24 Dec2006


If you haven’t figured it out by now through the entries on this blog over the last two Christmases, the holidays are a BIG DEAL around Marketman territory. Besides all the décor, the food, the baking, the desserts and sweets, the charities, the parties, etc., GIFTS are a major part of the season. Mrs. Marketman keeps a list of folks we would like to give Christmas presents to each year and at last count that list numbered in the several hundred. gifts3Now I know you’re thinking that sounds ridiculous, and perhaps it is, but we try to remember to give all of the folks that make our lives so much easier or more interesting over the course of the year. Of course there are family and friends at the top of the list (literally), then there are the nurses, the market sukis, our butcher, baker and if we had one, the candlestick maker. We give the security guards, school staff, all of our employees and all of their offspring and associated family members. Tennis trainers of the Kid, the doctors, service personnel, lawyers, accountants, etc. All of The Kid’s classmates (she bakes and decorates gingerbread cookies herself) as well as neighbors and business associates. The presents need not be elaborate, a banig bag with 6-8 homemade budbud kabog, for instance, or a bilao of tortas… But we try not to forget anyone (though I am sure we do nevertheless)…

For “bulk” presents, Mrs. Marketman or myself hit Divisoria to buy windbreakers or bags or umbrellas by the dozen. Despite the bulk purchases, we always try to look for something that will be needed by, or suits the intended recipient. I have gotten so good at gifts2bargaining in Divisoria and I buy “wholesale” or a minimum of a dozen of anything at a time – caps by the gross, dozens of polo shirts, wallets, bags, etc. For our annual staff Christmas party, I try and make sure there is a bounty of gifts, because somehow, it always seems better when there is a full tree… it really isn’t about giving expensive items, it is about getting the right items and presenting them with care. But the purchasing or making/baking/cooking is only the beginning, wrapping hits a frenzy around early December and a veritable assembly line is set-up in a corner of the house. We get tons of carboard boxes and papel de Japon and everything gets boxed (except irregular shaped items) and labeled. Next they are wrapped by us or the crew.

I try and make sure we have at least 15-20 different varieties of wrapping paper every season. Again, the visual feast below the tree is so much more stunning if you have variety. My personal favorites have always been Italian papers from Venice and Florence, with their stunning designs and colors and sometimes gold accents. They gifts4are so sumptuous and promising… I used to stock up on these papers for very special gifts and at 1-2 Euro a piece (albeit nice large sheets), they are rather pricey. Two years ago however, I stumbled across a great sale where the papers were marked down to about PHP25 a sheet and I bought nearly everything the store had in stock…and that was in July of that year! Talk about thinking forward! I also buy tons of paper in Divisoria as well as close-out sales in departments stores when traveling. It’s safe to say that there are always several dozen if not hundreds of sheets of Christmas wrapper under the beds somewhere in our home. We also have a stockpile of ribbons, ranging from the brilliant ones you find in Divisoria to the finest grosgrain ribbons I get while on trips to near and far. Last time I checked, if I included the curling ribbons that we have in 15 different colors and which cost just a few centavos per meter when purchased in bulk, we had enough ribbon to stretch from our home in Makati to the Alabang Town Center or the Quezon Memorial. I am not kidding.

So what’s the big deal? The presents are going to be ripped open anyway, you say? Why waste any time on the wrapper and ribbon? Well, my answer to that is that I just like to do it, and I think it makes the whole process of gift giving so much more satisfying. gifts5And since the presents sit under the tree for several days or weeks, it adds to the whole festive feel. Almost every present gets a ribbon, including the raw hide bones for the pet Labrador… And if you think in bulk, I suspect we spend FAR LESS on wrapping each present than folks who buy 6-8 pieces of wrapping paper at National Bookstore (PHP12 each vs. PHP3 in Divisoria) or have their presents wrapped at the stores themselves (one candle shop in Glorietta IV last week almost nailed me for PHP120 for wrapping a candle – I was so annoyed I decided not to buy the bloody candles at all!). So I guess you could be rolling your eyes with the this post…and I am willing to concede that there are two types of folks on the planet… those that worry about the wrapper and those that don’t. Whichever camp you may fall into, I do hope you have a great Christmas!



  1. catalina says:

    Tidings of comfort and joy to you and your family. Thank you for another year of your wonderful posts.

    Dec 24, 2006 | 5:56 pm


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  3. Sandra says:

    Remember Candy Spelling? Her mansion in Beverly Hills had a large room dedicated to gift wrapping. I saw a photo in a magazine and it looked like a department store wrapping center only it was beautiful and all her paper, ribbons etc. were of the first quality!

    Dec 24, 2006 | 6:27 pm

  4. wysgal says:

    While some people like me can still get away with not giving any gifts during Christmas, it’s always nice to read about folks like yourself that give the season their all. Happy holidays and best wishes to you and your loved ones. =)

    Dec 24, 2006 | 6:43 pm

  5. Mandy says:

    MM i’m so inggit with your italian paper! i’m sure that sale you caught was not here… grr… i bought one, yes, one sheet of that rossi paper in A Perfect Creation in teachers village in qc for 600bucks to line some 40 envelopes for our wedding invitation. those were given to the “vips” and the rest were lined in brown indian paper stamped wiht gold paisley (much much cheaper). they all turned out so nicely though. :)

    your family is the ultimate christmas celebrators. me, i went shopping a couple of days ago lang for some gifts. like wysgal, i can still get away with not having to give gifts to sooooo many people. :)

    merry christmas!!!

    Dec 24, 2006 | 7:10 pm

  6. ken says:

    MM! I am definitely with the “worry with the wrapper” camp…I love gift-wrapping! Every year I have a different theme or motif…it’s so much fun thinking of ideas. I also have several sheets of wrapping paper and fabric at home…and I’m also investing on ribbons. I hate those gifts that are just placed in a paper bag…ick!

    Dec 25, 2006 | 2:22 am

  7. joey says:

    I’m in the wrapping camp :) Although my Christmas list is not big enough to warrant wholesale discounts, I love to pick and choose wrapping paper…especially ribbon! I collect odd bits of ribbon (is that weird?) and I buy some everytime I see ones I like. And there is something Zen about wrapping gifts…I find it really relaxing :)

    Your Italian papers are gorgeous!

    Dec 25, 2006 | 11:21 am

  8. Bubut says:

    i use to buy only 2 colors of ribbon, gold or silver, then i can use it to any type of wrapper. A simple papel de Japon would look very elegant once it has a gold or silver ribbon..i also love gift wrapping….

    Nice Italian wrappers, it could be used for any occasion.

    Dec 25, 2006 | 2:27 pm

  9. Katrina says:

    I’m a “wrapper” too. :-) Until a couple of years ago (when I got too busy), I used to think of my Christmas gift wrapper theme in advance and plan accordingly. Unlike you, MM, I like them to have one look. Before my Christmas list became too long, I would wrap all the presents in one night (NO sleep), just ’cause I loved looking at all of them spread out, all matchy-matchy. ;-) One year I found some purple Christmas lights on sale, so I bought them to use as gift decor. Then I was thrilled to find matching Christmas lights-printed wrappers! Another year I had a political theme and used newspaper front pages as wrappers, making sure interesting headlines were visible. But the most painstaking was when I used glitter to decorate each present with a personalized design. My floor had glitter on them for months!

    My presents this year still all have one look, but are MUCH simpler. I hope next year I can be as OC about my gift wrapping again.

    Dec 25, 2006 | 8:17 pm

  10. kate says:

    whoah! When do you start wrapping up presents?!?!


    happy holidays to you and your family! :)

    Dec 25, 2006 | 10:02 pm

  11. currystrumpet says:

    i loved this post as i am one of those people who lives to wrap gifts! i almost set up a christmas wrapping service a couple of years ago with a friend (inertia got to me first), and i too hoard paper and ribbons in the middle of the calendar year. i can’t forget spending christmas in brussels as a child and watching in awe as salesladies wrapped gifts with not only curling ribbon and shiny paper, but even feathers and beads.

    happy holidays marketman!

    Dec 25, 2006 | 11:27 pm

  12. kit says:

    merry christmas and a happy new year to you and your family!

    Dec 25, 2006 | 11:45 pm

  13. sha says:

    One of my weaknesses when travelling is checking papers wrapping papers… think you are not the only one MM.. I collect bows, ribbons, papers… When I was in London few weeks ago for a business trip I made sure I stopped at my favourite store to stock up things.

    Dec 26, 2006 | 8:04 am

  14. nikka says:

    I LOVE wrapping up presents. I don’t have too many people to give, so every year I like having a theme. This year, it was kistchy Pinoy. I used banig bags or boxes tied with raffia. My gift tags were old postcards of the Bayanihan dancers in full costume or scenic views. My relatives loved comparing which postcard I’d picked out for them.

    Last year, I used Christmas balls and bells as gift tags. No one knew to look on the ball itself to look for their names. Oh well.

    Dec 26, 2006 | 10:07 pm

  15. Lei says:

    MM, if I may ask, where did that of sale of Italian paper happen? Just in case I happen to pass that place. Thanks!

    Dec 27, 2006 | 10:03 am

  16. Marketman says:

    Lei, actually, it was the Crane’s store in Rockwell last year. I think they made a mistake frankly, or just overbought and had too much stock…I bought almost everything they had… I also do buy wrapper in Italy as well, but those tend to be much pricier and I only go there every few years…

    Dec 27, 2006 | 10:23 am

  17. ThePseudoshrink says:

    I well understand your need/satisfaction to wrap your gifts…am a wrapper myself.

    Dec 27, 2006 | 3:02 pm

  18. Lei says:

    Thanks, don’t worry, I won’t go over there barging and asking for the same offer. =)

    Dec 27, 2006 | 5:42 pm

  19. CecileJ says:

    Wrappers unite! I think that people appreciate it when we take time to wrap our presents nicely. It says much about how we care about them. When I was single, I used to be just like all of you, complete with theme and originality and my friends used to look forward to my gifts. But now I am a harried wife, mother and employee. Maybe when I retire…

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, y’all!!!!

    Dec 28, 2006 | 12:55 pm

  20. vicky says:

    Wow what opulence. Very pleasing to the eye. I love wrapping presents.

    Dec 29, 2006 | 9:00 am

  21. dhayL says:

    I’m on board with you in buying christmas stuff like the wrappers, ribbons and xmas cards on sale, they’re such a bargain! Believe it or not, i buy my christmas decor during our Boxing Day/Week Sale, that’s a day after christmas!ACtually just about everything goes on sale during Boxing Week, but like i said i buy my xmas decor which will be used the following year during our Boxing Week Madness! I find it that the first week of Boxing Week Sale, most xmas stuff goes for extra 50% off, but a week after that they bring it down up to 80% of the original price, so i tend to wait after a week or so! hehehhe

    May 31, 2007 | 8:24 am

  22. miles says:

    Amen to that!! I also like wrapping gifts to make them more personal.

    Nov 13, 2007 | 6:03 pm


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