Just wound up year 11 of running our charity gift wrap fund raiser for work. When I was 15 my first job was as a gift wrapper at a Lord and Taylor in NY and here I am, 40 years later, still gift wrapping as part of my job.
Wrapping about a thousand gifts each season, you can imagine there are stories. Trends in gifts and habits of customers. On Christmas Eve 90% of them are guys. A diamond ring or two, tea pots and giant stuffed animals. My favourite gift to wrap? Triagular Toblerone boxes. Largest? A pair of five foot tall wooden giraffes.
This year two tied for strangest gift. A customer wanted five fancily wrapped empty boxes to put under the tree in advance so the others in his house would think he bought them really good gifts and reciprocate accordingly.
The other one? I saw my daughter check in two crystal glasses. A few seconds later I heard a crash and the tinkle of broken glass. Then I saw her wrapping the mess in a box. "Did you break that?" I asked. "Yup." Then I heard the customers cracking up. They had asked her to break them, a set up for a christmas prank.
One guy brought in five thongs, as in underwear not the flippy floppy kind, one leopard print and the rest some combination of lacy red and black. It was all I could do to keep from asking "Is that a gift for her or for you?."
It's all over now. We depend upon dozens of volunteers to get the job done, all kinds of people at the busiest time of year, generously donating their time. Coming from ten different countries, the youngest was 13, the eldest 80, several had special needs and three were recruited at knit night. A big thank you to all of them.
At home this year, out of necessity, we simplified our Christmas. The ceramic tree and our nativity is all we need and it might just become our new tradition. Surprisingly there wasn't a word of protest from anyone, including the decision to scale back gifts. Nobody felt like they missed a thing.
As for gift wrapping, you know how they say the shoemaker's kids have the worst footware? Don't look too carefully at the wrapping. By the time we get home on Christmas Eve night, we're too tired to do much in the wrapping department.