Jem Beedoo: The ordeal of Christmas presents

The political ramifications of buying the wrong gift can be monstrous. Photo / Thinkstock
The political ramifications of buying the wrong gift can be monstrous. Photo / Thinkstock

A present may be present in the movement of the moment but it entails a lot of future and a heap of past. There's the thought that counts, the wrapping paper, the finding a park, the shop assistant with a comment from Lorde knows where, the people, the lewd card with the congenial personal message, the Christmas tree, the politics, the implications, the where-will-I-put-it aspect for the recipient, the snide comments from side family during the opening, the smiling, the thanking, the consequent neat little pile of gifts on the bed, the will-I-use-this worry, the pleasure.

Some of us sub-bourbon hillbillies struggle like Billy Goats to wrap a present up at all, much less in a pleasingly rectilinear way.

The initial scissors part is all right - provided the devils aren't too blunt - when you sever the paper in one roaring, 747-like motion. That'll make you feel good. Stage two: the more intricate cutting is never easy especially if you struggle with tying shoelaces and rendering legible handwriting, as some of us just quietly tend to do.

You worry that you'll not cut enough and have to start over. You worry you'll hack jaggedly at your mother's best paper. You worry.

Stage three with the positioning of the item and enfolding it in the paper indicates where you lie on the Flash-Sloppy continuum. Stage four: somehow fasten the dreaded sticky tape in a neat, savoury and strong way while you hold the thing in place. This bit would be easy if you were a cosmic centipede with limbs for India, but alas, you're not.

Stage five means writing on the card, which is a case of forced emotions, which is not nice unless you don't mind taking half an hour for the emotions to be unforced. Stage six is where you put the present under the tree while trying not to lose your eye from pine needles.

And the political ramifications can be monstrous. You have to buy something that someone might like. Who knows that? If I knew what people liked I would never have asked her out in the first place. You have to get feedback from another as to what his or her sweetie would be into. This can make you look slack, unimaginative and unthoughtful.

One must spend quite a bit of dough, but not too much. To do so would mean the recipient of the gift would think they owe you something in the long run or think you're greasing them up before you ask for some awkward favour. If you don't spend enough, you come away looking like a Cheap Dime Store Hood.

Then there's the added dilemma of getting your choices muddled and having Mischa demand the present you got for Darcio. You can't win.

- NZ Herald

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