Ask Mr. Present-Wrapping-Knowing-How-To Guy!

December 22, 2011


In this, the season of gift-giving – second only in importance to the days leading up to July 9 (my birthday) – people can get addled and frustrated as they try to get the gifts wrapped.  In fact, you wouldn’t believe how many emails I get from people frustrated in their attempts in wrap presents effectively! (Well, none.  But I haven’t checked my email this morning).  So I thought, rather than deal with the potentially hundreds of emails waiting for me in my in-box regarding the issue, it might be helpful to provide as little troubleshooting Q & A on the delicate art. 

Q: I’m a heterosexual male.  I just have to ask straight out: Since she’s just going to open it anyway, do I really have to wrap the present?  I can’t just give it to her in the bag?

Whoooo's excited for power-sander refills!?

A: Regrettably, no.  For starters, the “Tru-Value Hardware” logo on the bag might spoil some of the surprise.  In addition, it can very important to women that their gifts be wrapped up nicely.  Anthropologists believe this stems from Cro-Magnon times, when it was the men’s responsibility to go out and hunt, while the women’s tasks involved staying closer to camp and wrapping things in other things.

Q: I’ve got a child who’s just reaching the age to understand the “Santa” idea.  But I don’t know – should I put the presents under the tree to build the excitement?  Or should I hide them and put them under the tree Christmas night, so my son thinks Santa brought them?

A: How parents approach the idea of Santa can be tricky.  In order to increase the bond between parent and child, psychologists suggest putting the presents under the tree ahead of time so the child can see that you’re involved in the gift-giving process, but to tell the child that Santa may bring more.  Then, Christmas morning, say, “Looks like Santa stiffed you, kiddo.  Tough break.  Guess you can only trust me.”  You’ll be amazed at the long-term impact!

Q: I’m worried about the present coming open at the corners. How much tape should I use?

A: You can’t use too much.  You simply can’t.  When it’s so glossy with tape that you can see your reflection?  That means you’re on the right track!

Q:  How do people feel about their gifts being wrapped in old newspapers?

If the gift is, in fact, a machete, you needn't worry as much about the headlines.

A: It depends.  Is your gift a fish?  Then go for it.  Some people will also appreciate the eco-friendly nature of the wrapping.  Others will think you’re a cheap, insensitive jerk.  One way to find out!  A few tips, should you decide to go this route:  Avoid pages that prominently feature headlines with words like “brutally” or “tragic” or “machete.” The Sunday comics can be nice and colorful, but take a second to try and remember if the gift is for a syndicated cartoonist whose cartoon has achieved some success but still hasn’t made it in to the area comics page, causing great bitterness and frustration for the artist.  Who hasn’t committed that gaffe at one time or another?

Q: The gift I’ve purchased is oddly shaped.  Any tips on wrapping it?

A: Absolutely.  Very common problem.  Fortunately, the solution is simple.  Merely return the gift and buy a new one that is nice and squared.  A book, perhaps a dvd, or maybe a nice box of cereal!

There you go, look at those corners! Great gift.

Q: Um, really?  I shouldn’t just put the oddly shaped gift in a box?

A: WHO’S ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS HERE?  ME.  I AM.  Now return that cashmere sweater, and get her a damned Rubik’s Cube.

Q: I’m Jewish, and with gifts for Hanukkah being fairly small – should they still be wrapped?

A: Is it a dreidel?  Then don’t bother.  They know about the dreidel.  They’re bracing themselves for the dreidel.  Just chuck it to them and say, “Heeyyyy, there’s the dreidel.  That’s done, we can move forward.”  If on the other hand, the gift is a Golem, wrapping or not, you are awesome.  Bear in mind, though – if you do choose to wrap the Golem, makes extra sure there are no printed words on the wrapping paper.  A Golem who does nothing but “Celebrate” or “Remember to Always Recycle” gets old fast.

Q: Hey, I really want to make the ribbon on the box do that swirly, spiraly thing.  How do you do that?

A: First, take a pair of scissors and, holding the ribbon taught, run the blade up the ribbon toward you in a swift, steady swoop.  Next, apply pressure to the wound where the scissors have gouged or sliced you.  Try to pay special attention to whether the blood from the wound is pulsing, and where any severed fingers have landed.  Finally, while in the hospital, when someone asks if there’s anything they can do to help, have them run to the store and buy you some ribbon with the spiraly shape pre-done at the factory.

Terrible gift. How're you gonna wrap it? How's it going to breathe through the wall of tape?

Q: Any final thoughts?  What are the essentials? 

A: Remember this handy little motto: “Gifts that are wrapped with precision and class, keep your partner from dumping your ass.”  Also, tape.  Lots of tape.

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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26 Comments on “Ask Mr. Present-Wrapping-Knowing-How-To Guy!”

  1. PCC Advantage Says:

    “Looks like Santa stiffed you, kiddo. Tough break. Guess you can only trust me.”
    ~ I am still laughing at that line!!

    Also, I can’t stand wrapping presents that are oddly shaped. That’s one of my biggest Christmas Pet Peeves. I will unashamedly just throw it in a gift bag…might not even add the tissue paper. And then, when I give it to the person, I shake my head as I hand them the bag and tell them I’m glad to be rid of the thing.

    I find that that usually puts them in the Christmas spirit.

    Hilarious post! 😉


  2. BrainRants Says:

    My approach is to not do Christmas at all. Problem solved!


  3. MJ, Nonstepmom Says:

    Your answer to the santa dilemma is perfection – you need to be in charge of whatever committee deals with that… there a “federal bureau of instigators” or “central intelligence-NOT agency” ?


  4. becomingcliche Says:

    Thank you so much for this guide. I do have a problem, though. I wrapped my son’s fish in newspaper, according to your instructions. And It DIED. Why?


  5. Blogdramedy Says:

    As long as it’s not an empty bottle of vodka, I don’t care how a gift is wrapped.


  6. gojulesgo Says:

    I rock the shiz out of some wrapping paper, I’ll tell you what. You should see my craft room right now. It’s like a Hallmark store threw up. I’m picky about my tape (it’s gotta be the super-clear kind so it doesn’t interfere too much), and there are always stickers involved (hopefully you know what I’m talking about by now!).

    Santa is a cheapskate. A lesson better learned early.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I do know what you’re talking about – I’m looking at my kick-ass bracelets right now!

      The stickers on your envelope remind me of my mother-in-law. She and my father-in-law are divorced, and he’s a hunting guide, so every time she has to mail something to him for whatever reason, she covers the package in World Wildlife Fund, Peta, and Sierra Club stickers just to drive him nuts. How cool is that?


  7. Kansas Keeton Says:

    You’re pretty clever. Fortunately I have not had the child Santa problem, but I do have a genuine question: if you were to have a child, would you perform the ultimate lie and tell them about Santa? I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed as to discover that Santa wasn’t real; I don’t know if I would want to put my child through that. But then again, I was really happy to believe in him until I was told otherwise. I was 5. The world has seemed a darker place since then.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Well, of course I hate to armchair parent, because I don’t have kids yet, but I do definitely want to. The funny thing, is my parents never told me there was a Santa, and they’ve since said they wished they had. My thought on it/plan for it at the moment is to take as sort of “Boy, it’s tough to tell. It sure seems like he’s real, and the spirit of kindness and goodness is certainly real so long as we believe in it.” That kind of thing. Like most concepts based entirely in the theoretical, I presume it will fail terribly, though. I’ll have a child who never believes in Santa and is still scarred upon learning he’s not real.


    • tryingtobegrownup Says:

      I worry about this too (though I don’t have kids yet – too much time on my hands, obviously). It’s a major conspiracy to perpetrate, but I don’t want to be the mean parent who doesn’t let my kids have Santa because I’m so concerned with being honest…

      Of course, I may be coming with a skewed perspective; our parents never actually told us that he’s not real. As far as they’re concerned, we all go on believing. I’ll be 30 in February.


  8. angrymiddleagewoman Says:

    The final thought was the best! It is best to wrap a bottle of vodka though. Otherwise it’s far too tempting to consume immediately during this holiday season with all the family around.


  9. madtante Says:

    I *love* giving gifts and detest wrapping. Friends know that a gift bag (a real one) is a MAJOR thing as it’s the closest to actual wrapping I’ll do. More often than not, they’re delighted to receive a white plastic Target bag with handles tied at the top. Sometimes, to add to the ridiculousness of putting a nice gift in a shitty bag, I’ll tie a ribbon around. “See? I tried!” I hate it.


  10. Sandra Parsons Says:

    Ha, that’s exactly what we are doing. Our little monster is 2 1/2 how and as such for the first time really experiencing Christmas. We did opt for the presents-under-the-tree version, and not just because we are heathens. We just like him to understand that presents have a value (if sometimes a questionable one) and they come from his family and not from some supernatural fat guy. Said fatty might stop by tomorrow night though and leave some bits and bobs in his stocking, who knows…
    Anyway, thanks for the giggle and a very Merry Christmas!


  11. Rocket Says:

    Oh man, I remember the first time I did the whole swirly thing with the ribbon. So much failing…


  12. jacquelincangro Says:

    My sister subscribes to the more is more philosophy of tape. I think she owns stock in Scotch company.



  1. My Christmas Post « Becoming Cliche - December 23, 2011

    […] this if your holiday wrapping’s sub […]

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