This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Three Wise Men; Gaspar, Balthazar and Herb, went to see the baby Jesus and, according to the Book of Matthew, "presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh." These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact: There is no mention of wrapping paper. If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: "And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. And Joseph was going to throweth it away, but Mary said unto him, 'Holdeth it! That is nice paper! Saveth it for next year!' And Joseph did rolleth his eyeballs. And the baby Jesus was more interested in the paper than the frankincense."
But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics:
1. They were wise.
2. They were men.
Men are not big gift wrappers. Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift just so somebody else can tear it off. This is not just my opinion: This is a scientific fact based on a statistical survey of two guys I know. One is Rob, who said the only time he ever wraps a gift is "if it's such a poor gift that I don't want to be there when the person opens it."
The other is Karl, who told me he does wrap gifts, but as a matter of principle never takes more than 15 seconds per gift. "No one ever had to wonder which presents daddy wrapped at Christmas," Karl said. "They were the ones that looked like enormous spitballs."
Other men also wrap gifts, but because of some defect in their motor skills, they can never completely wrap them. They can take a gift the size of a deck of cards and put it the exact center of a piece of wrapping paper the size of a regulation volleyball court, but when they are done folding and taping, you can still see a sector of the gift peeking out. (Sometimes they camouflage this sector with a marking pen.) If they had been an ancient Egyptian in the field of mummies, the lower half of the Pharaoh's body would be covered only by Scotch tape. On the other hand, if you give most women a 12-inch square of wrapping paper, they can wrap a C-130 cargo plane. Many women actually like wrapping things. If they give you a gift that requires batteries, they wrap the batteries separately, which to me is very close to being a symptom of mental illness.
My point is that gift-wrapping is one of those skills like having babies that come more naturally to women than to men. That is why today I am presenting:
GIFT-WRAPPING TIPS FOR MEN:
1. Whenever possible, buy gifts that are already wrapped. If, when the recipient opens the gift, neither one of you recognizes it, you can claim that it's myrrh.
2 If you're giving a hard-to-wrap gift, skip the wrapping paper! Just put it inside a bag and stick one of those little adhesive bows on it. This creates a festive visual effect that is sure to delight the lucky recipient on Christmas morning:
YOUR WIFE: "Why is there a Hefty trash bag under the tree?"
YOU: "It's a gift! See? It has a bow!"
YOUR WIFE (peering into the trash bag): "It's a leaf blower."
YOU: "Gas-powered! Five horsepower!"
YOUR WIFE: "I want a divorce."
YOU: "I also got you some myrrh."
3. The editors of Woman's Day magazine recently ran an item on how to make your own wrapping paper by printing a design on it with an apple sliced in half horizontally and dipped in a mixture of food coloring and liquid starch. They must be smoking crack!
In conclusion, remember that the important thing is not what you give, or how you wrap it. The really important thing, during this very special time of year, is that you save the receipt.