Friday, August 06, 2004

Presentation of presents

When wrapping gifts, the real adepts use no tape to hold the paper. The paper has knife-edge creases. The ribbon may even be real sateen or grosgrain. A step below that in skill involves judicious use of a minimal amount of tape, along with a hand-tied bow of some sort or other, perhaps using curling ribbon, the ridged sort, along which the blade of a pair of scissors may be drawn to cause the formation of spirals. A tidy touch is to cut dovetails in the ends of the ribbons so that, in the absence of a selvage, there's no unraveling. Then there are pre-tied "bows," slapped on with tape, with or without additional ribbon on the package. And now we're within sight of the end of wrapping paper, it appears. Coming into nearly universal use are those ornamental colored shopping-bags. The giver dumps the present into the sack and then stuffs some colored tissue paper on top, and that's that. The recipient lifts out the paper and, unceremoniously, the present is revealed at once. There's no long drawn-out suspense, no debate between those who save ribbon and paper for contemplated future use. Giant rolls of wrapping paper, needed for larger presents, will probably survive. The subject-headings on this gift-wrap market report are tantalizing, but the report itself isn't free. I'd rather receive a present wrapped in layers of newspaper and tied with kitchen string, one that can be unwrapped slowly, than one dumped into the most fancy sack-and-tissue kit. The complimentary goodie bag has made its way from commercial and commercialized fund-raising events into the home, and something important is vanishing, and quite rapidly.


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