Item #22: Wrapping Paper


I wouldn’t normally count a consumable item like this as an object, but I have had this one for at least 15 years, so like my old highlighter pen, this item has become an object. This roll of wrapping paper was originally purchased in the early ‘naughts, for the purpose of wrapping a very large gift for my sister. Her boyfriend had purchased a piano for her for Christmas, and was storing it at my house in order to surprise her on Christmas morning. The box was enormous (as a piano box would be) and so we bought a likewise enormous roll of paper at Costco. The piano was duly wrapped, and the paper put away for that year.

The scheme was a success. The large red-and-green wrapped box sat beside the tree, labeled for me so as to further divert suspicion. During the gift opening, the name tag was swapped. When it came time to open it, it was a surprise to her that it was for her, and then a super surprise to get to open such a large present. (The scheme was repeated for a similarly large gift – a television – the following year, but with less successful surprise.)

In addition to being part of the scheming, I was the guardian and beneficiary of the leftover wrapping paper. In subsequent years, it has wrapped several presents each year (one year, all presents had the same wrapping), and is still going strong; surprising, as it’s not especially fancy or even strong paper, but what it lacks in quality it makes up for in quantity and longevity. It has made its way to trees and families throughout the world, decorated gifts for humans, dogs and cats, and become a part of my annual Christmas wrap for nearly 20 years. I’m now considering that I will need to start rationing the remaining wrap, in order to have it last as long as possible. Perhaps just for the smaller gifts? For local people? Would it be gauche to ask for it back after someone has opened their gift? Maybe just surreptitiously recover it from the bin before it disappears all together.

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