I have a feeling that our house is not that different from most in Australia and it's Mum (i.e. me) hiding in the office downstairs on Christmas eve with a pile of presents, sticky tape, scissors and a few rolls of tacky Christmas wrapping paper. I bought all the presents, I hid all the presents, and now I'm wrapping all the presents.
And it is totally unfair because my husband was once a professional gift wrapper. Really.
When the kids were old enough to start getting invited to birthday parties and needed help with wrapping presents they always came to me. And I asked, "Why me? Your Dad is a professional gift wrapper". And of course they looked at me as if I had lost my mind.
"Dad? A professional gift wrapper? Yeah right Mum. There's no such thing."
And yet, that is your father's secret past. When he was at university in Japan his summer job was wrapping Summer Gifts at a department store. He just went to work every day and wrapped hundreds of gifts. All summer holidays. This is how he wraps gifts. This is not him - it's a YouTube video I found that does it the same way.
I am not kidding you. I did the old "Go ask your Father" and sent the kids off to see how he wraps a gift.
They came back with beautifully wrapped gifts and a gob smacked look on their faces. Then they spent a few months telling all their friends and making him wrap up boxes in front of them as entertainment.
And yet... Christmas is approaching and I will no doubt be wrapping the Christmas gifts late at night by myself again.
His excuse? He's Japanese. He's not Christian. He doesn't understand Christmas. Isn't that Santa's job? I think he might have tried "That's the Mother's Job" but he's already learned that that is NEVER the correct response.
Every year I make an effort to be less wasteful and not use actual wrapping paper for Christmas gifts. Naturally you would assume I wrap all of my gifts in furoshiki, and I mostly do. But my mother in particular thinks Christmas gifts are not Christmas gifts unless they are in Christmas paper, so I usually do hers and the nieces and nephews in appropriately themed paper. I still have half a roll left over from last year, but I haven't purchased wrapping paper in years. It was my New Year's Resolution about 3 or 4 years ago and I have stuck to it. The half roll of paper I have was purchased that long ago and it's still going. I wonder if I make enough effort not to use paper, will I still have some left for Mum's present next year? Maybe if I only buy her small gifts. Earrings?
So all of our gifts throughout the year are given in either recycled wrapping paper we got from other people, or in furoshiki Japanese wrapping cloths that can be used over and over. My daughter Meg's friends even check our website and put in requests for which wrapping fabric they would like on their birthday.
For big presents in our family I sometimes wrap in sheets or pillow cases, then put the linen back in the cupboard when the unwrapping is done. Mum complains that you don't get that crinkly sound of unwrapping that you get with wrapping paper, but I've never seen the kids upset when they see that their present required a doona cover to wrap it.
Who does the wrapping at your house and what do you use to wrap gifts? Is the wrapping really that important? Or is it just what's inside that counts?