blogville group.

  6. Your wrapping stories made me smile. It sounds like all of us women are related judging by the men in our lives and their ability to wrap a present. Enjoy your holiday; may it be the merriest ever.


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