As a child, I remember sitting down with bated breath to watch the world’s fastest wrapper on ‘Record Breakers’, the BBC programme which featured various record attempts and was presented by the late, great Roy Castle & Bucks Fizz’s Cheryl Baker. To my enormous disappointment, ‘wrapper’ turned out to be ‘rapper’ – not someone attempting to wrap presents at great speed but the urban music genre.
That was my introduction to rap music & I don’t think I’ve ever recovered from the sense of deflation that accompanied it. I’ve nothing against rap music; rather, I just love wrapping. I love everything about it, from the sensory (the paper, the ribbons, the assorted other bits that do nothing except make it look pretty) to the emotional (the excitement at possible contents; the surprise of an unexpected gift; the pleasure of a well-chosen gift, wrapped with love).
The gift in the photo made me think of brightly coloured iced buns, or surreal technicolour dim sum. So tantalizing! So cheerful! And a poignant expression of my hopes & aims for a life of my own.
When I started out, I wrote ‘Be more creative’ in my journal. I didn’t really know how I was going to be more creative, but wrapping – relatively cheap, relatively simple & something I had always loved doing – seemed a good place to start. And it’s working. I now have quite a collection of random bits of paper & ribbon & other goodies, ready to cover up whatever gift comes along. My skills at cutting haven’t improved much, but my imagination & resourcefulness have come on leaps & bounds!
Wrapping has also become a poignant task emotionally. The more I have realized how important my family & friends are to me, the more I have also realized how poor I am at expressing that to them. Life, work, paying bills, watching TV – from the profane to the profound, so much gets in the way of expressing love to people. I would like to be better at expressing my feelings to those I love, but until then wrapping will be a substitute for words. The transience of wrapping does not, I hope, diminish this sentiment; like a message written in sand, I hope it lives on after its physicality has passed. My efforts at lovely wrapping are trying to say ‘I love you’. With a jaunty ribbon on top.