One of my super-secret mental illnesses, one of the so very many I have but definitely one of the less visible, is my absolute love -- LOVE! -- for wrapping presents.
No, I am not making this up.
Although I've never talked to a therapist about it (because, let's face it, the fact that I am a Type-A paranoid borderline schizophrenic with half an Electra complex, inappropriate rage issues and an obsession with LOLspeek tends to take up a lot of lot of time on the couch), I believe this is part of the reason why I start shopping for Christmas presents so early, and why I buy so many.
It might be part of the reason why I became a retail terrorist, hunting high and low for the absolute best bargains anywhere, so I can get the most things for the least amount of money, so there are more things to adorn with shiny paper, curling ribbon, gift tags, and 47 metric tons of Scotch tape. (When the Grinch looks down on Who-ville and notices that Christmas "came without packages, boxes, and bags?" I always think, deep down in my heart, that this is bullshit, because while I believe that World Peace is a beautiful thing, I am also smart enough to know that it's even more beautiful with a little bit of sequins and a gift tag.)
And if you know me even in passing, you're probably vaguely aware that I am something of a grown-up Garanimal: everything must match. So it will come as a surprise to approximately no one that I spent more than a hour in a T.J. Maxx store back in October, trying to find three rolls of gift wrap that matched this year's wrapping theme. (Note also that I was doing this in a store where I wouldn't have to pay full retail.)
When I'm shopping, I am often drawn to gifts that come in weird, strange, odd, or oversize packages, so that I can challenge myself when I wrap them. Wrapping is not an obligation to me, a traditional formality; I believe that it is the thought that counts, and I want the thought to be: "I care enough about you to fold this paper with hospital corners and match the patterns and tape every single seam and make you earn this present, dammit."
Of course, the problem with this is that I go through something that is maybe like postpartum depression when people open their stuff. I watch them tear into everything that I took such time and care to prepare. Not because I am afraid that they won't like their gifts -- sometimes I honestly believe I might not even care about that. But because I put a lot of work into wrapping those things, and I want my family and friends to stop for a second and say, "Hey, wow, this really looks too pretty to open." Admire my craftsmanship. Call me an artist.
And then: gimme gimme gimme. Pass the loot. Because even crazy people like presents, you know?