Here’s a roll of holiday wrapping paper I bought at Papyrus for Christmas in 2003. “Lots of presents to wrap,” I thought to myself back then, “better get three big rolls.”
But I had overestimated my wrapping needs, and ended up using only about half of one roll that Christmas. Ever since then, this has been my standard gift wrap for everyone, and so it shall be till it all runs out. I’m down to a roll and a half at this point, but I’ve been getting lazy and just using gift bags, so I may be with these snowmen for several Christmases to come yet.
At first glance the wrapping paper would seem to present to us a fairly idyllic, whimsical winter holiday scene: snowflakes, trees, anthropomorphized snowmen dressed in casual winter wear, doing various things. But there are dark, hidden messages lurking amidst the cozy outdoor setting. Let’s take a closer look:
These snowmen are performing a common winter task: sawing wood. Why are they sawing wood? At this time of year wood is used primarily for making fires. But these are snowmen. Snowmen should be deathly afraid of fires. Suddenly the smiles on their faces take on a more sinister, morbid aspect. Are they preparing for themselves the quickest path to a watery grave? Or are they preparing it for someone else? Maybe this guy…
This snowman sitting in an easy chair would appear to be watching television. But wait. Look again. That’s not a working TV — it’s an empty TV casing, complete with rabbit ears, with the back cut out, and a potted flower placed behind the glass. Get that? This snowman is smiling at a fake, hollowed-out TV with a plant in it. And that plant’s looking pretty healthy for the dead of winter, which means it’s fake too. “Flower” here looks to be a few snow bricks short of an igloo, if you know what I mean. I get the impression that the two Happy Wood Choppers up there are a bit tired of his crazy, idle ways, and might just be planning to cut short his entertainment with an early thaw — perhaps to them, an act of kind mercy.
So what implicitly morbid scenes are on your gift wrappers this Christmas?