|I realize that gift wrapping is
not all that significant in the grand scheme of things, but
one thing I have found that many single fathers have in common
is a certain tasteless tackiness when it comes to giftwrap.
It isn't a major failing, but it's readily addressable and
neatly wrapped presents look much nicer scattered about under
|It isn't as if this were child
abuse or something, but it doesn't exactly fill our visiting
family members with faith and confidence in our parenting
ability. It can make them wonder if we are fastening diapers
to the baby with an electric brad nailer.
"To Jr., From Santa"
Wrapping presents is not rocket science, but it does take
some time and patience. You'll need:
- wrapping paper - assorted
- gift bags - assorted
- gift wrap cutter
- assorted bows
- To/From labels
- clear tape
- double sided tape (for previously used bows)
- ink pen
- trash bag
If you have a "Dollar Store," "Thrift Shop"
or some similar outlet style retailer, you can buy gift
wrap, bows and labels for a fraction of what they cost in
most retail stores - even the discount stores like Target,
KMart and Walmart are much more expensive.
Pay particular attention when buying the paper - some rolls
look bigger but don't have enough paper to wrap many presents.
I look for rolls with 60 sq. ft. minimum and I buy an assortment
with some holiday patterns and some plain colors. I like
patterns that I can use for any occasion.
When you begin, start with the biggest packages you need
to wrap. That way, you minimize the chances that you'll
be trying to piece together scraps to wrap them later.
|To start, lay the wrapping paper out on a flat
surface and position the box you wish to wrap on the paper.
Use your paper cutter to cut a section of paper as wide as
is necessary leaving enough room on each side to cover the
sides of the box. Cut all the way across the paper.
Move the box away from you towards the center of the paper
just far enough that you can fold the paper half way over
the box. Secure it in the center with a small piece of clear
In order to determine where to cut away the excess paper,
pull the remaining paper back over the box towards you and
then fold it back at the point where it is two or three
inches past the edge you taped down.
These pictures of me wrapping a different package better illustrate
what I mean. You do not want to cut the paper long enough
to reach the taped down edge - you need enough paper to go
about two inches past the edge.
||Returning to the original package, I cut the
excess paper off at the point where I had folded it. Then,
I folded the edge of the paper back towards me to create a
nice, neat edge. I pulled that side back over, covering the
package, and secured it with a piece of clear tape. The ends
remain open at this time.
Next, I folded the sides in and creased the paper as shown.
Note that the sides are folded in tightly and the creases
are at 45 degrees.
It is very important to be careful with this step and be
sure that the paper is folded in tightly and neatly creased.
||In the pic above, note that the end where the
paper joins is folded over. This is the side to fold down
first. Then, fold the end of the other side over to make a
nice finished edge and then fold that up to cover the side
that you folded down. Secure it with a piece of clear tape.
Find a bow that coordinates with the paper color, peel off
the backing paper and stick it to your package. Add a label
identifying who it is to/from and you're all set. It takes
a little practice - start with nice square packages, they're
easier to wrap.
Some packages are a little more challenging to wrap due to
irregular shapes. I started wrapping this jar of nuts the
same way as the Barbie doll. I cut the paper and then secured
one end of it to the jar.
|I folded the paper over the jar, past the taped
down edge and then folded the excess back to mark the place
to cut it. I cut away the excess and then folded the end over
to make a nice, finished edge.
Once the nice, square sides and bottom were secured, I trimmed
the excess and secured the top as as best I could and then
covered the top with the bow. I am sure Martha Stewart could
do better, but Ryan will like it just fine.
|There are some things that simply defy the ability
to wrap. In that case, I use gift bags. This little plastic
backpack with a doll in it would have been tough. These gift
bags are ridiculously expensive so I attach the to/from label
to the string (see above the bow) rather than sticking them
to the bag itself. That way, I can save them and use them
over and over again.
|Speaking of "cheap," this six pack
of blow bubbles would be an easy present to wrap but, separated,
it makes for six presents the kids get to open. They are going
to need lots of blow bubbles to feed the blow bubble machine
guns I bought!
Two other things I would like to mention.
First, if you are afflicted with a "dead beat"
former spouse, I think I could understand it if you would
not give them a drink of water if their teeth were on fire.
I don't have that problem, but I do agree with you; I don't
think I would either. Personally, I think dead beat parents
should be publicly flogged until they learn how to pray
and mean it.
On the other hand, I would hope that you would agree with
me that a child's Christmas experience should not be diminished
in any way that can be avoided. For a young child to get
nothing from a wretched dead beat absentee parent is normal;
nevertheless, it is also devastating. If I had that problem,
I assure you that my child would not.
"To Michael, Love Mom"
Some guy named Santa gets to look like a hero to my kids,
and yours, every year at our expense. It's a lie, but you
and I go along with it, and we don't have a problem with
that - nor should we. It's for the kids.
I don't have a son named Michael, and I don't have a "dead
beat" ex, but if I did, this is how I'd handle it.
I'd see it exactly the same way.
In my house, I steer by the lights as I see them and handle
things the best way I know. If your ex is too sorry to send
the kids something for Christmas, you must do as you think
best; my thoughts on the subject are just a suggestion.
That brings me to point number two. Children can be smarter
than we think sometimes. Let's not allow them to see through
our charades because we didn't think to use different wrapping
paper, labels and pens. I keep one roll of paper separate
just for Santa's presents - that way I don't get confused
as to who they are from when they are being opened. Years
ago, my son Jeremy realized that Santa and I had the same
Whatever you do this Holiday Season, do it with your love
and you cannot go wrong.
You and Yours
Christmas, Happy Holidays
Bill, Megan, Ryan,
Dook and Jeremy