Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gift bags . . .

Gift bags are more ubiquitous than wrapping paper, and for good reason, all you have to do with a gift sack is insert the gift(s) and maybe some tissue paper, whereas wrapping paper requires a flat surface, scissors, tape, and a bit of patience, time, and pride in your work to get the gift bundled neatly up. (I, for one, prefer that the edges of the paper are folded under for a crisper look.)

So, for the giver, gift bags are convenient, time-saving, and satisfying. But for the receiver, it's not always such a positive experience, and it's often even embarrassing. Here's why: when someone receives a gift in a gift bag, that person can't be sure if the one gift she's removed from the sack is the only gift or if there are more hidden in the caves and crevices created by the tissue paper. Even when the tissue paper is removed, sometimes the bottom flap of the gift sack looks like an envelope, and if the receiver tries to remove it, it provides an awkward moment for both giver and receiver. Wrapping paper, on the other hand, is straight forward. When the paper is removed, the present is sitting there for all to see.

My advice when using gift sacks is two-fold:

1. If you are the giver of the gift(s) in the gift sack, don't require that the sack is opened in your presence. In other words, drop the gift off. But don't watch the receiver open the gift. This way, the receiver can rummage through the empty sack without experiencing humiliation.

2. If you are the receiver of the gift(s) in a gift sack and the giver is watching you open the gift, flip the sack on the side and slide out all of the contents, tissue and all. Then, proceed to unwrap the insides much like you would open a wrapping paper gift.

And if you don't want to worry about the above methodology, just relax. It's okay if you look a little greedy because you're digging through a present-less sack. It's okay if you didn't buy your friend five little side gifts to go along with the one main gift. It's all okay. Really.


Betty Edit said...

I never feel any shame removing the full contents of a gift sack in order to see if that's all. How else are you supposed to know?

I find gift sacks annoying for other reasons:

1. They often have a ribbon tied in a knot at the top, which is not very fun to try to undo unless you happen to be carrying a pocketknife.

2. You don't get the lovely sensation of tearing off the paper to find out what's inside--it's like it's not even wrapped!

3. Although environmentally friendly, gift bags are often reused, and this make them feel, to me, less personal than the wrapping paper and ribbon chosen specifically for me.

"Hey, I had this gift bag, and it said, 'BABY' on it, so I thought it might work for this bath stuff because, um, then when you use the bath stuff your skin will be like a baby... uh... yeah."


Olive Kite said...

Maybe I will invent reusable (and washable) wrapping paper.



Betty Edit said...

Actually, Mother Edit has been known to save wrapping paper if it's worth saving. You can open it so you can re-use it. Maybe some sort of plastic wrapping paper...

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

And then there is re-gifting and re-gifting of the gift bag. We got a wedding gift from a relative and in the bottom was the original card from a different relative to the relative we were getting the gift from. We felt like writing two think you's to the original giver but then, being what I was, I didn't write thank you's at all.

Olive Kite said...

Lynne, that was funny! Of course, I would expect nothing less from you.

I am giving a gift in a gift sack today. I was going to wrap it. I planned on wrapping it. But no, in the end, the sack was just too tempting.

I've seen some pretty beat up re-gifted bags myself. I guess we should be glad the givers are being earth-friendly :-).

whirligigdaisy said...

This is too true. I've been getting baby gifts and not a single one has been wrapped--all gift bags.

Oriana said...

Betty, someone already invented plastic wrapping paper. It was horrible! There is no way to tear it. So, as the receiver, you are trying to figure out how to get the gift open. The tape also tends to not stick very well.

Olive, I wish I could wrap gifts with a crisp look. I wrapped a gift the other day and had to apologize that it looked like a young boy had wrapped it. My ends were uneven and lumpy and I had to use extra tape to get them to stay closed.

literaqueen said...

On the bright side, when you're late for the baby shower and have fifteen minutes to get from Target with the baby gift to the other side of town, throwing the gift into the gift bag is less stressful. That and my cats think gift bags are special toys just for them-- so the play time is worth it.

literaqueen said...

I gave a baby shower gift-- in a gift bag-- the other day and thought of this blog entry!

Olive Kite said...

Recently: I gave my sister her birthday present totally unwrapped; I gave a baby gift in a gift sack; I have another baby gift, ready to mail off, that's just wrapped in tissue paper (but the bubble wrap packet is sort of like gift wrap, right?).

Recently: I received a beautifully wrapped gift from my aunt (it was in gold paper with a big white silky bow); my sister received a roll of wrapping paper with tape attached to it for someone (now it would be silly to wrap wrapping paper).

But still, I find myself wanting to wrap presents.