Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Tag: decorations

Tape Obsession

I don’t have a tape obsession. I just like buying washi tape on sale, even when I think I won’t need it right away. That’s how I ended up with 767 rolls of it (I counted yesterday). I’m definitely not hoarding anything because I use washi tape on stationary fairly liberally and I actually finish rolls with some regularity. I just happen to obtain them faster than I can use them, I guess.

My inadvertent washi tape collection is more of a result of my postcard hobby more than anything else. I know you don’t need washi tape on postcards. All you need is the postcard itself, a writing utensil to write your message and the address you’re sending it to, and stamps. (One might argue that stamps aren’t even necessary. Technically, you could just go to the post office and have your neighborhood postal worker slap a metered sticker on it.) But  somewhere along the way, I discovered you could put washi tape on a postcard and make the message side of it seem a bit more lively.

There are some people who are obviously very old school when it comes to postcards. It must be a certain size. It has to be a tourist card made in your location. It must be handwritten (cursive, of course). And the stamps must be “beautiful” (whatever that means) and be stuck on there with the old style gum adhesive that a lot of countries have already abandoned in favor of the sticker. Washi tape, stickers, stamp art, colored pens other than blue or black, postcards made of anything but paper or just a centimeter too wide or long–which old school postcard enthusiasts consider absolutely verboten. So if I’m sending a postcard to one of these people, I do stick to the bare minimum. Except for the stamps. I use the most recent I have available and if they gnash their teeth and scream to the heavens that it’s yet another sticker stamp, well, too bad. The other ones aren’t easily obtained any more.

As for everyone else, I decorate. I am no artist or designer, but there’s a certain satisfaction with turning the blank white side of a postcard into a pop of color. It’s my chance to put my own imprint onto the postcard in a visual message, rather than a verbal one. And washi tape helps achieve that in a fun and easy way. Taping things can be relaxing, too.  But I view this more as a postcard adjacent activity rather than something that I would just do for its own sake. If washi tape didn’t exist, I would be busy doing some other type of decoration and I don’t think my enjoyment of writing a postcard would be any less.

Unlike some washi tape fans, I do not have a favorite brand. I am barely aware of brands, to be honest. Mostly when I see washi tape in a store, I first look at the price and then the length of each roll. And then I calculate whether or not it’s worth it. This is why I typically buy washi tapes in sets rather than in individual rolls. And I’m sure I’ll find a use for whatever designs happen to be in those sets.

Anyways, to end this long rambling post about stationary, I’m including a picture of some washi tape with cute designs below. If you have ever bought washi tape, how did you choose the ones that you purchased? What do you do with your washi tape? Has your washi tape stash turned into a collection hoard rather than a working stock? Or are you totally new to the world of washi tape?

Gift Wrapping

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays–whatever you celebrate or not, I wish all of you who read this the best. If you decide to read on, I’ll be blabbering about gift wrapping because, well, why not.

Frankly, I hate gift wrapping. I can do it, but certainly not as efficiently as a clerk in a Japanese department store. Instead, I use gift bags whenever possible. No fuss, no muss. And people really only care about the gift anyway. As a bonus, you can save the environment and reuse the bag. Wrapping takes too much effort–the results of which will end up in the trash anyway. Anyone insisting that using wrapping paper is more virtuous than a gift bag is someone who clearly values arbitrary traditions over other people’s time or the enormity of their carbon footprint.

I was also reminded of the futility of gift wrapping after watching the SNL skit “Christmas Morning.” To be honest, that skit made me more angry and sad rather than amused. There’s just something about the holidays that make some people even more selfish than usual. And as for the people who try to make it awesome for everyone else? More likely than not, they are the least rewarded.

On a related note: decorations. I don’t do these either. When I got a flyer at the beginning of December from property management at my apartment complex about a holiday decorating contest, that flyer went right into the recycling bin. I am not spending any money on something that will only benefit other people’s sense of aesthetics. When people have asked me about decorating my home for Christmas, I simply reply, “I’m thinking about it.” Sometimes I’m conflict adverse and I don’t want to get into an argument with someone who will insist that I must put up a Christmas tree in my living room. And that if I don’t do so, I’m living a sad and depressing life.

I guess ultimately, I don’t really understand people’s obsession with the glittery veneer of the holidays and the urge to show off how awesome their holiday is–that despite the pandemic their life is still perfect and Instagrammable. And that includes the wrapped gifts, the photogenic dinner spreads, the smiling cherubic faces. It’s an extraordinary effort for a fantasy. Maybe I’m too practical, but I prefer dealing with reality where I’m sleeping as much as my cat, watching too many Youtube videos, and eating a pizza just because I can.