Time to choose the gift wrap

July 1, 2016


Days till ChristmasI realize we’re celebrating Independence Day, but as a good Southern woman, I have to get my act together and decide on a wrapping paper theme for this coming Christmas. Last year, I foolishly believed my husband when he offered to take care of wrapping the gifts, and as God is my witness, I ended up with a pile of presents wrapped in the newspaper, held together with a combination of masking and duct tapes and labeled with a big black Sharpie. I justa‘bout died.



The reason Christmas is so important to Southern ladies is because we feel greatly indebted to be born in a place where doors are literally opened for us, the tea is sweet, and now the latest show of love — azaleas are cultivated to bloom all year long. With this blatant favoritism showered upon us, we feel obligated to make our Savior’s birthday absolutely perfect, right down to the gift wrap.


Those who wait until the last minute to tend to details, know all too well the shame associated with mismatched gifts under the tree. You can have the most beautiful house in the neighborhood, and a Christmas tree that rivals the White House, but if the gifts below are wrapped in 10-year old birthday paper, you can forget about the Junior League cookbook savory appetizer sub-committee ever wanting to meet at your house again.


SWSL902301cobThe monogramed stockings must coordinate with the tree skirt, which must also coordinate with the Christmas morning pajamas, and if the gift wrap is out of whack, it throws the entire day off kilter. If that ever happened, it would leave my boys with bad memories they would certainly share with their future wives.

“She did what? Used fifteen -year old Barney the Dinosaur wrapping paper? What kind of backwoods Mama do you have?” one of them would say. It would break my boy’s hearts to know their wives didn’t respect me because of a gift wrap malfunction.


In 2002, I found several rolls of Lenox Holiday wrapping paper at the outlet mall to match my Christmas China and it was one of the most glorious Christmases in our family history. Photos from that year’s festivities were pretty enough to be featured in the “Our Christmas Memories” silver frame.


Cousin Rosie Belle from Robertsdale thinks I’ve lost my mind. She doesn’t give a flip what her wrapping paper looks like and long ago switched to using gift bags she finds on the seventy-five percent-off table in January. Christmas at her house is a free-for-all and once the gifts are unwrapped, there are shredded bits of paper and ribbons with Scooby Doo, shamrocks and Frosty the Snowman, littered all over the house.

During my duct-tape/Sharpie fiasco of last Christmas, my Pretty in Pearls Book Club was due to hold their holiday soiree’ at my house on December 18th. I was forced to toss the ugly duct-taped gifts on a blanket and pull them down the hallway to the guest room where I threw another blanket over the mess. “You certainly are waiting until the last minute to get your shopping done,” said Velma Rae as she suspiciously stared at the empty space beneath my tree. “You know me, I think blazing a streak through the stores the week before Christmas is the happiest part of the holiday.” I told her, thinking all the while how I was going seek revenge for my husband’s enormous lack of decorating compassion by leaving a lump of coal for him under the tree — beautifully wrapped, of course.

I’ve narrowed this year’s motif down to either glittery stars or angels, but I’m still toying with the idea of reindeer, although I’m afraid that would look too much like a deer hunting theme and that just won’t do.

So even though we’re in the hot days of summer, I’ve got an alert set for my phone to notify me when Hobby Lobby unveils the first drop of Christmas merchandise — which should be any minute now. And when I get the notice, I’ll be ready to “roll.”

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  1. Second best time of the year to think about Christmas is July so this is timely. Some may think your second paragraph was written tongue in cheek but I choose to believe otherwise–so true!

    I promised myself last Christmas that it was the last one of plopping gifts into bags with tissue paper crumpled artistically in the top. Even bought pretty paper after Christmas because I miss the sight of wrapped presents under the tree, corners turned in crisply, pretty ribbons and trims. But will I actually do it? Not if I wait until Christmas Eve to do it. I think my mama started me off wrong–she put all of my presents in a huge winter coat box from CainSloans, taped it shut and gave it to me to wrap for myself, same for my 3 sisters.

    I think your future daughters-in-law will only be worrying whether they can ever be as fabulous as you are!

    1. Ha! I love your Mom’s practical side. My Dad always walked into my room on Christmas Eve and handed me a bag with everyone else’s gifts and said, “Hey, could you wrap these for me?”

      Happy Christmas in July, and thanks for reading!

  2. Hahaha! Love this! I like lavishly coordinated Christmas gifts, too, but it probably has more to do with my deprived childhood than worrying about what anyone else thinks. Years ago I was utterly aghast when I first began seeing Martha pushing presents wrapped in brown paper tied up with string decorated with hand-drawn stars. That hit too close to home. Anyway she is not Southern — what does she know?

    I can’t believe that handsome husband of yours did that — surely you jest!? I could certainly believe it of the one I have, however, so that is why I don’t let him gift-wrap. Not even mine. Usually I have picked it out, bought it, and wrapped it. No surprise, but I have learned to live with it. I have had some distressing surprises actually. At least this way I get what I want!

    1. Oh yes, my hubs really did it. I was so mortified I didn’t take any photos, but the tape and sharpie labeling are completely true. Good for you for taking charge of the gift wrap!

  3. This was hilarious… and oh so true! We southern ladies have to plan ahead before everything good gets picked over and gone! I start planning and coordinating during the after Christmas sales! 🙂 …Lenox paper??? I’m jealous! Happy 4th to you and your family! ~Rhonda

    1. What a great planner you are. This year, I’m following your example and not leaving a thing to my husband! And yes, I’ve looked for the Lenox paper and have never been able to find it again.

  4. You are hilarious Leslie Anne, and yes, every year I perfectly coordinate gift wrap with the tree decorations so it all looks magazine perfect…until my sweet guy brings home a package of Costco gift wrapping supplies, including, shudder, the dreaded ribbon stick on bows! Sigh…

  5. I’ve only been coordinating my gift wrap the last two years. I had good intentions before that but never quite got there. I loved all the plaid I used last year so much, it may stick around another year. I even saved some of the used pieces to cover some of the books in the living room bookcase, that way everything will be coordinated.
    Happy Christmas in July to all my soul sisters who understand the need to start early!

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