Now our Preferred login method!

with your Facebook account

Coming Soon!

Login with your Google accounts

Original Member Login

You can now login with your Facebook account. A much easier way to view our Magazine! But if you prefer, you can still log in to Polite Society Magazine with your original user account.

Not a member yet?
Sign Up Now!

If you don't want to use your Facebook account (or don't have one), you can still register with us by using the original Login system.


Gifting the Wrapping

Text by: Jessica Ceason

Over the varied volume of chatter, I heard the bell on the front door jingle, and another guest rushed in with an armful of bags and boxes. She placed her packages among the array of gifts already stacked on the floor and then joined the rest of the party. The mother-to-be moved happily through the sea of her shower guests gathered at the café that afternoon. The delicate cupcakes and cookies served had a seasonal aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg. I watched the guests slowly sip cider, and I glanced to the pile of gifts indicating the baby would be a boy. Paper bags with glossy graphics, stuffed with tissue and miniature gift tags hung from the rope handles. One gift in particular caught my eye as being the most desirable, simply because it was so beautifully wrapped with a glittery silver bow that hung delicately from each side of the rectangular box.

A holiday tree in a storefront display is never without an arrangement of gifts below, making window shoppers and passersby dream of opening the boxes adorned with the most expensive ribbons and embossed papers. For many years, I wrapped those gifts. Having worked in retail and always tasked to style and assemble windows, wrapping empty boxes was never a tiring duty. Carefully tying each ribbon and applying pieces of tape delicately enough so as to match seams of patterned paper, I took my time. I'd often imagine a gift inside. A cashmere sweater or a gold watch -always a gift just as luxurious as the wrapping itself.

© Jessica Ceason Photography

I was always embarrassed, as a child, to take gifts my mother had wrapped to gatherings. She insisted on using brown paper bags. She'd tie the boxes with taffeta, sometimes sticks, a pine branch, and holly that grew along the fence in our yard. Among the gifts below the tree at family holiday parties, it was always unmistakably obvious which ones my family had brought. The pile would glitter and shimmer until the brown boxes would briefly interrupt the magic. As it so turns out, many years and much more appreciation later, I realize that my mother's wrapped gifts were among the most aesthetically interesting. A roll of thin, glossy, patterned drugstore wrapping could not compare to the natural art she created that was often just as beautiful as the gift itself.

Perhaps the sea of bags adorned with puffs of re-used tissue is economical, especially in a culture in which the more gifts you buy, the better. There is, however, something fantasy-like and ultimately special about opening a gift with wrapping so beautiful, it can be compared to art. The careful and slow application of tape, individually cutting pieces of ribbon, hand writing gift tags, and attaching edible treats can be just as enjoyable as the act of giving a gift. You can't judge a book by its cover, and you certainly can't judge the contents of a gift by the wrapping. In either case, you can increase the allure by creating a beautiful exterior… even when the contents contain nothing but retail store dreams and left over artificial snow from the previous year's carefully crafted display.