Do your gift wrapping skills get an A+?

Watching this video the other day made me recall how bad I am at wrapping gifts.

While I am generally great at the whole arts and crafts thing, somehow, my gift wrapping skills would never get an A+.

When I first started working at the flower shop, it was super easy. We wrapped plants’ pots in material where I basically had a square piece of material that I placed the pot in the middle of, went around its sides gathering up the material and stapling it together, then added a ribbon to conceal said staples and that was it.
No fine lines, no issues about it not being symmetrical, it looked good no matter what.

At this other shop however, where people needed merchandise gift wrapped several times every day… I avoided it as much as possible. I wasn’t even good at wrapping boxes – I know, they have all symmetrical sides and everything, yet, I was a disaster.
I did my best to work the cash register, go help someone get a box from the highest of shelves (that also involved needing a ladder, which I had to bring out from the storage room – awesome stalling technique!), do elaborate calculus for how much it’d cost to change the curtains and drapes in an entire house, try to catch a mouse (okay, just that one time, but it was fun!), replace the tape in the dispensers, search for scissors unnecessarily, etc.

For the first three months, I always underestimated how much wrapping paper I needed. My colleagues quickly picked up on the fact and first checked the drawers, and used up my mis-cut pieces of paper.
And on the odd occasions that I did cut enough paper and the two sides not even simply met, but also folded over each other, the paper either a) ripped during my next moves, or if not b) it looked sort of like what a bomb might look like when wrapped in gift-wrap. (I’m guessing the fact that it might explode in any second is why they’re not wrapped prettily with nice sharp edges. Feel free to chime in if you’ve ever wrapped one.) ;)
Other than that, I tried to redirect, so my first question toward customers was "We have all these beautiful gift bags, would you like that instead of the single-colored paper?” This worked 70% of the time. As for the remaining 30% of the time, I’m sure the customers regretted not taking me up on my offer. My colleague A. and I used to joke that after finishing wrapping the gift we would’ve been entitled to say “I tried to warn you.”

With time, I got better, even odd shaped objects started getting easier to wrap. But to this day, if I don’t have to and unless it’s a box, gifts I give go in a gift bag or decorative box one can reuse.
Seems funny now, but just to avoid wrapping something myself in the past, I’ve given gifts in jars, learned how to make my own newspaper gift bags and had my grandmother sew fabric Christmas gift bags we have used every year since.

So now I’m wondering: are you as bad a gift wrapping as I am, or are you great at it? If the latter, here’s another question – how in the world do you achieve it?

6 Comments to “Do your gift wrapping skills get an A+?”

  1. I’m not a great gift wrapper, though I’ve gotten better over the years. I like using bags, or even gift boxes……. maybe add a bow or stuff in some tissue paper. While I still try to use paper every so often, especially for my niece as the whole fun is ripping the gift open, I’ve convinced myself that using paper is a waste. You can re-use bags and boxes but paper not so much.

    • There is just something to knowing others feel kind of the same about their girt wrapping skills ;)
      For a child, there is much joy in ripping the gift open, and I agree with you that bags and boxes one can re-use are the best and my very firs choice. Having worked with people buying presents on a daily basis however, I can state that 90% of the people buying there wanted the paper… I think it’s kind of sad not to think about the ones on the receiving end who might just also feel that using paper is a waste.

  2. Love the YT video~ I have my moments with wrapping – I can sometimes do it well and other times I bomb out. It really depends on my mood, I think. (Or maybe who I’m wrapping the gift for?)

    My favourite type of wrapping is wrapping to conceal the “obvious” gift inside. I guess it’s part of my family tradition – trying to confuse the recipient! For example, one gift that I received for Christmas was a *huge* box (think: 60x30x30 cm) filled with shredded paper and I had to find my “gift”. The hidden gift turned out to be a plastic ring (the cheap toy kind that a child might play with for a few days) – which then turned into a real ring that wasn’t in the box. One that I wrapped was a brass elephant (2 kg of brass, too!) in a cooler bag with lots of scrunched up paper using the theme of colours from elephant habitats, e.g. green beneath, blue around, stars above. My theory was that it was so hot here that the elephant needed to be kept cool and calm inside a cooler bag… I don’t know that this classifies as “wrapping” though!

    I agree with Mark, too, about paper being a waste – it so often doesn’t get used again or people just tear into it to get to the present. It also doesn’t help that wrapping paper is usually cheap here – cheaper than gift bags or boxes. However, I like gift bags and boxes because they are easily reused and still look great after a few different reuses! :D

    • Mood and recipient are definitely factors in my own success with gift wrapping, too :)
      And I love that idea – wrapping to conceal the obvious gift inside to confuse the recipient. Sounds really fun! And that elephant “wrapping” of yours: genius!

      Like I just said in my comment to Mark, unfortunately, I saw people were not really trying to care that recipients might also think of the use of paper as a waste. And as you’ve said, paper is cheap here as well, in fact, it was free at the store. That’s why I was proud of my “wouldn’t you like this bag better?” tactic ;)

  3. I’m pretty good at wrapping and have become rather awesome at bows after decades of practice. [we will take a pause while my arm stops hurting from patting myself on the back ]

    That said, I do remember two very trying wrapping events. One was the first time I was faced with wrapping a football. — the American kind, not a soccer ball — picture trying to wrap a VERY large almond and have it not be immediately identifiable…. The second was when someone else had procrastinated and I had to wrap a gift IN THE CAR on the way to an event. I distinctly remember writing “merry christmas dammit” on the package….. hee hee hee

    • Is there anything you’re not good at, Karen? You’re Wonder Woman in my books!
      That is some great achievement there; as previously stated, I can’t wrap gifts well, so I have no idea what I’d do with a football or trying to wrap something in the car! That Christmas greeting is something I’d definitely write on the gifts though in similar situations ;)

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