I don't really consider myself to be a "complainer." Sure, I make observations of the "woe is me variety" sometimes. Life can be hard; but, honestly, I tend to try to find the silver lining in most situations. But here's the the thing: my time is valuable, if I, as a consumer, purchase something that I have an expectation will, in some way, make my life easier (or help me portray myself as fabulous, whatever), then that something should live up to expectation, no? Especially when said something is a paper product.
Okay, here's the deal. We are all busy at this time of the year. If you are a parent, or if you are crafty, or if you are just a nutter who goes insane with the baking this time of the year, you are probably making consumable treats. This is the activity I found myself doing at 8 last night after working at the library all day, going to the grocery store, cooking dinner, and saying goodnight to my kids (see what I did there, I illustrated why my time is valuable--it's a fun game, you should do it too). For me it was shortbread cookies to go with some mango and lime jam I canned during the summer (I would like to think Martha would approve). For whatever reason, I thought this would be a suitable teacher's gift this year (with the addition of flash or cash as appropriate, obviously...because teachers are awesome (say it with me: teachers are awesome!).
So you make your holiday treats, bag it, people they are Christmas cookies. I am calling them Christmas cookies, call them what you want, I am calling them Christmas cookies... Anyway, you have your cookies which you have slaved over to produce as Christmas gifts and you need something to put them in... If you are like me, you want simple, elegant, refined...small. And again, if you are like me, something like Martha Stewart's new line of treat boxes are probably going to be right up your alley. It's not really a secret: I am a huge fan of Martha Stewart. I love that domestic craftiness is her business and her "thing." She has made a fortune doing something she loves; and, that is cool. But also, she sets a ridiculously high standard for domestic perfection which I find hilarious, but that in no way stops me from trying to attain the unrealistic perfection that Martha (and her minions, staffers, whatever) try to convince me that I can achieve with their beautiful styling and artistic product photography.
This treat box is a paper product...PAPER. It basically pops out and is folded down to resemble a milk carton, of sorts (a really beautiful and fancypants milk carton, but there you are). There are "creases" in the box that are supposed to fold, presumably, easily to help form the box so you can tie it closed with a provided white bow (thank you, Martha) and then pat yourself on the back.
Okay, let's talk logistics here. First off, the holes that the ribbons go through...um, is it that hard to just go that extra mile and punch out the holes at the factory before you pack them? Because having to do it myself required a chopstick, which, I have one, because, hi, I am part Asian and eat Asian food with chopsticks...but it was still a pain...and messy. Some of the little circles ended up in the box with the goodies and I had to empty the boxes and start all over. This took a great deal of TIME.
Those creases. Which, let's be honest, they are really useless indentations, because I had to force the folds in, which required a great deal of finessing; and, the extra care I utilized in folding the boxes still gave me some weird buckles and bulges in the finished box. This was the point where I considered trying to figure out Martha's Connecticut address, it can't be that far away from me. I have information skills that allow me to do that sort of thing, but I don't want to be a stalker; and, it was getting late. But, seriously? RAGE. As the Dyson guy says, "the thing should just work." Especially when it is a PAPER PRODUCT.
The size. This is more an observation than a complaint. If you have large hands, forget it. Do yourself a favor and just buy something else. It is next to impossible to get the treats into the box, and you are supposed to do so in an orderly fashion...with layers of paper (provided, again thank you, Martha)...but no more than 48. I don't have man hands or anything (not that there is a problem if you do, particularly if you are a man, obviously), but I had a considerable amount of difficulty getting my cookies into the boxes. If you don't have tiny hands, or are older than 10, you are probably going to have some problems too.
And that ribbon. This is another observation. I can not blame Martha, or anyone else, for my lack of skills in the bow-tie-ing department. The ribbons is, really, a nice touch. I am glad it's provided, but here is the thing, there should be some kind of disclaimer that the consumer's ribbon may, in no way, resemble the ribbon as tied and photographed in the product sheet. Seriously, how long did the stylist work to get that ribbon just so? I am betting the stylist and photographer used glue to position the ribbon. I have had a few classes in product photography and what I know now makes me feel so much better about myself, it really does. But again, a disclaimer would have saved me some time last night. I was trying to reach the ludicrous standard of perfection, and then at 1 in the morning, I just figured it was good enough. And really, it was.
With all that being said, those little treat boxes are a good idea...just know what you are getting into (a frustrating time suck, I am not going to lie to you). They are elegant, but also cute (it's because of the size...most small things are usually called cute as well); and, instead of giving someone a dozen cookies, you can get by with giving them half a dozen...or eight cookies. Which can slash your baking. And here is the thing: your kid's teacher, probably doesn't want a dozen cookies from you (or me) anyways...unless you are Martha Stewart or are, in some way, related to Martha Stewart and she is making them for you. Or, if you were a world-renowned pastry chef, that would probably warrant a dozen cookies too, right? Sure.