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Holiday Heroes…The Seasonal Gift Wrappers

December 16, 2010
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On occasion I enjoy wrapping gifts.

Give me a roll or two of wrapping paper, a variety of bows and curling ribbons and I can have a fabulous time sitting by the Christmas tree with music playing in the background and a delicious hot toddy close at hand.  The nice part of this scenario?  I have a small family so don’t have that many gifts to wrap and, if I get tired of it, I can stop for the evening.  But the Seasonal Gift Wrapper keeps the frenzied pace going during the mad rush of holiday shopping.

You’ve seen them in the department stores or stationed in the center court at the mall.  While taking care of the tired and cranky shoppers who are standing in queue, the Seasonal Gift Wrapper must have a creative flair, lightening speed, and the manual dexterity necessary to flawlessly wrap a football so that little Justin won’t be able to tell it’s a football until he opens it.

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I had two friends who worked in the Gift Wrap department at JCPenney while in college – I think back in the day they earned about $4.50 per hour.  In addition to their willingness to work long and demanding retail hours, they also had great stamina, an uncanny knack for matching the right-paper-to-the-right-bow, and a willingness to STILL wrap gifts in their off-hours.

My most demanding gift wrapping activities occurred when I worked for a non-profit organization that served families and children.  Throughout the year we collected donated toys, household items, clothes, etc.  A number of local churches held gift-drives for our agency and, as a result of the generosity of their parishioners, we received thousands of donated gifts for our families.  Prior to Christmas it was all hands on deck for our staff members.  We set up gift wrapping stations and all of us literally spent days wrapping and tagging.   The most wonderful part of this yearly adventure was when we hosted a HUGE party, complete with food, games, craft tables for the kids and, of course, a visit from Santa to distribute the gifts.

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According to SnagAJob, retail employers usually increase their workforce by at least 4% just for the holiday gift-buying rush.   Earlier this year, SnagAJob conducted a survey at the start of the seasonal-hiring rush which indicated that hourly, seasonal hiring levels were expected to increase 26% from 2009 levels.   And just 2 days ago, the National Retail Federation revised its holiday retail sales forecast and is now projecting a 3.3% jump in holiday sales compared to sales in 2009.  More confident consumers with some positive economic indicators is projected to translate to additional holiday retail spending.

Which means more gifts to wrap. Which means more last-minute hiring needs for Seasonal Gift Wrappers.

Maybe I can pick up a few shifts?  Or maybe not.

I’ll leave that to the Holiday Heroes we salute today – the Seasonal Gift Wrappers!

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