How do you wrap gifts?

Because I. Can’t. Do. It.

I really, really can’t. I try. I make a mess of it. I feel like I need two extra hands. I end up swearing and shouting and threatening the tape with violence (it doesn’t care - it’s usually busy hiding its end from me). The result look like it was wrapped by a blindfolded monkey.

Yet my wife can do it in a quarter of the time and the result look beautiful. She makes it look so easy. And she only has two hands. She doesn’t use any special gadgets or anything.

(NB - I’m not actually asking how you wrap gifts. It was all rhetorical, like. I was just complaining that I can’t.)

You are the person festive bags were invented for! :wink:

Perfectly neatly like these, minus the ribbons.

…except wrapped in newspaper.

I wasn’t much good at it until I worked in a toy store over Christmas season, Talk about trial by fire!! Over time they called me “queen of the softwrap” – most people would put odd shaped things in boxes to make the job easier but not me! Odd shaped prezzies are the best!

One thing is, the store used a VERY high quality of wrapping paper. It was heavy and when you creased it, the fold stayed. Using thin paper makes the job much harder because the folds unfold themselves while you’re reaching for the tape.

So my advice is: practice practice practice + use good quality paper.

And pre-cut a couple of strips of tape and stick them to your forearm or the edge of a table or something. That way when you have the paper placed, you can just grab a ready-to-go strip of tape instead of wrestling with the dispenser. An average sized box really only needs 3 pieces of tape: one for the “bottom” paper overlap and one for each folded end.

Also, use less paper than you think you do. Go with the minimum to cover the package; that’s how you get pretty ends and not lumpy ones.

Use a lot of paper, just place object in the middle, bring up edges of paper to surround object, wrap tape around the top 3 or 4 times, Done!

I put most things in gift boxes or bags. I CAN wrap presents neatly, even the odd shaped ones (worked as a gift wrapper in Montgomery Wards one Xmas season), but the boxes and bags are easier, and they’re re-usable. I’ve even sewn up some really pretty drawstring cloth bags. I pick up holiday fabric after the holiday, and spend some quality time with my sewing machine in January.

Most of the gift boxes already have printed designs on them. I did cover some plain boxes with gift wrap. And it’s fairly easy to save the boxes and bags from one year to the next.

I try to make the package unique in a way that does not depend on my neatness. One time I made a five foot Christmas tree using blow-up pictures of the kid. Another time it could be the old box in a box routine. Or it could be an outside box from something outlandish with the traditional item (money) inside.

I’m also a horribly inept wrapper. I go the easy route with gift bags and add sparkly ribbon, bows, silk flowers and tissue paper to pretty it up.

It’s about the only time of year I go to a dollar store, they’re great for inexpensive wrapping and prettying-up supplies.

It’s simply impossible. I don’t know how people do it. I cannot and I’ve been trying since I was a little boy. “Gift-bags” are the way to go. Just stuff the present in a brightly-decorated bag, put some fluffy, papery-like colorful pieces of stuffing on top of it, put a label on it, bam; good to go.

I realize you said you’re not actually looking for instructions, but how I learned was having a present wrapped at the mall once, by a professional. I watched how they did it–little things like folding down the edges before taping, and taping the underside, then folding the tape under, so you can’t see the tape… the little tricks they do to make it come out beautiful… I can do it just like that now and all it took was watching a pro do it one time, very carefully (the watching was careful).

Inside a box covered in either black electrical tape or duct tape. Sometimes several layers of boxes so covered. I give some damn good gifts but you are going to have to WORK for them!

(My wife insists on doing most of the wrapping. Go figure!)

Generally in shiny paper, with lots of ribbon - often two kinds - and often more than 1 bow. And lots of tape holding it together; in my family my presents are easily noticeable both by appearance and by being harder to open than everyone else’s. They don’t seem to mind though, I tend to end up the designated gift wrapper. They do tend to joke about it however; “I can guess who wrapped this!”"

I wrapped a few yesterday and realized just how crappy I am at that kind of thing. >.< It surprised me; it seems like something I should be great at, but holy crap. Even square boxes end up looking like they were wrapped by a five-year-old, lol.

Next year I am going to try better paper, though; the stuff we have rips and tears even as you’re trying to cut it, blearch.

I don’t do it really neatly like the professionals Opal mentioned but mine are quite neat and secure. I don’t know how I learned. It just kind of made sense to me to do it a certain way and it turned out to be the right way. It’s like covering textbooks in school - I was always the designated textbook coverer and I could never understand why other people couldn’t do it.

Another vote for gift bags…My 2 cats used to like to try to “help” Meowmmy wrap presents… needless to say, Tasha got an impromptu hair cut and Beth almost ended up under the tree…

OMG this has never occurred to me. I’m about to achieve gift wrapping ninja status.

(Worked at FAO Schwarz Christmastime and everyone was rotated to gift wrapping duty at least once. UGGGG. God. People are vicious about gift wrapping.)

That having been said, learned the “folding-down-edges” thing from Martha Stewart on an episode of David Letterman. Needless to say, he was exactly as schooled as I was.

I agree, my first job was at Marshall Fields, when I was 17. I worked at Christmas in the gift wrapping dept. They almost always use boxes, which is so easier. Then I graduated to oddly shaped items that don’t fit in boxes.

The trick is knowing how to put the paper so you can wrap it and need as little tape as possible. It just takes practice and you get a lot working at Christmas

[hijack]I’m related to Marshal Fields. My great-great-(great?) grandfather’s* daughter married his son, Marshal Fields Jr, and gave birth to Marshall Fields III.

*the one who came over from Germany to the US originally. I forget how many generations back. He opened the first beer garden in Chicago and introduced lager-style ale to Chicago before anyone else. Unfortunately his brewery was lost in the fire. His kids seemed to have all married well, some of them marrying into titled families back in Europe. I guess he ran in much higher circles than any of his descendants these days do :)[/end hijack]

What’s so tough? Bottles slide right into the shiny bags.