Life, Optimized!

Thoughtful gift wrapping indicates the effort you put into the gift to the recipient. Luckily, it is my favorite part of holiday preparation. This goes back to my retail job that I had throughout undergrad. The store where I worked offered free gift wrapping and I so enjoyed dressing up already fantastic gifts. Not to toot my own horn, but I honed the skill and nobody can gangsta wrap like me. I actually considered seasonal gift wrapping for the Paper Source or Papyrus (RIP) or even Task Rabbiting the skill from the lobby of my last few apartment buildings, alas my schedule always gets in the way.

I am going to share every supply that you need to wrap the perfect present and more importantly, share secret techniques to make your gangsta wrap stand out above the rest.


This is what you need to wrap the perfect present:

  • gift boxes (See the below section for a clever how to hack for making a smaller gift box out of the side of one large gift box.)
  • tissue paper (I like two sheets per gift, pending size.)
  • wrapping paper (Pick a suite of coordinating colors and patterns, some holiday and some non-holiday specific. I like to match my tree decor. Whatever you do, don’t buy the glitter paper from the Paper Source. Also take a pass on the especially cheap paper. Anecdote: I experienced an especially frustrating holiday one year when I bought cheap wrapping paper and it was so low quality that it would not not rip while I used it to wrap.
  • Scotch tape (Skip the frosted type for the clear type.)
  • string (This will be used as an accent. I like it because a color coordinated version looks chicer than the standard gift wrap ribbons typically procured at the drug store.)
  • gift tags (Again, coordinate with the gift wrap color suite.)

tricks of the trade

How to make a full smaller gift box out of one side of a larger gift box:

  • Fold one of the shallow ends of the gift box to meet up with the opposite folded down side. Crease cardboard and unfold.
  • Repeat with other side.
  • Cut four middle creases with scissors.
  • Fold at creases into full box.

How to apply and finish the gift wrap on any boxed gift:

  • Always use the seasonal wrapping paper out of the suite first. Then use the non-seasonal wrap as an accent. This way, if there is any gift wrap left over, you may use it on non-holiday gifts throughout the year.
  • When using wrapping paper with plaid or striped patterns, align the lines of the pattern against one of the edges of the package. Alternatively, tilt it exactly forty-five degrees for a bias-wrapped gift.
  • When folding in the paper, crease the ends to align with the edges of the box on the sides.
  • Crease wrapping paper on every edge with thumb and forefinger and run along each edge for a sharp, clean finished.

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