It’s in the giving of a gift to another.

For the Secret Santa exchange, I received what I believe to be a regift. The box was a little bit beat up, the packaging inside had clearly been opened before, there had clearly been an attempt to peel off the stickers. Now, it was a very nice crystal bowl, and I am sure I can use it. One always needs bowls. But when you think of me, do you think crystal bowl? If you don’t know me very well, but I am your school librarian, do you at least think, Hey, let me get her something book related? Because that is what I would think. But maybe that is just me. Regardless, the present that I gave went over like GANGBUSTERS. Left-handed mix CD for the win! And also the other thing that we will talk about after Christmas. (And also a Christmas mix CD, some Christmas cookies, and a Starbucks giftcard. And I still came in under the $20 limit. Oh, yes!)

Last year, I didn’t get any presents from my students. I had only been there about 5 weeks when Christmas came around, so none of the students knew who I was. This year, though, I got three presents! Those three students are now my favorite. Yes, I can be bought. I got a Starbucks giftcard, some homemade cookies, and a snowman candle holder. Do you want to know what Mike got? Well, the table in our front room is covered in the presents he received, and it would take too long to list them all. Let’s just say that they really really love him over there. I cannot say more without the bitterness overtaking me once again. (Actually, I am fine. I just wanted ONE present this year, so I am totally thrilled!)

Right now I am supposed to be wrapping presents. But I really hate wrapping presents. I really hate it a lot. I am not good at it, which leads me to hate it, which leads to me not being good at it. It’s a vicious cycle. Here’s a helpful list from me to you.

How to Be a Terrible Christmas Present Wrapper in Ten Easy Steps.

1. Don’t have any tape in the house. Loudly complain about this. Consider crying about how you are a failure at wrapping presents because you can’t even start wrapping presents.

2. Never buy any new paper. This will lead you to be ashamed at how you are still using Christmas paper from approximately five Christmases ago (this is not an exaggeration – we don’t give a lot of presents). Bonus: Older paper doesn’t actually look good anymore and is more brittle, leading to more tears/creases.

3. Lose the scissors. Using kitchen shears is fine. Who cares if it kind of tears the old, brittle paper. You probably can’t really cut straight anyway.

4. Loudly complain about everything that has happened so far with the scissors, tape, and old paper. People love it when you complain.

5. Don’t buy bows or ribbons. It’s hard to stack presents with bows or ribbons. Plus, a bow or ribbon isn’t going to make YOUR wrapping look any better.

6. Only keep old ugly giftbags that are all the wrong size for what you need.

7. Consider being too lazy/impatient to crease the paper properly. Poorly folded ends look especially classy.

8. Stack piles of books together and wrap them all at once. Misshapen piles wrap especially well. Sure, you could wrap each one individually and tie a nice bow around them all, but that’s not really how we roll around here.

9. Complain loudly about your poor wrapping skills. Hold up the presents to prove it. Hear people say things like, “Well, your mom will love you no matter what her present looks like.”

10. Keep tags as long as you keep paper. Or possibly longer! This way, you will find yourself in possession of tags that don’t really match anything anymore. Fudge it, hoping no one will notice a snowman tag on angel paper that reads “Peace Noel Joy.”

Bonus tip: Be sure to have Christmas somewhere other than your house. Then you can say things like, “It didn’t travel well,” or, “It looked better before the car ride.” I am sure it did look better when it was sitting with all the other poorly wrapped presents rather than in the midst of presents wrapped with care and love.

(I chose what’s inside with care and love. That’s going to have to be enough.)

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