Back in my day we had to “go shopping” for gifts. We’d drive to stores and spend hours looking for things to buy. As a child I pretty much hated those trips. Nobody was buying any of that stuff for me (obviously people got me presents but they weren’t buying them when was there with them) and I wasn’t old enough to enjoy buying gifts for other people very much. So shopping trips were basically no different than going to school or getting a hair cut, it was just time wasted not playing video games at home.
After buying the presents then you had to wrap them. Which reminds me that you didn’t just shop for gifts, you also shopped for wrapping paper and bows and ribbons and other wrapping related paraphernalia. Just getting the wrapping supplies was an ordeal. I was often expected to help wrap gifts and I was always terrible at it. Every year grown ups would teach me how to wrap presents and every year I, apparently, did an awful job. Even now as an adult people tell me I’m bad at wrapping gifts. I don’t understand why. When you look at a gift I wrapped you can never see the product under the wrapping paper. That’s the point, right? To make it impossible to see what the gift is until you unwrap it? As long as the wrapping paper and tape completely hides and disguises what the gift is then mission accomplished. People go on and on about neatly folder creases and tidy corners but I don’t see how any of that matters. Who cares about the wrapping paper and tape on the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts.
Then you distributed the presents to people who lived nearby and mailed presents to people who lived far away. Mailing Christmas gifts was most of my early exposure to the Post-Office. And that probably explains why I have so much anxiety about going to the Post-Office today. It was always a miserably experience. The employees were grumpy. The other customers were grumpy. The adults I was with were grumpy. And I was grumpy, from wasting more time not playing video games at home. I remember my Dad one time saying as we left the Post-Office, “For the price of shipping those packages we could have bought a lot more presents.” “Well,” I said, “let’s cancel those things we shipped and go buy me more presents.” Apparently Dads comment was rhetorical, but try explaining that to a six year old.
Nowadays you don’t do any of that. You pick out gifts on Amazon and have them mailed directly to the recipient, just remember to check the “This Item Is A Gift” box. Then wait for them to text you a thank you Christmas day. Easy. And even though sending money is considered rude we’ve, for some reason, all decided that Gift Cards are perfectly fine so that’s great. And some of my friends just buy me something on Steam from my Wish List, easy peasy. Technology has really made gift buying better which frees up more time to play video games at home. Merry Christmas!