Day 12 - Wrapping presents: from mindless to mindful

Day 12

In mindfulness training we talk about ‘drainers and sustainers’ – and any job can fit either definition. Drainers are tasks that we have to do, but from which we gain no enjoyment or lasting value, they deplete us and can make us stressed. Sustainers are the activities that make us feel better for doing them, the life-enhancing things that we enjoy.

So when you think of wrapping presents, do you expect a drainer or a sustainer? It is possible to turn one into the other. Maybe you love present-wrapping but feel you haven’t got time to do it properly – it will drain you because you will feel annoyed at a job done poorly. And even if the very idea of wrapping fills you with boredom, it could become something that gives you lasting reward.

Be mindful as you wrap. Think clearly about what you have in your hands, the colour of the paper, the sound of the scissors as they cut, the silky feel of ribbon running through your fingers. Feel the paper and notice whether it is smooth or rough, warm or cool. Take a moment to focus on what is inside the present, and who you are wrapping it for. A mindful task is one done with your full awareness, to the best of your ability. Wrapping doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, but it should be done with love and care. Match the ribbon to the paper, add a flourish when you sign a tag, even a tiny sprig of green from your garden will make the present extra special.