No Gift Wrapping for YOU! A Post-Christmas Post

In the frenzy of the last few days before Christmas, some shoppers get a little edgy.
They seem to forget what gift giving is all about and get caught up in the frustrations of heavy traffic, crowded malls, and delayed shipments.
Unfortunately, those whose job it is to serve these shoppers often receive the brunt of their frustrations.
I don’t think they mean to be mean, they just forget that everyone shares the same  frustrations.  A little kindness would go a long way in making everyone’s days a little easier.
Some people came into the shop downright cranky, especially if they had arrived after “the sign” was put on the door indicating that we were taking no more gifts for wrapping that day.  The only way to bypass that sign was to have your name put on “the reserve list” by calling ahead or asking to be put on it the day before.
“But I have to drive all the way from Flint!” was one lament we heard.  
Really?  I wanted to ask.  That’s only ten minutes from here.  I have to drive all the way from my home, which is 35 minutes away!
“But I’ve been sick (or hurt)!”
Really?  Christmas comes on the same day every year.  Did it surprise you this year?  Didn’t you have 364 days to prepare for it?  By the way, we’re sorry you are sick.  Please don’t bring it into the shop.
“But it’s only three gifts and I don’t need them today.”
Really?  No problem, we’ll just add them to the 300 more we already have to wrap today (actually only 85 or so).  We don’t mind staying past midnight to get yours done!
“But it’s just clothes or little things.”
Really?  Those have to be placed into a box with tissue and ribbon and then wrapped.  Self-boxed items like toys or dishes are actually easier to wrap.
“But I’ve been coming here for years.”
Really?  You want us to bump you up the list?  Because most of our customers have been coming here for years.  You think you deserve special treatment?  All of our customers deserve special treatment!
Just to alter the words of Seinfeld’s soup Nazi a bit: “No gift wrapping for you!  NEXT!
Be kind to your local gift wrapper. . .
holidays Uncategorized

Comfy Sunday: A Boxin’ and a Wrappin’

Wow.  My last blog post was before Thanksgiving!  And now we’re on the home stretch to Christmas!  How did that happen so fast?  I finally have a few minutes to sit down and write so here goes. . .

Friday after Thanksgiving was a good time to go to First Monday Trades Day in Canton, while the rest of the world filled the malls in that black Friday frenzy.  No thanks.  I prefer open air shopping when the weather is perfect, there are plenty of vendors, and fewer shoppers than usual.  I stocked up on supplies for Christmas crafts.

Saturday after Thanksgiving I participated in a book fair with my friend and antique mall owner Melissa Walker, who has also written a book, a horror story titled “A Sense of Depravity.”  It’s available on Amazon and

We didn’t actually sell a lot, but we enjoyed the time together and opportunity to meet local authors.

Then, BAM!  I started working full-time at Festival of Flags and Gift Wrapping in Tyler, wrapping packages for customers who bring their gifts to us.  At this time of year I like to call it Gift Wrapping Festival and Flags.  Cindi Hebert, the owner, does sell lots of decorative flags in addition to gift wrapping.

During the year we may wrap 20 to 30 gifts a day on a busy day, but at Christmas time, we wrap 60, 80, or even over 100 gifts, requiring Cindi to hire a couple of helpers, whom she refers to as her elves.  Tuesday was a particularly busy day, and the building is tiny.  This is what the floor looked like when we left for the evening.

Aren’t they pretty?  No matter how many orders we get, they all leave the store just as beautiful as the first ones we wrap.  I’m sure I will be sharing more about this unique business I am fortunate to work for.
Stay tuned!



Meaningless Drivel Monday: Hula Hoops and Gift Wrap

What do hula hoops and gift wrap have in common?  Nothing.
Or so I thought.

Enter a sweet older man hauling a purple hula hoop and a professional jump rope into the flag and gift-wrapping shop where I work one day a week.  It’s called “Festival of Flags and Gift Wrapping,” although during the Christmas season I wanted to change it to “Flags and Festival of Gift Wrapping.”  We (the four women who work during Christmas) wrapped gifts until our fingers bled from wrapping paper cuts, our carpals reached the end of their respective tunnels, and we began seeing only red and green, unable to tell our swollen legs and ankles from the tall rolls of paper and piles of gifts to be wrapped.   
But I digress.  
(That’s a whole ‘nother story anyway.)

This sweet man told me it was his wife’s birthday and he needed the two gifts wrapped separately.  But that was after he walked in, held up the purple hula hoop and said, “Can you wrap this?”

I hesitated.  
On non-Christmas season days our shop is a one-woman show.
Had I ever wrapped a hula hoop before?  No.
Did we have a box to fit a hula hoop?  No.
Did we have paper large enough to go around a hula hoop?  No.
But. . .
Could it be done?
Just like the little engine that could, I told myself, I think I can.  I think I can.

Bravely I replied, “Why yes, I think we can!  We don’t have a box, though.”  I proceeded to describe all the ways I thought it could be done.

“Whatever you can do, as long as it is wrapped,” he agreed, leaving the shop with a trusting smile on his face.  How could I refuse?

I called my boss, the shop owner, and explained my predicament and my thoughts.  She gave me a much-needed boost of confidence and so I spread paper, the hula hoop, and myself all over the floor of the shop and showed that hula hoop who was boss that day.

This is the result.  What do you think?
My boss said I did good.
To the next customer who wants to bring in something odd needing wrapping, 
I say, “Bring it!”