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Time to Think Outside the Bag July 21, 2009

Posted by paulstella in Uncategorized.

Clearly I have a problem. It didn’t come to my attention until this past weekend, but apparently it’s been plaguing me for a while—an obsession, really. I’m just hoping awareness is the first step toward overcoming this insidious habit. You see, I’m a serial collector of gift bags.

Just a sample of the gift bags I've collected over the years.

Just a sample of the gift bags I've collected over the years. Aren't they festive?

I should have seen this coming. Ten year ago or more, presents were usually gift wrapped, and the paper would simply find its way into the trash—no questions asked. But during the 21st century, it’s obvious that more folks enjoy the convenience of putting things in those festive gift bags.

I’ve been blessed by many happy occasions over the past 10 years—birthdays, holidays, ‘you’re leaving,’ ‘you’re coming back,’ graduation, housewarming, promotion, etc. Happy occasions often means gifts, and increasingly that means gift bags. Reflecting back, I’d always think, “Let’s hang on to this. I can reuse it.” But I’ve remained primarily a wrapper (not rapper, dawg!), so obviously my output has failed to match my input.

The first hint of a problem came to light during my staycation a few weeks ago. I was rearranging some closet space in my spare bedrooms upstairs, and I noticed several small collections of gift bags that had accumulated over the years. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it reminded me to make more of an effort to reuse them, which I did recently for birthday gifts to my brother and his wife.

But then, the shocking reality! I’d been noticing a pile of clutter building in my basement, so I decide to attack it on Sunday. And there they were—tons more gift bags. I thought, “What the hell is wrong with me?!” (Actually, I’m pretty sure I said it out loud. I’m not uncomfortable with admitting I talk to myself.) It became clear. I need help!

I still can’t bring myself to throw them out. Instead, I’ve decided to make a lifestyle change—stop wrapping and start bagging. As Morgan Freeman stated during that poignant moment of The Shawshank Redemption, “Either get busy baggin’ or get busy dyin’.” Or something like that.

So go ahead, invite me over for dinner. I’m bringing a bottle of wine and it’s coming in a damn gift bag. And to my family, get ready, all those gift bags are coming back at you—starting this Christmas, if not sooner. And if you need a gift bag, allow me to hook you up. I’M SERIOUS!

I just know I can kick this thing.



1. Zach Myrow - July 21, 2009

Insanity comes instrange forms. I bet there’s a support group. I wonder what their holiday party looks like. No gifts allowed.

2. Pattie Stella - July 23, 2009

OMG. I have a cubbord full of them too. It must be in the genes.

3. Jenn Hinton - July 23, 2009

This is hysterical! I actually just offloaded quite a few on Craigslist and at a garage sale. I too saved many, for the same reasons that you described, especially BABY ones! Good luck my friend!

4. Another year crumbles, but no regrets « Stellavision - July 27, 2009

[…] it, trying to get my head around a new number on its way—45. I’ll be owning it soon—perhaps an opportunity to collect more gift bags. Trust me though, I’m not whining. I’m just increasingly sensitive to how the march of time […]

5. Frank Battaglia - July 29, 2009

Well, I’m glad–cheapskate that I am–I asked if you wouldn’t mind surrendering the bag I brought your birthday gift in last year. I feel lame just typing that, but I’m a firm believer in acting “green”.

Yeah, I’m not buying it either…

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