Each gift — one by one — wrapped to perfection with ribbons and bows, ready to be placed under the Christmas tree.
Not everyone is good at wrapping the perfect present or would rather not want the hassle — and if that is the case, you are in luck. Brainerd Community Action is wrapping presents daily at the Westgate Mall. The nonprofit organization has wrapped presents for the community for the past 10 years and the profits go to organize the Fourth of July Celebration.
“Before Brainerd Community Action gift wrapped presents, the senior center did it and I helped them then,” said Nancy Cross, Brainerd Community Action director. “We are at the mall everyday until Christmas. We have everything from boxes, wrapping paper, ribbons and bows and tags.”
Community Action will be wrapping presents at the mall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 22; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 23; and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 24.
Cross said her daughter Rachel Cross is helping her wrap the presents, but said other groups have stepped up to help, including a church group and a local band called GraveDancer.
Cross said anyone is welcome to volunteer to help wrap presents. Anyone interested can call Cross at 829-9079.
“People will bring us everything from five golden rings to a partridge in a pear tree,” Cross said with a laugh. “We’ve wrapped pretty much everything, big and small. A few of the bigger things I wrapped was a 6-foot book shelf and a 52-inch TV.”
Cross wrapped an engagement ring for a gentleman, where she wrapped the ring in stacked boxes, with the ring in the smallest box. Cross said she enjoys wrapping presents for people.
“People put a lot of thought in their gifts and they want them to look nice,” said Cross. “And we’re OK with people telling their family and friends that they wrapped the gift themselves ... It’s our little secret.”
People who want their gifts wrapped can drop them off and do their shopping while Community Action wraps their presents. Or they can leave it with them and pick it up on another day they scheduled with Cross. The goal of the gift wrapping fundraiser is to raise $2,500. Cross said they’ve made their goal, but each year is different.
“It all depends on the year,” said Cross. “We started this Dec. 8 and we’ll go everyday until Christmas Eve Day. We’ll stay here until the last gift is wrapped.
“Some people bring in grocery carts of gifts that need to be wrapped.”
Suggested donations for gift wrapping are: $3.50 for a small box; $5.50 for a shirt box; $8 for robe boxes; $10 and up for larger boxes.
“Doing this for the community is like social hour for me,” said Cross. “I get to see so many people coming and going and I hear so many stories.
“I meet the most interesting people.”