Okay, we’re down to the gift-wrapping wire here—less than 24 hours to Christmas, halfway through Hanukkah…and we’re betting (unless you’re one of those uber-prepared, plan ahead types) you still have a few gifts to wrap. Don’t sweat it, says Renee Goetz…and she knows a little about gift wrapping (and, um, sweat). She was a contestant in this year’s fifteenth annual Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest, sponsored by 3M (makers of Scotch tape) and held this month at Rockefeller Center.
Goetz, a Forest Hills collage artist, is also a gift wrapper at Kate’s Paperie in Manhattan, the gourmet stationery and gift wrap chain that’s like a little cloud from heaven for anyone who digs paper. Needless to say, she’s wrapped all kinds of gifts, but this contest was a real challenge. The wrapping hopefuls had to wrap—get this—a gumball machine, an old-fashioned snow sled and—hello!!, and you think you’ve got it tough—a six-foot tall backyard play set. Yeah, those Scotch brand judges are sadistic.
Alas, Goetz, our local fave, didn’t win—that honor (and $10,000) went to Rosie Sato, from Gardena, California.
If wrapping’s not your thing, fear not. Here are some tips from the pros:
WRAPPING ON A BUDGET—Basic brown paper, says Goetz, always looks homespun, nostalgic, classic. So grab a bag or two from your local supermarket and decorate using colorful permanent markers or rubber stamps. Draw bows, write a message, add stickers—whatever embellishment appeals. Or use newsprint (see, you KNEW that Newsday subscription would come in handy)—alternate between black-and-white and color pages, for variety, Goetz suggests, and tie with inexpensive butcher’s string or twine.
WRAPPING ODD-SHAPED GIFTS—My favorite way to do this is a ‘pineapple’ wrap,” says Goetz. Lay the paper flat, place the gift in the middle of it, and gather the paper around it. Tape the edges (big surprise—she suggests Scotch pop-up tape) and secure at the top of the gift with a ribbon. The paper sticking up through the ribbon will resemble the leaves of a pineapple.
RELAX, BREATHE, MAKE A BOW—Remember, the object here is to have fun. So don’t limit your imagination or creativity—but if you’re running out of time, don’t stress. Most gifts are ripped open in seconds. So just chill. Have another sip (or gulp) of egg nog. And “when all else fails,” suggests Sato, “make a huge bow!”
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Holidays to all, whatever you’re celebrating this season.