I think my Christmas shopping is just about done now and I'm breathing easy as the stress of preparing for the holidays has become less heavy already. There just are not enough weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas to accomplish everything so having that chore out of the way is huge.
Not that I consider shopping for loved ones a chore - I really love it. But there're just so many of them to shop for now that it's becoming a bit harder. I remember the first Christmases when I was old enough to work summers and save some money. I loved actually having money to spend on gifts and I shopped carefully for the members of my family. Once I had all 7 or 8 gifts, I set to my favorite part of the job, which was wrapping. I even remember some of the paper I used in those first couple years when I carefully shopped for unique ones and bought enough of the same to wrap everything I had. Then I carefully chose some coordinating ribbon and started the fun part. I wrapped each gift and then found a unique way to accessorize each one. For some I'd make paper fans from the extra wrapping, or maybe fashion it into paper flowers. Everything was coordinated and each was special and different. I loved being a little artistic and designing the wrapping to be as much a part of the gift as what was inside the box.
I remember those years with longing because if I could I'd still be spending time doing special wrapping for every gift. But now that my list has grown to about forty there's just no way I have the time to spend on every one. I wrap as quickly as I can, rarely trimming the ends carefully the way I used to, and using rolls of wrap that I was able to find on sale the year before, not ones I chose for their unique look and the potential for special design aspects. There are no more paper flowers or fans but hopefully there'll be time to slap some pre-made bows on them before they're put under the tree. I'd really love to work at a gift store, just wrapping gifts for customers. I'd have all kinds of fancy ribbons and papers at my disposal and the time to spend on each one. That would be heaven!
I feel guilty every year because I can't spend the time I'd like to on fancy and beautiful wrapping jobs, but I think I'm the only one who cares.