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A Wrap Song

It's definitely That Time of Year, for better or worse:
 

At the first sign of Solstice, I assembled all my stuff:

12 bows like pompoms
11 rolls of foil
10 spools of ribbon
9 bows that pop up
8 rolls of Kraft
7 sheets of stickers
6 books of art wrap
5 Hannukah rolls!
4 spools of silk cord
3 rolls of scotch tape
2 art tissue packs
and some sharp scissors with the long blades!

I used to do a fair number of artsy-craftsy things: crewel embroidery, paper-cutting, batik, sewing (including things like dice bags and SCA costumes), making maps and drawings for the RPGs I ran. Over the years, with increasing family and job responsibilities and the advent of the Intarwebs, these have devolved into two hobbies: LJ icons (very recent) and gift wrapping.

There are lots of correct ways for others to wrap holiday gifts, but there is only one correct way for chomiji to wrap gifts:

  1. Every gift in a given batch (such as "The Hanukkah presents for my sister's family that we gave out on Saturday night") must have a different wrapping paper. This is not as hard as it sounds because I have been doing it this way for decades, and saving ends of wrapping paper rolls for that long ... big gifts get wrapped from that year's new rolls, and little ones get decked out from tail-ends of previous years. However, it can be a problem at my sister-in-law's January blow-out (her husband, a minister, is too busy on Xmas day, so we celebrate with them later), which is often attended by 25 or more people, some of whom receive multiple presents.
  2. All gifts given at a Hanukkah event must have wrappings in white/silver and blue, with accents of purple and gold. Other colors are permissable only in small amounts.
  3. All gifts given at a Christmas even must have wrappings in red, green, and white/silver, with accents of gold (either metallic or flat). Other colors are permissable only in small amounts.
  4. People who are receiving presents at such events but who are not followers of the religion involved will have their gifts wrapped in the appropriate colors but with a neutral design: snowflakes or other nature themes, stripes, dots, etc.
  5. All gifts have some sort of ribbon or bow or tie on them, unless gift bags are used (see next).
  6. Gift bags are used only in extremis, as in the case of a really oddly shaped gift or when time is seriously running out.
  7. Gift tags are for utility purposes and are not part of the package decor. So they should be placed on the bottom of the package (or bag). They should be written neatly enough that the underage helpers who pull gifts from the massive group stack to deliver to the individual recipients (which is the custom on both sides of the family) have a snowball's chance in Hell of reading the names.
  8. At gift-giving events, nice boxes, large pieces of relatively unbattered paper, fancy bows, and fabric/wired ribbon should be scrounged, except when the mom-in-law expresses interest in a piece of paper, in which case she gets first pick.

This is How It Is Done.

My family attempts to distract me from gift wrap displays during the holidays ... they seem to think I have an addiction problem. They're so silly ... .

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( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
sanada
Dec. 12th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
>.>;; I guess you'd find my "newspaper and duct tape!" method to be appalling... but I do take sadistic glee in covering my sister's gifts with so much tape that she can't open them.
chomiji
Dec. 12th, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)

Ehhhh, no! See, I said, these are the rules for me. I don't expect anyone else to be this nutty!

You're lucky she doesn't bring an X-acto knife down to Xmas morning ... .

(And my family needs to stop hassling me about my wrapping paper habit, 'cause the flip side is that whenever they want to wrap stuff - and it does happen several times each year - they have everything they could possibly need right at their fingertips.)

sanada
Dec. 12th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
But I bet your presents look really great for the ten seconds before they get ripped to shreds~~

Oh, she gets back at me - she puts a tiny jewelry box inside several large cardboard boxes.

Hehehe, my mom is really obsessive about wrapping things, too... she has color schemes and coordinated ribbon and all sorts of craziness! She even does that curly ribbon trick with a knife (whenever I do it, I end up with flat ribbon and a bleeding hand...)
chomiji
Dec. 12th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)

Heh, it's lots longer than 10 seconds. We're of the "build the slavering anticipation" school of holiday celebration.

For Hanukkah at our place or my sister's (or formerly, my parents'), the gifts get stacked up on and around the coffee table in the living room at the start of the party, so that it resembles a shrine to the Goddess Excess. No one gets to open anything until after dinner (but before dessert), so they sit there, shining seductively, for at least an hour or two.

At the in-laws, there is a massive Xmas tree (often shedding needles freely by that point), and the stack of gifts below and around it is a frighteningly unstable site to behold, often obscuring the lowest branches of the tree. Again, the things sit there for hours while the assembled children make googly eyes at them.

So there's some incentive to make things look festive, yet keep them relatively sturdy (you won't find delicate little branches of fake holly on anyone's packages, for example).

sanada
Dec. 12th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)
Hehe, a shrine to the Goddess Excess... how appropriate!

We do the whole Christmas morning presents-under-the-tree thing, so we're lucky if the boxes get five seconds of bleary-eyed staring before the zombie-like destruction commences.
chomiji
Dec. 14th, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)

I have some pix of this year's Hanukkah Excess offering, but I have to straighten out whether the various parents whose kids are in the picture want me to protect the photos when I post them on Flickr. (In which case people would have to haev a Flickr account to see them ... which means I wouldn't be able to link them here.)

sanada
Dec. 14th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
Well, you could put them in a password-protected album somewhere?
chomiji
Dec. 14th, 2007 06:39 pm (UTC)

It doesn't look like Flickr allows this ... now I'm rather cross that I signed up for it (Pro version). It wasn't that much money, but other people have to have a Flickr account to see protected ones. One option is to create a dummy guest account and include that info when I e-mail people with the link info.

ipperne
Dec. 12th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
heh, if you used my moms gfttags, you would use them as decoration. she makes little santas and such in cross stitches (I think that's what they're called) and then insrt it in some pretty colorful paper... but other than that; gift tags are pretty ugly in general, so they should be hidden away.

...actually, my involountary post as giftwrapper in my family has marked me for life... No tape, many ´colors, different wrapping, cord in all sizes, shapes and colors... Wow, I'm almost as obsessed by wrapping as you are.
chomiji
Dec. 12th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)

Awww, they sound pretty! But if you read my reply to sanada (above), you'll see another reason why I don't go in for ornamental things to tie on the packages .... . And yes, sounds like you're almost as obsessed as I am!

smillaraaq
Dec. 13th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
Hee! What, no furoshiki? They're high up on my list of great ways to deal with hard-to-wrap items (and since they're reusable, it's like two gifts in one).

And your family are very silly. Presentation and wrapping are an art form, they need to go to Japan to see what serious obsessiveness overy packaging looks like... ;)
chomiji
Dec. 14th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)

I only just found out about furoshiki! I was doing a column on the history of giftwrap, and I knew that Japan had a great tradition of packing stuff to look pretty. So I did some searches and found this guide from Japan's Ministry of the Environment. It's so cool that I linked it into my article. The bottle wraps look especially useful.

smillaraaq
Dec. 15th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
They're easy enough to make if you can sew -- it's just a large hemmed square of cloth, after all; but if time or sewing skill is short, Ginza in Dupont Circle has some very nice chirimen ones in stock, and you can also find them fairly easily on Ebay. (I have a small collection of Sanrio furoshiki, believe it or not.) For variety you could also use novelty-print cotton bandanas or nice square silk scarves for larger presents, or pretty silk pocket squares for tiny ones!

I need to check through some archives, I've got a couple of saved scans and hard-copy tying instructions that may have a few bits different from the ones on that page...
chomiji
Dec. 17th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)

I love Ginza ... I used to work down the street from it, at the American Geophysical Union (20th & Florida). I went back down there almost a year ago to get some tabi socks for the get-up I wore at Katsucon. (Are you going to Katsucon?)

smillaraaq
Dec. 18th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
I've never been -- my first and last con, unless you count hitting Small Press Expo for comics one year, was a teeny tiny little Trek con back in Hawai'i in the dark ages. Worth visiting? Am I going to feel hopelessly crotchety and out of place surrounded by kids who aren't even old enough to drink?
chomiji
Dec. 19th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)

Well, I suppose you might! I thought they were mostly pretty young, but they were awfully sweet too. I actually ended up spending a bunch of time in the art gallery because it was being run by some SCA people we knew vaguely. I expect I will run into sanada there, but she is a very serious costumer and will be spending a lot of time on display ... .

chomiji
Dec. 18th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)

(Hey, long time no hear ... everything OK?)

smillaraaq
Dec. 19th, 2007 12:02 am (UTC)
Eh, mostly distracted and hibernating and winter-mopey, the usual. We need to suck you into Avatar so you can join in with Red on the new-viewer meta fun!

(Although speaking of tasty meta, did you see this older RFB post recently mentioned in comments on the kink-meme? FASCINATING stuff and that josses a lot of old fic and assumptions about summoning weapons...although it does make more sense now that Gojyo wasn't summoning his shakujou when tangling with Sanzo or Banri those first times, or for that matter that Goku wasn't using nyoibo in that same fight. I really need to dig through their archives and see what else I've missed...)
chomiji
Dec. 19th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)

Well, I guess I could ask the Mr.'s brother to get me some Avatar on DVD for our late Xmas. I mostly ask them for music CDs and such anyway.

Well, that meta certainly helps ... do you know the circumstances of the publication that RFB was highlighting? Was it a one-off holiday special or something? Certainly it explains why we never see any of those hundreds of youkai do it - not even ones that might be considered high-powered, like Chin Yisou in the flashbacks of his encounter with Gonou.

smillaraaq
Dec. 20th, 2007 04:12 am (UTC)
The first two seaons, and the beginning of the current, third season, are all out on individual DVDs, or complete season-box-sets for the first two; I'm trying to hold out for them to finish the show and get it all boxed up together. If you want to sample a little bit online before you burn a wishlist slot, there are plenty of clips on YouTube, and it's not hard to find downloadable episodes.

As for Petit Burial, it looks like that's a little side story from Reload, one of those random little let's-step-back-into-the-past vignettes like the Goku-in-snow chapter. Like you said, it really does make a lot of little plot points that she's never particularly called attention to all coalesce pretty nicely -- and as one of the commenters in that thread noted, the youkai who CAN summon are all in Kou's crew, so that must be significant. But oh, predictably enough, that just leaves me wibbling even more at the thought of Gojyo on his own; I'd just sort of assumed that at some point he'd become able to summon the weapon, and so all those early fight scenes without the shakujou he was just holding back, not wanting to make it obvious to folks who didn't recognize his hair color that he was part youkai, or not wanting to use deadly force unless he absolutely *had* to; now knowing that he didn't have any means of self-defense but his fists just makes it all that little bit sadder, somehow.
chomiji
Dec. 20th, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)

I've had enough people rec Avatar - my sister and her husband are watching it with their kids, for example - that it's probably worth doing site unseen.

Yeah, if I gave it any thought at all, I probably assumed that Banri or someone else in Banri's crew taught him how to do it - he wasn't old enough when Jien left, or soemthing, to have learned how. And that desperate look in his eyes when Banri first encounters him as a kid of 14 or so was compatible with that concept. But yeah, if he had been able to do that when he first encounters Sanzo, you could see him using the shakujo to try to disarm Sanzo.

(Somehow this has got me thinking again of Akira in SDK, who apparently has a scene in one of the volumes not yet translated into English in which everyone is telling their hard luck stories and he blandly tops them all with his tale of having grown up picking through the refuse of both homes and battlefields and being attacked by people and dogs ... the SDK guys are sort of anti-bishounen in that they're all gorgeous but almost all completely un-emo about the various horrible things that happened in their pasts.)

smillaraaq
Dec. 21st, 2007 07:20 am (UTC)
It's really a fun show; there's enough complexity and shades-of-grey stuff that, especially when you're watching on DVD without all the broadcast commercials, there are times when it can be pretty easy to forget that it's aimed at the 7-to-12 audience. (What gives it away are occasional anvilly bits when the script is hitting important plotpoints that they don't want to fly over the kids' heads, and the general discreetness about blood, onscreen deaths, and sexuality; if this were an actual anime aimed at an older audience, the body count in particular would probably be quite high. But for all that they downplay some things to keep the network censors happy, there's still enough subtext about the darker aspects of this world that's not blatantly shown there to keep older viewers interested.)

And yeah, I'd also figured the weapon-summoning probably hit somewhere between puberty and late teens -- and ouch, that makes the Burial chapter play a little differently in my head, too! On some level I'd always assumed that, even if he was going off passively, when Banri inevitably flaked and the youkai turned on him he could at least *try* to summon the shakujou, there'd be some tiny hope of escape and if nothing else at least he could go down fighting and take a few of the bastards with him. But without even that remote possibility, yeouch, he really was just walking off to his death there!

(And that SDK moment you mention is giving me flashbacks to the beginning of Yojimbo, the bit with the stray dog trotting around happily on a battlefield with a severed arm in its jaws...)
chomiji
Dec. 19th, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC)

(Oh, and if you finished tWoK, we could schmooze that ... you could blog it, or I could make an entry for it on mine.)

smillaraaq
Dec. 20th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
I wasn't doing a close enough reading and taking notes the way I'd want for a proper review, but I could certainly schmooze away from memory if you want to start schmoozing!

(Can't reread it just yet, my TBR pile doth overflow the shelves like crazy, not to mention the subset that's actually in progress right now; I've got some Angela Carter short stories and a fascinating Philip Deloria going in the reading room, a halfway-finished fluffy paranormal romance in the bedroom, which I need to hurry up and finish so I can drop it in the mail to rachelmanija, the first volume of Le Chevalier de Eon partway done in the manga stack in the front room, and I'm woefully tempted to put them all aside since today I just got the Joan Vinge series that was the inspiration for freeradical9's scorching SF-Saiyuki-AU...

(If only I were a little taller, and could find my missing lab coat, I swear I should cosplay as Tenpou...)
chomiji
Dec. 20th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)

Well, I guess I could do a little entry on it ... I think more people need to read it. I want to cite/quote Goth's discussion of the planet Uldune as an example of Schmitz' taking his female characters seriously. He was pretty amazing for someone writing during his time period.

(And for some reason I made icons for all 3 of the Minekura Saiyuki brainy glasses guys this week.)

smillaraaq
Dec. 21st, 2007 07:06 am (UTC)
The bit when Hulik freaks out about seeing a monster on board ship would be another good case, eh? I'd have to doublecheck to be sure but as I recall they take her accusation seriously and search the ship, and even when nothing turns up that first time there's no snark about female hysteria when she locks herself in her cabin anyway -- and of course her sighting is vindicated another chapter or two on. As I recall it wasn't handled any differently than Vezzarn's little freakout planetside afterwards -- they're both just having understandable reactions to stressful situations, and it's treated as basic human frailty, not anything linked to gender stereotyping.

(And a for the icons, well, they're smart, they're hot, they love books, and cute guys in cute glasses are particularly appealing eye candy? Reason enough for me! Funnily enough, though, I also have had eyewear on the brain -- I've been meaning to take these scans from Backgammon Remix and make a "THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING" icon ever since I got the book...)
freeradical9
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)
Ah! You are so organized!

I am a shameless last-minute shopper, and therefore usually wrap everything the night before a given holiday with whatever four paper designs come in a bargain wrapping paper set. Gift tags and bows may or may not make it onto presents in time. I fail utterly at presentation, and therefore am in envy your elegant system. ^_^
chomiji
Dec. 14th, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)

"Organized," she say ... that's only because you don't see me while I'm doing it: the scraps flying hither, thither, and yon, the mad dashes up the stairs for the gifts I left in the bedroom or the office, the saved boxes toppling out of the guestroom closet and slithering across the floor, the empty wrapping paper cores flung into the corner ... . I practically have to shovel out the guestroom (which doubles as my wrapping space) when I'm done!

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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