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The Gift Wrapping Problem: It's What's on the Inside that Counts

Blog Post Gift ImageThe Gift Wrapping Problem (GWP) arises when we have no wrapping paper left, refuse to buy it because the price is horrendous, or can’t find any wrapping paper that actually looks good. The Gift Wrapping Problem is synonymous with the question: “how am I going to wrap this gift?” which some people answer by buying Christmas paper in the Boxing Day specials and using it as an all-purpose gift wrap (nothing says “Happy Birthday” quite as well as “Merry Christmas”, after all). But if you’re tired of the tackiness, then I’m here today to offer other solutions to the infamous issue.

In Kindergarten, my twin brother and I were very enthusiastic painters. Because we were so young, though, our paintings left quite a lot to be desired, by which I mean that they weren’t of anything in particular. When asked what we’d painted, we might’ve convincingly argued for its case of being a butterfly, but our lack of hand-eye coordination skills and frank disinterest in actually painting a thing meant that our artistic forays resulted in nothing more than a mess of paint on a piece of paper. If you were lucky, we might have even used more than one colour.

Mum was very quickly flooded by our masterpieces, and soon there was no wall space left for her to stick them to. Before their rampant population overflowed the drawers and cupboards, she began to use them as wrapping paper. It was a cheap, simple and (debatably) attractive way of showing off her (debatably) talented children while simultaneously solving the Gift Wrapping Problem.

If you don’t have children and don’t think you can match the high level of artistic skill of my brother and I; there are plenty of other options for gift-wrapping available to you. A simple option is to keep and reuse old wrapping papers, or make them into a delightful (and potentially garish) patchwork to cover those unwieldy, bigger presents. You can also re-use old newspapers, boxes or brown paper bags as packaging, which is good for the wallet AND the environment! If they make your gift look boring, then things like ribbons, stamps and stickers can really make your present pop (if it still looks terrible, then remember that small children make great scapegoats and consider finding one to serve this purpose).

The easiest way to keep the Gift Wrapping Problem from getting the better of you is to worry a little bit less about the wrapping of your gift. While wrapping itself may be needed to prevent younger family members from sneaking a peek, or to heighten surprise by putting a minor obstacle between a person and their gift, consider whether fancy gift-wrapping is necessary. If it’s for the prime minister then yes, you might want it to look fancy, but if the gift is for a family member or a friend, then fancy gift-wrapping may be unnecessary.  Personally, if someone gives me a present with such beautiful gift-wrapping that I feel it would be better off in an art gallery than on my floor, then I feel terrible when I tear it off.

What’s more, is the gift I wrap in fancy paper going to be shown up by its fancy outfit? I mean, will the wrapping raise the recipient’s expectations? Do I want the packaging to promise on my behalf that there’s something better inside it than a chocolate bar with an IOU scribbled on a post-it note?

I don’t think so.

Gifts are just like people: it doesn’t matter what’s on the outside; what matters is what’s on the inside. If what’s inside is a post-it note stuck to a chocolate bar of dubious condition, then no amount of gold-plated gift-wrapping is going to make them thank you for “such a thoughtful gift”. Similarly, a diamond ring isn’t going to receive condescension just because it was wrapped in a handkerchief (as long as it’s a clean one).

If you remember the variety of simple solutions available to you next time the Gift Wrapping Problem rears its ugly head in your face, you should be able to wave the beast away without panic. Imagination is your greatest weapon against the Gift Wrapping Problem, but, if it does go horribly, horribly wrong, simply remember the comforting fact: “wrapping does not a gift make”.

That’s a wrap!

(Ho ho, didn’t see that one coming)

Yours effervescently,
Resident Blurber
Gift Box Illustration

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