“It’s What’s Inside That Counts”–My Gift Wrap Struggle

Welcome  Last week, I shared some of my opinions and recommendations for holiday gift giving.  Today, however, I’m going to talk about one of my own very personal struggles during the holiday gift giving season…the wrapping!

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Food For Thought  “It’s what’s inside that counts,” is great life wisdom regarding our personal character.  I’ll get into that a little more later.  But I can really appreciate this statement when it comes to my gift giving.  I love to give gifts, truly, but my package presentations definitely lack the glitz, glamour, and visual appeal that seems to go with the season.

I always have these visions of beautifully wrapped packages with coordinating paper and bows and ties stacked neatly under the holiday tree, adding to the allure and anticipation of our Christmas traditions.  Well, our paper does match this year, three different patterns in coordinating colors and textures and very cute, if I do say so myself.  But bows?  No.  We have found over the years that bows either get knocked off the packages or get smashed beyond recognition before the day of gifting.  So why waste our money?  And our tree goes so low to the floor, it’s hard to put packages under the tree, so the gifts end up getting sort of scattered around the base as best we can.  But even these are not my biggest problem.

My problem comes right down to the actual wrapping.  I use way too much paper and tape.  I place the gift carefully on the paper, even measuring, but inevitably end up with way too much paper or too little.  Well, I hate wasting things, especially the gift paper we’ve spent too much money on, so I make do.  When I have too much, I fold and fold some more until the ends are bulky and barely close, requiring me to use like, I don’t know, a yard of tape.  Kidding.  Maybe.

If I have too little paper, I just pull scraps together, because again, I don’t want to waste even the smallest pieces.  My sister-in-law has made this strategy into a fun family tradition, calling the present wrapped in all the scraps the “franken-gift.”  When it comes right down to it, I’d rather spend the money on better gifts than more gift wrap.

Doesn’t that make sense?  Think about it.  When the kids finally get to open the gifts, there’s a frenzy of flying paper which will certainly be balled up and stuffed in the plastic garbage bag that one of the adults has grabbed and is now passing around the room.  Even adults, with our maturity and sophistication, try to slowly open the gifts with nonchalance, but end up wadding up the paper and flinging into the bag with all the others.

All that pretty packaging does look nice under the tree for the few days leading up to Christmas, but the wrapping is really more of an afterthought in the end.  So why should I worry about how my gifts end up being wrapped?  As we’ve been learning since children, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Of course this wisdom extends far beyond our holiday packages.  In life, it most certainly is what’s on the inside that counts.  Our physical bodies, clothes, jewelry, hair styles, freshly manicured nails…all of those will be tossed away in the end.  When we are gone from this physical earth, the packaging won’t matter.  That is very reassuring to me!  God is not just going to pick the pretty people or those that presented the best images to the rest of the world.  God’s looking on the inside.  Our hearts and souls, our gifts and how we use them, those are what count in the grand scheme of life and eternity.  It’s nice to look good and be presentable, but my hope would be that our friends, families, even strangers, will be benefit more by the gifts on the inside.  That’s what counts!

Today’s Scripture

Today’s Recipe  Still like giving (and receiving!) homemade gifts from the kitchen?  I do!  This Christmas Caramel Chocolate Crunch Popcorn works well for a movie snack, a holiday dessert table, a kids’ Christmas party, or gifting in small containers.  In fact, as part of the PTA holiday cookie exchange held for the staff at my daughter’s school, I made this popcorn snack and portioned out in to-go containers.  A little something to sweeten the day of those hard-working and much-appreciated middle school teachers!  I hope you enjoy it, too.

Christmas Caramel Chocolate Popcorn Crunch
Popcorn and mixed nuts drizzled in homemade caramel, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.

Christmas Caramel Chocolate Crunch Popcorn (This made about 30 individual portions of about 1/2 cup each.)

  • 1 6-oz bag of popped plain popcorn, such as Skinny Pop
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup, such as Karo
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Christmas sprinkles, optional
  • 6 oz. milk chocolate almond bark
  • 6 oz. white chocolate almond bark

In large bowl, combine popcorn, peanuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts.  Line two large rimmed baking sheets with wax paper.

In large pot, place butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup.  Turn to medium heat and stir continuously until butter is melted.  Allow mixture to come to a boil.  Continue to stir while mixture bubbles for about five minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla and baking soda.  Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and nuts, stirring to coat quickly before caramel begins to set.  PLEASE NOTE: THE CARAMEL MIXTURE IS VERY HOT.  WORK WITH HEAT PROOF BOWLS, UTINSILS AND HAND PROTECTION.  Before caramel hardens, divide the popcorn mixture evenly between the two prepared pans.  Scatter sprinkles across the popcorn mixture, if using.

Melt almond bark, separately, according to package directions.  Drizzle one pan of popcorn with the melted milk chocolate.  Drizzle the other pan with melted white chocolate.  Allow popcorn to set for one hour before packaging.

If you like this recipe, be sure to check out my nut-free recipe for Sweet and Salty Christmas Crunch.

Sweet and Salty Christmas Crunch

Today’s Recommended Products from Amazon

Large Rimmed Baking Sheets

Wax Paper

Large Calphalon Stainless Steel Pot

Large Microwave Safe Bowl

Rubber Spatulas