If you're an overachiever (and we know so many of you are), you've already bought all of your gifts. But you're not done. You still need to wrap them. Whether big or small, bought or homemade, your gifts will cry out for some decorative and festive paper applied in a slick and orderly fashion. But some of us are a bit wrapper-challenged. No matter how hard we try, our gifts turn out looking less than perfect. Fear not: we've put together a helpful guide. Just follow these 8 easy steps and next thing you know people will be calling you Martha Stewart (and they'll mean it as a compliment).
Step 1: The Box
If the gift comes pre-packaged in a rectangular shaped box, you're done! No actually, you can just skip to step 2. If your gift doesn't come in a box, like if you bought your mom an assortment of gardening tools, then find a box to put them into. Make sure the box fits the size of the gift. We all know it's hilarious to put a tiny gift inside a giant box, but don't do it. Just don't. Note: If you can't find a box that works, forget about the wrapping altogether and just go for a gift bag.
Step 2: The Paper
It's nice to use wrapping paper that matches the season. You can find some really fabulous, elegant stuff this time of year--but it's expensive. So instead of blowing all your hard-earned cash on pretty wood-pulp, opt for the cheap stuff at your local drug store and make it look classy by selecting something with a little shine. Metallics = expensive (looking). And if you spent all your dough on gifts, just use whatever your parents have in the "gift wrapping" stash (that Transformers stuff will be fine). DO NOT use pages from your French textbook as wrapping paper, no matter how desperate you are or how much you hate French.
Step 3: Get Organized
Find a large, flat space—a kitchen table usually works well, but make sure it's clean. You don't want spare bits of macaroni finding their way into your gift. Along with wrapping paper make sure you have scissors and some clear tape. Pull off a few 2-3 inch tape strips and hang them on the edge of the table so you can easily grab them. Also, if you have a lot of gifts, try to find yourself a magical elf to help out. Or just enlist a sibling.
Step 4: Make the Cut
The biggest wrapping mistake is using too much paper, which will make your gift look sloppy. To find out how much you should use, unroll or unfold some paper and set your box in the middle of it with the largest side down. Then, without cutting at all, pull the free end of the paper around the box to meet the roll. When they touch, give yourself an extra inch or so and then cut.
Step 5: Tape-tastic
Now you have a big rectangular piece of paper. Fold the side that you just cut from the roll over (towards the undecorated side) about 1/2 an inch so that the edge is straight and clean. Now wrap the paper over the box so that the paper is snug and the folded edge is on top. While you hold the paper in place with one hand, grab a strip of tape that's hanging off the table and stick it on to keep the paper in place. Add another piece of tape or two and then move on. Note: DO NOT use too much tape, unless you want to blame the wrapping job on your 5-year-old cousin.
Step 6: The Ends
You now have a box with paper wrapped around it one way and open ends. This is the toughest part. First trim the amount of paper hanging off each end. You want to leave enough paper so that the top and bottom parts fold to just past the half-way point of the box. Now, look at the end of your present: you have a top, bottom, and two sides. Take the paper along one side and flatten it along the edge so that the top and bottom are sticking out. Do the same with the other side of paper. You should now have a triangular flap on the top and bottom. Fold the triangles down and secure them with tape. Do the same thing on the other end and...Ta-dah! You have wrapped a gift!
Step 7: Fancy Stuff
If you have bows, ribbon, or pretty gift tags, add them. You can add elegance by using a ribbon in a complementary color (that means no pink with your red and green paper). If you're the type that has trouble tying your shoes, just go for the ready-made, pre-tied bows so all you have to do is peel away a backing and stick. You can also get creative and add a single sprig of holly or little jingle bells tucked under a bow. If you've done a nice job with the wrapping paper, there's no need to go overboard with decorations. After all, you want people to appreciate your hard work. However, if the wrapping situation is, uh, not-so-good, try to use these accoutrements to hide the imperfections.
Step 8: Fixing Mistakes
Let's say you completed the previous seven steps, but the box isn't fully covered, the paper is wrinkled, and you have tape in your hair. You could use tiny strips of paper to cover the exposed portions, try your best to smooth out the wrinkles, and use peanut butter to get the tape out of your hair. But these fixes will just make your box look silly (and peanut butter doesn't really get tape out of your hair). We suggest you simply start over. And if all else fails, save yourself the trouble and and just use a gift bag.
Have you wrapped your gifts yet? Or do you just hand them over to your Mom or Dad and let them do all the work?
Related Post: The Ultimate Guide to Gift Giving