Food for Thought · how-to

How-To: Gift Wrapping

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The holidays in December aren’t the only reason we wrap gifts. It’s certainly the time of year I wrap the most gifts…turn on the Christmas music, lay out the wrapping paper and the gift bags, and have my own little party! We give gifts for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and occasions that deserve “congratulations,” such as graduations, a house warming, or a new job. But, we can also give gifts just because.

How do you feel when you receive a gift? When I was a child, gifts were mostly about me. My primary concern was not only how many gifts I had but if they were the gifts I had hoped for. I don’t mean to say my parents didn’t do an adequate job at teaching my sister and me the importance of, ‘better to give than to receive.’ They certainly did; there is simply an element of that which is unavoidable at such a young age. Sure enough, as I got older, I started to find more joy in giving gifts than in receiving them. To see the smile on the other person’s face was as much a gift to me as the tangible item they had in their hands. It reminds me of the sentiment of a hand written note I mentioned in my last post. Just as a hand written note takes thought, consideration, and an individual touch, so does gift giving–well, gift giving in the form in which it’s meant.

By this I mean true gift giving is about taking the time, thought, and consideration to give something that will impact those on the receiving end. We choose gifts uniquely for the individual we’re giving to. It’s useless to give a gift if you don’t take the time to think of the person the gift is for, and it’s also useless to give a gift out of obligation or task. (It’s like the apology your parents force you to say to your sibling when you really aren’t very sorry at all.)

So when true gift giving takes place, why is it so impactful? Words without action are empty, but words reinforced with sincere action are overflowing with significance. And no, gifts don’t have to be tangible. We give gifts of laughter, time, and service. Sometimes all it takes is a smile or a wave. The most important part of gift giving is the heart and motive behind it.


Boxes

I still remember the first time my dad showed me how to wrap a box. Hopefully the pictures will speak for themselves…

Once the box is in it’s wrapping paper sleeve you’re ready to fold the ends. You don’t want the paper to hang over the end of the box too far; just enough to cover the end vertically when you fold down the top (see picture one above on the left). Then, you fold the corners in and tape (picture two, top right).

Once you have both ends folded (shown in the first picture above) simply fold over the pointed corner, fold up, and tape.

Now that your package is wrapped, the final touch is the outside. I chose to go simple this year. I wrapped all my boxes with brown craft paper, tied them with string, and labeled them with little cardboard tags shaped like stockings. Click on the individual images above to see steps on tying the string around the box.

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Gift Bags

My sister taught me how wrap gift bags when I was in middle school. She worked at Hallmark and was required to wrap everything a certain way in the store. Well, lucky for us, she showed us the best tissue paper trick!

Start by laying your tissue paper so that the corners of two pieces are “out of sync” with one another (picture above right).

Then, take your thumb and index finer and pinch the center of the two overlapping pieces of paper. Quickly pull up and allow the paper to fold into itself.

Put the pointed end of the cone down into the gift bag and allow the ends to stick up out of the top. Repeat this until you’ve filled the bag nicely…don’t overpack it!

I topped my gift bags off with the same string and stocking tags as I used on the boxes.


During the new year, I plan to give more gifts just because. Guaranteed, they won’t all be tangible gifts, but this goes hand-in-hand with a restored attitude of service and gratitude. Our world is far too focused on a “me” attitude. All we seem to care about is what will make me happier, make me prettier, make me richer, make me be remembered, etc. What we have forgotten is, when we strive to live as one who gives, in the end we will be far richer, far happier, and have received more than we could have ever imagined.

“Gift-giving is a form of prayer; it is a symbol of love, joy, affection, peace, appreciation, and thoughtfulness.” -Unknown

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