Thursday, December 11, 2008

When Packaging is Everything...

Last night I attended what for me, was the social engagement of the season - that being the annual Woman’s Club (at my church) Christmas party. I was told ahead of time to bring an inexpensive ornament ($5-$10) for the annual gift exchange. Although I knew they made a game out of it with lots of stealing of each other’s packages, the thought never occurred to me to “tart up” my offering. Instead, due to time restrictions, I quickly slapped a little wrapping paper around my gingerbread house and was good to go.

When I arrived at the party and saw the beautifully wrapped packages, my first thought was to shove my “Charlie Brown” package to the bottom of my purse and tell people I forgot to bring an ornament. However, against my better judgment, I decided just to swallow my pride and discreetly drop my package into the pile.

Not surprisingly, no one chose my gift when it was their turn to pick. Can you blame them though? Which would you rather have – a tiny little ornament that looked like it was wrapped by a child, or a package that would have made Martha Stewart proud?

In my own defense, at least my package was environmentally friendly using only the minimum amount of wrapping paper with no extra accoutrements to end up in a landfill.

When it was my turn to choose a package, I felt morally obligated to take my own, if for no other reason that I felt sorry for it. My table mates tried to make me feel better by saying, “Good things come in small packages – like a diamond ring!” Later after we were all comparing our ornaments, I got just the briefest of recognition. Apparently the more feminine the ornament, the bigger the response. I knew I should have sprung for the peacock feather ornament (but I think it was over budget)!

Next year I’ll be ready. I’ll buy the fanciest ornament and have it professionally gift wrapped – maybe I’ll even put it in a Tiffany’s box! My package will put all the others to shame. (argh! I hate it when I get competitive!)

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