I like a bit of Christmas shopping. Especially in Narberth, like this morning, which included a yummy sandwich from Spanish deli Ultracomida (boccata with blue cheese, salad and honey). It was raining, but the staff in the shops were polite and friendly and there was a great feeling of good cheer all around.
The thing I like least about Christmas presents is wrapping the bloody things once you have purchased them. Wrapping one birthday present is short and sweet, but the onslaught of Christmas wrapping is enough to drive a woman to drink.
So, on reading The Observer's Ultimate Gift Guide on Sunday (unobtainable presents for ridiculous sums - except Dan Pearson's suggestion of Franchi seeds for gardeners - genius) I discover Lucy Eco Siegle's comment that 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper ends up straight in the bin.
Ah ha! I think. Do away with the stuff. It can't be burned (poisonous inks, plastic tape etc) so what use is it anyway? You just end up with a heap of ripped up paper (and loads of packaging, but that's a whole other blog).
Then there are gift bags. How has it come to pass that a present must be wrapped in lovely paper (and there are some absolutely lovely wrapping papers out there) but then it must be placed in a BAG? It is already concealed by the paper, so why the bag too?
I know I'm guilty of this - falling for a pretty bag - but it's not exactly eco-friendly is it? Presents just used to be wrapped when I was a kid. Now they're all bagged too. I've just confirmed this with a quick look under the tree. All of the presents except one tiny one are in bags. One bag even yells HO HO HO when it is opened. (A nasty bit of booby trapping that nearly killed me when I was having a surreptitious feel of my present... Somebody knows me well... It was 4am and quite the loudest thing on the planet at the time. I nearly had a heart attack.)
But what would happen if presents were not wrapped? Anarchy under the Christmas tree that's what. Absolutely no element of surprise and they'd all get mixed up because how would you attach the label? I can't see my children liking this much either. Part of the fun is the ripping off of the paper to expose the present beneath.
It's a bit like people really. You might fancy the pants off someone, but if they were walking around completely bollock-naked there's not exactly any element of surprise (which might be a good thing. That's a whole other blog too.)
So what is the alternative? I did think of newspaper, but having recently wrapped a pass-the-parcel in the stuff I know it has great rip-off-ability, but also great ink-transferability and it's not exactly the most attractive option.
Santa might consider just stuffing the stockings with unwrapped presents, but I'm not sure that would go down well with the small people. You'd open up the re-usable eco-friendly stocking (or pillowcase) and see straight away what it contained. No delight in unwrapping one package after another, even if it is only a satsuma.
I suppose one could just put the present straight into the gift bag too, but again there's no oooh-factor in that either.
This has me stumped. Any ideas?