Every December I suffer flashbacks to my first-ever retail job, wrapping presents at a gift shop. As much as I enjoyed entering autopilot and mechanically wrapping box after box, it was always a fun challenge to tackle an oddly-shaped gift: A loose teddy bear. A stray shovel. An entire island of misfit toys that refuse to conform to the rules of gift-wrapping basics. You know, the usual. (When your job is wrapping stuff, you make your own fun.) I get that not everyone loves these holiday brainteasers, so when it comes to gift-wrapping this season, get ready to reject tradition and embrace ingenuity.
No matter your experience level, I highly recommend browsing #giftwrappinghacks on TikTok for plenty of how-to videos that can make gifting easier this year, whether you need to tackle a particularly challenging gift shape or simply need a refresher on using scissors like a grown-up. Below is a step-by-step example of just one of the many inventive techniques you can use to wrap gifts like a genius.
Steps to wrap an oddly shaped gift
The steps below come from the above TikTok from @lindsayroggenbuck, who walks us through the wrapping of a fairly adorable plush moose. In true TikTok fashion, the instructions move at a rapid pace, so I’ve transcribed them below (adding a bit of my own editorializing as a former pro).
- Cut the amount of wrapping paper you’ll need. Estimate that amount by loosely wrapping the paper around the gift. It should come up a little more than halfway on the sides and wrap all the way around with an inch overlap.
- Set the gift aside. Fold the paper into thirds, folding the two outer thirds into the center-third (overlapping a bit in the middle). The shiny, decorative side of the paper should be exposed. Tape it down.
- Fold up the bottom of the wrapping paper about a fourth of the way up. Take that little rectangle you’ve created, separate the two pieces from the middle, and fold down. Flatten out the corners to create a diamond (anyone who has ever made an origami crane will know what to do).
- From this diamond, fold the top and bottom corners in toward each other. Tape them into place in what should look like an elongated hexagon.
- This sturdy hexagon is now the base of a tube of sorts that you can send your gift down.
- Once you have your item inside the tube, fold the open top (opposite your hexagonal base) over to the back and tape it down.
- For extra flair, use a hole puncher to punch two holes for a ribbon to go through. Tie a neat little bow and you’re done! The final result should look like a nifty DIY bag.
Before you go, keep in mind these additional simple tips to wrap gifts:
- Use double stick tape for secure, flat edges. Don’t skip on the tape, longer pieces will make it easier to stick the paper together.
- Match the seams of the paper with the edges of the gift. Create creases at the corner seams to make folding them down easier.
- If your flap on the side is too long, mark where the corners of the paper meet so you know how far to fold the excess paper under.
Or, as many a TikTok user has pointed out, you can always just shove your gift in a gift bag and cover it with some tissue paper. TBH, that’s the spirit I’m bringing to this holiday season, but maybe not all of you have completely given up hope.