Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Wrapping 101

So the holidays are over and it has me thinking things I have never thought before. And no, I am not talking about resolutions. I am talking about philosophies. I am talking about ways of living. Things that will change your life. Things like ...

Wrapping paper.

That's right. Wrapping paper. I was talking to a friend of mine and realized that I have a philosophy of wrapping gifts. This post will be dedicated to this philosophy and the basic tenets which should become part of my mind-challenging treatise.

The basic focus of wrapping gifts is this: the wrapping of a gift should be to disguise what it is. If you are giving a bicycle and you wrap it like it has a skin of paper on it, that isn't doing anything other than pissing off the recipient of the bike. You are taking away the thrill of unwrapping if you do that.

The sub-focus of wrapping gifts is this: everyone says that the gift is less important than the thought. If you want to be cliche, it goes like this - "It's the thought that counts." Well, the thought should apply to the wrapping as well.

With that said, putting gifts into shirt boxes when they aren't articles of clothing is just lazy. ESPECIALLY if the box itself is one of those holiday-themed printed boxes. There isn't even any wrapping paper involved in that. Save that shit for your Secret Santa or a gift you want to give to your boss. Giving those boxes to someone you supposedly care about only says, "I couldn't be bothered to actually wrap a gift for you, but I didn't spend a dollar on a crappy box."

Additionally, having something "professionally" wrapped or wrapped by a group who set up a folding table at the front of a store is really tacky. Why don't you just have your assistant go out, pick out some random perfume set, have it professionally wrapped at the store, and then have her drop it at the post office on the way back to the office. You won't even have to see the gift or know what it is . Yet you will have given a gift, you lazy ass.

Speaking of lazy, let's talk gift cards. I know lots of people swear by them. But to me, nothing says, "I don't care enough to try to put the slightest bit of thought into a gift for you, so do it yourself" more than a gift card. The only exception is if a gift card is given for a specific store or purpose to which only the gift-giver and gift-receiver are privy. Only in those narrow circumstances does a gift card not ring hollow for me.

And if you wrap a gift card in one of those special gift card boxes, you suck. If you put it in a shirt box just to be funny, I will fling the gift card at you like a ninja star and hope it lodges in your neck.

But back to wrapping. How should things be wrapped? Well, as I said, gifts should be wrapped so that the person getting the gift doesn't know what it is. It should disguise the actual gift. But in a creative way. If the gift is already in a box-shaped casing, then it is easy to wrap. But if the shape is a common shape, like a CD, you may want to do some different things with the wrapping. Otherwise the person will know it is a CD. Or, find a way to wrap other gifts inside CD cases. This is one method.

If the gift is spherical, don't be a wussy and put it in a box to wrap. Wrap it the way it is! Do you know how hard it is to wrap a sphere? It is really hard! And your gift-recipient will know that as well. And they will appreciate the effort.

But there is more to it than just wrapping it the way it is... Sometimes things are just not plausible to wrap normally. To that I say... so what? Remember, the main purpose is to complete wrap and disguise the gift. It doesn't need to look pretty. So if you have some scraps of paper left over from a different roll of wrapping paper, use them to fill in any gaps. Hell, use the wrapping paper cardboard roll to help wrap (but make sure to draw a Christmas tree or jingle bells or something on it to make it more festive). There have been presents I have wrapped that have included at least 4 different kinds of wrapping paper on them. Sure, it looks like a Frankenstein-monster of a wrapped gift, but it also distracts the recipient from knowing what the gift is... thus fulfilling the purpose of the wrapping (disguising the gift).

I also subscribe to the Native American viewpoint of waste not want not. If I kill a buffalo, I am going to eat it, use its fur for clothing, sharpen its bones into tools, etc. The same goes with wrapping presents. Including those little "To: and From:" sticker labels. Once you use all of those stickers, you are still left with a page of sticky outlines. Why would you throw that away? That makes a perfect little decoration for presents!

Speaking of decorations for presents... leave the stupid bows off the gift! The ones that you wrap around the gift and tie yourself are nothing more than strangulation hazards for young children and cats. And the ones with the sticky backs are the bane of my existence. Seriously, I think they are included just to mess with my fragile mind. They always fall off! They are STUPID colors! Most of them have a dumb little staple in them which winds up getting lodged in a small pet's intestines! Man, I hate those things! Almost as much as glitter. But most of the time glitter is not on the outside of the gift. But if you send me a card with glitter on it, expect some of the glitter to still be on me come July. It is my arch-nemesis. And, fair warning, if you are one of those jokesters who like to send cards and put them in the envelope backwards so that the glitter you dumped in the card will fall out when it is opened... I will find you. I will kill you. And your funeral will have to be closed casket.

Back to wrapping... The final, and possibly most important, thing to know about wrapping a present is tape. There is no such thing as too much tape. Just use normal tape though. Packing tape says you are trying too hard to be a dick. Just use regular old transparent tape. Buy a three pack at a dollar store to use. But make sure you don't have any left once the wrapping is complete. (See previous buffalo analogy.) If something is hard to wrap, tape will be your best friend! If it takes a while to rip into a gift, that only builds the anticipation and ultimately makes the recipient appreciate the gift that much more.

Have you ever seen those people who measure the wrapping paper out, cut it using a ruler or one of those electric scissor things, fold the edges so you don't see the cut paper, use double-sided tape so that you don't even see the INVISIBLE tape, and then put a bow strategically on the top of the immaculately wrapped present? You know who I am talking about? Yes, them. They are the devil. Feel free to throw Holy Water on them.

Oh... I almost forgot, one last item to share... If you tape the wrapping paper to the present itself, you are just asking to be tarred and feathered. I'm serious. If you have ever tried to rip open some wrapping to get to that cool toy you are just sure is in there, and the damn paper is taped to the toy, you know that you will shake and pull at that paper until the toy goes flying across the room and breaks into a million pieces along with the living room bay window. All because you couldn't stand for the gift to be a little off-center, you OCD piece of coal....

So, the holidays are over for a while. That gives me some time to spread my message of wrapping to the world. If you wish to assist, I appreciate it. Until then, happy wrapping!

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