Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Gift Bag

I have been musing gently on the subject of The Gift Bag. When I was a child (to coin a phrase), such luxuries did not exist. Crepe paper, yes. Tissue paper, yes. Cheap wrapping paper from WHSmith, yes. But not gift bags. No, these are an invention of the late 20th century, nay, even the 21st century. In fact, does anyone out there know when the Gift Bag became de rigeur?

As some of you may know, I have three daughters. That means lots of parties. Either their own, or those of their many friends. And girls seem to go on having parties longer than boys. And girls love girlie stuff and making things look pretty, and so do their mothers. I imagine many a boy would have long ago ditched any notion of pitching up at a mate's party with a poncy present in a bag. But girls, well, they just love it. The more expensive the better, of course. And preferably with shredded tissue and/or shiny 'confetti' in the bottom of it too ('confetti', by the way, being the invention of the Devil, especially when it lurks unexpectedly inside a card which you rip open with gusto only to have thousands of tiny coloured sparkly things engrained into your carpet and stuck behind your radiator grills for ever more).

Now I, thanks to my three daughters, have an enormous supply of Gift Bags in my cupboard. They lie with the saved bubble wrap, the padded envelopes and the jealously hoarded cardboard (for those 'Please do not Bend' moments). Every summer, to date, they have shared a big summer party where swarms of children come and run around the garden causing chaos and havoc and a huge pile of Gift Bags. I feel I am almost more excited by the Gift Bag these days than the present inside. This, I also feel, is quite sad. But what joy - think how much money I have saved! They don't come cheap, after all, do they, these Gift Bags? They can sometimes add disproportionately to the cost of the present (a fact I find myself struggling with, and frequently find myself attempting mental equations along the lines of Outrageous Cost of Bag versus Time and Fiddle of Wrapping Paper and Ribbon). I usually come to the conclusion that I should bite the bullet and buy the bag and then end up elaborately wrapping the present anyway - and then popping it in the bag for ease of transportation and the added delight of the recipient (who will probably like the bag more than the contents anyway). At which point the whole process becomes predictably ridiculous, time-consuming and expensive. But at least you have the small pleasure of a beautifully presented gift which has the desired effect of making the recipient feel suitably special and loved. Well, that's the general idea, at least. Unless you're a boy, when you don't give a shit.

Hence, dear bored reader, my delight at the pile of 'free' Gift Bags which arrive to replenish my stocks every summer. It almost makes the horror of the party worthwhile.
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