The Showcase Magazine - Articles

by Jessica Sorentino

These days, people are either cutting back materialistically, or they are preferring to shop for themselves. It’s more efficient than people wasting money on an item that will sit in someone’s closet unused. However, it’s still a great feeling to give and receive during the holidays.

A big trend though, is gifting time and experiences. Maybe you gift your parents with a Broadway show, or you gift your children with a trip to an amusement park. You’re still presenting them with something tangible, but you’re also sharing yourself and a memory with them, too, which is becoming just as – if not more – valuable than something materialistic.

How does this play into events? Well, glad you asked. For me, one of my favorite things about shopping for others is watching them enjoy what I’ve found for them. Every step is enjoyable to me: from purchasing, to wrapping, to presenting, watching them unwrap and then seeing it somewhere in their home. I love it all! But as I’m getting older, I miss the excitement and joy (and chaos) of wrapping gifts with my mom in one room, sister in another, all throwing the scissors and tape through the halls, just to get it all done in time.

So here’s my thought: what about a holiday preparation party? You’ve probably got a lot on your plate with actually planning your holiday celebrations, but this one won’t take much effort. Go to your local gift wrap shop – I’ve become a huge fan of Home Goods for wrapping supplies these days – and stock up.

Send a quick note to a few of your friends or relatives, and invite them to bring their holiday chaos over to you. Pop some easy break-and-bake chocolate chip cookies in the oven, set the paper out, and share your prep!

Some of you may end up wrapping, while others are addressing holiday cards, but either way, you’ll all be together. Play some holiday music, and you’ll bring some of the joy back into your season. I think – aside from the productivity – the best thing that will come out of this will be the time spent together. You may be about to wrap something, and then share the story of how you came to find it. I know I often get very excited when I find the perfect gift, and love to talk about it.

This type of activity can be done with or without kids. Honestly, it’s probably easier without. You don’t have to sensor the scissors, can wrap their gifts and won’t have to get up every five minutes to help them cut paper. As an adults-only event, you can add cocktails, you can take your time, take decorating breaks, maybe even throw a holiday film on when you’re finished as a way to wind down while keeping the spirit.

But…if you choose to bring kids into the equation…totally fine! If you’d like your kids to participate, consider buying the wrapping paper that looks like cardboard and lots of markers, stamps and ink pads. You can pre-cut all of the wrapping paper, and then have the children act as paper decorators. That way, the paper will also be a part of the gifts you’re giving. It will add a little personal touch, and keep the kids busy while you navigate those tough-to-wrap boxes.

Depending on how early you host this event, another idea for the children would be for them to make their holiday wish lists. Give them themes, let them be creative! Encourage them to consider memories versus material, and see what they come up with. I apologize if you end up going to swim with the dolphins instead of buying the latest video game!!

Have a wonderful holiday season, I hope you all enjoy!

Jessica Sorentino is from Yonkers, New York. She lives and works in New York City, as the prepress coordinator at the international publishing house, Simon & Schuster. In her free time, Jessica plans and hosts many social events for friends and family and likes to make each one creative and unique. She is also an avid reader, city traveler and professional dancer with DanceWorks NYC. Jessica holds a bachelor's degree in mass communications with minors in journalism and dance education from the University of Delaware, and a master's degree in dance therapy/education from Lesley University. Stay up-to-date with Jessica by following her on social media and by subscribing to her city lifestyle blog,