Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gift Wrapping

I have a sister in law who loves the process of wrapping presents. In fact, I believe that she personally keeps 3M in business with her use of Scotch Tape. Her “trademark” wrapping includes making sure that all seams are completely taped shut. Pocket knives are a must on Christmas morning when opening her presents. Since she loves wrapping so much she thinks nothing of sitting for hours upon hours wrapping her presents.

I, on the other hand, hate wrapping presents. On the flip side I really do like my gifts to be beautifully presented. Quite the conundrum isn’t it? Over the years I have handled gift wrapping in a multitude of ways. I have….
  • Outsourced the wrapping to charities
  • Begged and pleaded accepted my parents offer to assist with wrapping on Christmas Eve. Of course this entailed staying up until almost midnight to finish and copious amounts of hot chocolate and cookies
  • Nagged politely asked my husband for help
  • Spent a fortune in gift bags, eliminating the need to wrap anything
  • Spent hours wrapping with coordinated wrapping paper and matching bows. All the while whining and complaining about the monumental task I was faced with.
 It should come as no surprise given my eclectic method of getting my gifts wrapped that there are numerous comments Christmas morning at my in laws as to the stressfulness of my Christmas season. They can tell whether I was “together” or not by how my presents are wrapped.

At work I tell people that if they are faced with a situation they don’t like they have two options. 1) They can change the situation or 2) they can change their attitude. This year I have decided to change my attitude as well as change the situation. Here is what I’ve done.
  • Bought my wrapping paper, ribbons and bows early (like while shopping for my Halloween candy) so I was prepared when I wanted to start wrapping.
  • Wrap my presents as I buy them instead of waiting until I’m done shopping. I waited until I had a few gifts and then held a wrapping party for myself.
  • Let go of the anger and frustration from not getting help. My husband doesn’t like wrapping so why force the issue? I do know that if I get to the point where I really need the help he will pitch in. However, I need to be content that the wrapping quality will not be on par with what I would do.
  • Take advantage of downtime in front of the TV. The other day we watched The Prestige on TV. Instead of lying on the couch, I pulled out my wrapping supplies. Wrapping presents while keeping my mind occupied with the movie helped it go much faster.
 In addition to the changes I implemented, I have developed some sure fire ways to make wrapping easier. Here is a little bit of my wrapping wisdom.
  • Before starting, make sure you have enough of the appropriate supplies conveniently stored. I personally like to use a shoebox to store the following items:
    • Writing utensils
    • Tape
    • Scissors
    • Name tags
In a handled shopping bag I store my ribbons and bow. Wrapping paper is stored in a special wrapping paper zipped bag I bought a number of years ago. All these supplies are kept together in a convenient location.
  • Buy quality paper and tape. I’m not saying you need to buy top of the line, but cheap paper tends to rip easily. Having to tape up tears in the paper is frustrating and wasteful. Plus, if your tape is difficult to tear or doesn’t want to stick that isn’t saving you time or money.
  • Don’t buy pretty paper that has glitter on it. In case you didn’t know, tape does not like to stick to glitter plus glitter likes to get all over and resists vacuuming. While the paper may be gorgeous, not having tape stick can make the process of using it to wrap presents rather stressful.
  • Don’t wrap odd size packages as is. If an item is oddly shaped or not in a box, I put it in a different box to wrap. I have found that shoe boxes, check boxes and shirt boxes tend to be the best shape to wrap. Added bonus is that if you put your package in another box the shape is disguised and less likely to be guess.
 At the end of the day, my best advice is to do what works best for you. If that means outsourcing your wrapping or using brown paper grocery bags stapled at the top, then so be it. Whatever you have to do to take the stress out is what you need to do.

How do you handle gift wrapping in your house?

You might also like:

Shopping Wisely
De-Stressing the Season
Carrot Cookie Recipe
Popcorn Balls


  1. Personally, I am someone who likes to wrap. I have gotten 'less fancy' in recent years. Also, like you, I've wrapped BEFORE Christmas Eve... lol

    Just one question... And how do you know that glitter paper gets all over & tape doesn't stick? Hmmmm? *grin, wink*

  2. I like to take the multi-tasking approach as well. I don't really like wrapping, but I LOVE watching reality TV- so I shut myself in a room w/ a "do not disturb" sign, and watch my favorite shows while trying to get the wrapping done :)

  3. Livin' in Duckville - yeah, that wasn't a good year for me. I had bought beautiful chocolate colored paper with gold glitter trees with chocolate colored velvet bows and ribbons. Let's just say that half the presents looked nice and half of them got a mish mash of whatever. My dad helped me that year and refused to use the paper it was such a pain :) Can I send you my presents to wrap next year?

    AlexisAnne - It's amazing how much more pleasant a task can be when you have something else to occupy your mind. Wonder if the "do not disturb" sign would be a good way to get some quiet time the rest of the year.....

  4. I like to use gift bags most of the time! lol Not a pretty, but definitely easier. :)

  5. Jenni - whatever it takes to get the job done! There have been plenty of times I've used gift bags and will again if I have to.

    My daughter still comments about one gift a couple of years ago that I forgot to wrap so I gave it to her with a plastic table wrapped around it! I asked her if she would have preferred not to get the gift at all, of course at that point she was fine with the wrap job :)