Wrapping Gifts and Presents in Art and Storytelling

They were at breakfast table, and the boy looked up from his plate curiously. He was an alert-eyed youngster with flat bond hair and a quick, nervous manner. He didn’t understand what the sudden tension was about, but he did know that today was his birthday, and he wanted harmony above all. Somewhere in the little apartment there were wrapped, beribboned packages waiting to be opened, and in the tiny wall-kitchen something warm and sweet was being prepared in the automatic stove. He wanted the day to be happy, and the moistness of his mother’s eyes, the scowl on his father’s face, spoiled the mood of fluttering expectation with which he had greeted the morning.

“Examination Day” by Henry Slesar

Every gift contains a danger. Whatever gift we have we are compelled to express. And if the expression of that gift is blocked, distorted, or merely allowed to languish, then the gift turns against us, and we suffer.

Lyndon B. Johnson, 1993
Rowan Atkinson improvised this scene and deliberately made it lengthy and tedious to annoy Alan Rickman to the point where he barely had to act when getting frustrated and annoyed.
Beer Belongs Enjoy It wrapping presents
Beer Belongs Enjoy It wrapping presents
New Yorker, Dec 14, 1940. Cover by Helen Hokinson
New Yorker, Dec 14, 1940. Cover by Helen Hokinson
Painting by the fire by Shirley Hughes from Lucy and Tom
From the “Express Christmas” episode of Modern Family, in which the characters celebrate an early Christmas and in their haste, ruin a number of things along the way. In this intimate scene between father and son-in-law, Cam is about to give Jay a small gift which looks at first like a ring but turns out to be the cork of the first bottle of wine they shared together after Jay invited Cam to a sporting event some years earlier. Jay has forgotten all about it. In contrast, the dramatic Cam becomes emotionally attached to everything.


“I looked for a present for you. Searched all day yesterday. Something original, very rare, very beautiful. A great gift. Not just a handy thing, a razor – an electric iron – a coffee maker. No: something unique in the world, that nobody, ever, ever, has owned before you. I found the idea earlier: I’ll give you my heart. »A wonderful ode to love that transcends all ages.


On paper, things look fine. Sam Dennon recently inherited significant wealth from his uncle. As a respected architect, Sam spends his days thinking about the family needs and rich lives of his clients. But privately? Even his enduring love of amateur astronomy is on the wane. Sam has built a sustainable-architecture display home for himself but hasn’t yet moved into it, preferring to sleep in his cocoon of a campervan. Although they never announced it publicly, Sam’s wife and business partner ended their marriage years ago due to lack of intimacy, leaving Sam with the sense he is irreparably broken.

Now his beloved uncle has died. An intensifying fear manifests as health anxiety, with night terrors from a half-remembered early childhood event. To assuage the loneliness, Sam embarks on a Personal Happiness Project:

1. Get a pet dog

2. Find a friend. Just one. Not too intense.




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