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Wrapping Presents with "Help"

by Catherine Sadler, Ramah, CO, USA


After I get all my shopping done, I pick a day when I have plenty of time and energy to start wrapping. It is a big job for me choosing the right size boxes and just the right wrapping paper for the person and then comes the tags and ribbons.

First comes the setup. I have a folding cardboard cutting board I lay out on the bed. Then I place the large containers of tags, ribbons and papers at one end. I look for the tape and scissors and a pen that actually writes. Then I look for the presents all over the house wherever I hid them (I usually end up losing a present and have to buy a substitute and then find the original after Christmas!) :-7

It is a bit of a job laying the cutting board flat. When it is unfolded it makes tunnels before it is stretched out. Sometimes the tunnels have an occupant or two! After I finally succeed in flattening all the tunnels, the cat perch at the end of the bed has a couple of excited, quivering occupants and the third one is at my feet ready to catch anything dangling.

Boxes Must be investigated by cats. I think it is an unwritten law somewhere. It doesn't matter if the box is large or small. No matter what the shape is, boxes come in only 3 sizes: body-sized, head-sized and paw-sized! As each box is emptied 2 or 3 times, and most of the cat hair removed, in goes the tissue paper.

There is something about the rattle of paper that is extremely exciting to a cat. It must be investigated. And tested for ripping capability. All my tissue paper rips very nicely. It must be good quality as it is approved by 3 paper inspectors!

Then the present goes in the box and gets taped. Now it is time to choose the wrapping paper. The paper inspectors are over-joyed. One investigates under the sheet next to the roll and another tests it for laying down quality while the third tests for ripping quality on the dangling edge! The paper is finally approved after Mom goes hoarse with pleading.

Once the rips are taped and the box wrapped, it is time for the ribbons and bows. Mom is a bit wild-eyed by now and wondering if she has enough tape. She tries to unreel the ribbon as it goes around the box. But cutting the ribbon while holding onto the reel and the scissors and the two ends of the ribbon doesn't work. One end slips through her fingers to coil up and be caught by claws. So very helpful.

Tape secures the shredded end and a large bow covers it. The tag is labeled and placed on the box. There, one down and how many to go? The present is placed on the far end of the cutting board where Mom can keep an eye on it. Then she bravely goes through the whole thing again. But it is harder with each present since she must also keep an eye out for the wrapped presents.

Some of the bows and paper are the glittery laser stuff. The wrapping work makes the bed quiver a bit which makes the laser glitter and the bows wiggle a bit. Absolutely irresistable to a cat inspector. By the time the last present is finished Mom is a total wreck with no voice left and the later presents are not wrapped as well as the first. (Mom ran out of tape.) But the cats are secure in the knowledge they have done a good job of inspecting. They retire to the uncovered bed with bliss.

CATherine is wild-eyed and exhausted and glad this only comes once a year

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