I am an unabashed aficionado of all things "holiday" but if truth be told Christmas tends to intimidate me just a bit. My dual personality of an organized messy and procrastinating perfectionist usually leaves me feeling as if I've just missed the mark somehow in my decorations, gift selection, and cookie baking, blah, blah, blah.
I found myself repeating, when asked how I was, the last few weeks "I'll tell you on the 26th!" What a bah-humbug attitude.
But a beautifully wrapped, surprise gift from a friend helped turn that around.
I love getting gifts. And if I had my druthers I would keep them all in my own special room — unopened — forever. I love the anticipation of not knowing what's inside. I love the bows and the paper, the sparkly bags and tissue paper.
I "won" my favorite job in high school because I could wrap. I worked at Tulips which was this exquisite gift shop in Miami. They advertised for a part-time position and if I remember correctly the job description specifically mentioned wrapping skills as a "must."
There was a very short interview with the owner MaryLou then the real test began. I was asked to wrap something, now I can't even remember what, but she watched over me as I made sure the corners were matched up and the paper creased cleanly. At Tulips gift-wrapping was always finished with "real" cloth ribbon. So my bow tying skills came into play as well.
I loved that job and was more than happy to work all hours needed before Christmas, especially Christmas Eve. We would have a steady stream of husbands and boyfriends coming through for help locating that special gift for their wives or girlfriends. MaryLou kept a gift suggestion log and even if something hadn't been specifically mentioned she kept a close eye on her regular customers, watching for items they returned to on each visit. Those observations were carefully logged and shared with the grateful gift buyer.
"I heard you all wrap," was always the statement/question made as the purchase was being rung up.
"Of course!" was always our quick reply. "Give us a few minutes and we'll have you all set."
I used the excuse of having twins at 30 for ushering in an era of gifts sacks and white tissue paper. But like the baby weight I'll have to either lose or find another name for when they turn 18 in August, it was time for me to pay attention to our gift presentation.
Found was the bag of "real ribbon" I had been saving for some "perfect" gift. Found was the wrapping paper I've been buying and hiding in my office closet. Found was the stockpile of boxes and gift tags and tape. Most importantly I found a little of the holiday happiness I had placed aside amidst the business of everyday life … all because of one beautifully wrapped gift.
Page 2 of 2 - Lori Marble writes a weekly column for the Daily News.