Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ribbons – trails of delight in a dreary world

I used to have a box filled with ribbons. Some were from gifts given to me, others I claimed from the discard pile at a 21st or wedding.

I am a hoarder by nature, I admit it. If I didn’t my mum would just tell you anyway! I take after Dad in that respect. I just find it really hard to throw anything away that might still have a use. Particularly if it happens to be pretty as well! I also don’t like spending lots of money on something that is just going to be ripped up and discarded, like the wrapping on a gift. So I’ve learnt that reusing is a great idea. My friends probably thought I was a little barmy (and they may yet be right!), but they graciously allowed my wrapping paper and ribbon saving on several occasions – after all, none of them wanted it anyway.
So while everyone else was digging into the party food, there I’d be, tucked away in a corner of someone’s living room, carefully folding wrapping paper and rolling ribbon, removing cellotape as I went.

The only issue is I hated giving any of my ribbons away! They were mine, my personal stash of delight.

I had my favourites, you know. There’d be the ribbons I would use for any old gift…colours I didn’t much like, plain and abundant curling ribbon, that sort of thing. Then there were the ones I saved for a special gift, for special people in my life. Thick organza ribbons in bright, shimmering blue or fuchsia pink. Silver bows inbuilt with reinforced wire so they sit exactly how you want them. Thin slivers of satin. Ribbons that glittered. Ribbons that looked like fabric rainbows. Parting with these was…hard. I didn’t want to give them to just anyone. It had to be someone who would appreciate their beauty, someone who would pass on the gift, as a bow on another box next year. Or someone who would just give the ribbon straight back to me after they’d opened their gift!

I’ve always thought if someone wanted to give me an inexpensive gift, all they’d need to do is go into their local craft store, pick half a dozen rolls of organza ribbon, and get a metre of each. I’d be happy, very happy.

I am a practical person. I like things to have a use, a purpose. In recent years, I’ve decluttered a lot of the non-essentials in my home and life in order to focus on that which is more purposeful. But ribbons, ribbons touch a part of my soul that practicality does not visit. I see this thing of beauty and my heart sings. My eyes light up, a smile touches my mouth and I want to do a happy wriggle – all the way down to my toes.

The good thing is that ribbons are not solely decorative; they are the meeting place of all that is frivolous, frilly and fancy with just a touch (only the smallest mind you) of practical use. I mean, it is not like most gifts NEED a ribbon. If you don’t use cellotape, I suppose maybe you could conclude they do, but otherwise they are pretty much a decorative feature. But have you ever beheld the difference that little piece of fru-fru can make to an otherwise ordinary box?

Presentation is important you know. When I choose gifts, I think very long and very hard about the receiver and what they would like. I think about their favourite colours and what sort of card to make for them. How will I wrap their gift – should it go in a bag, or a box, in plain paper or patterned? The colours must match. The wrapping paper edges must be neat. Heaven help any paper or cellotape that does not behave with decorum! And the bow. Well, the bow must be beautiful. It is the icing on the cake, the piece de resistance, the final glory that ties it all together and says, “This gift was chosen for you. This gift is more than just the contents of the package. This gift is thought, and caring, and love. This gift contains a little piece of me.” Including my love of ribbons!


MaxineD said...

Oh Amy - this is so much you!! Loved it.

Little Bit said...

Cute - I had no idea you were that into ribbon... Mum is also, and snavels anything we might be given! But I will keep this in mind for the future :-)!