The Yankee Magazine Archives Holiday Advice: How to Wrap a Present

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For Men Only: Instructions to Wrap a Gift. (1942)

Must I mention that your first requirement is something to wrap, like a gift? Usually this gift must be made to look more tasty on the outside than on the inside and that is why we are here.

You will need plenty of paper, a liberal quantity of string and tape, an appropriate gift card, and lots of patience.

First, place the gift in its box and survey carefully. The idea is to get the paper around the box. This may be accomplished by placing it on the center of the paper, folding the paper up around all four sides, and dexterously tucking it in at the corners. It may be accomplished this way, but it won’t. The paper doesn’t quite meet at the top center, thus leaving part of the box exposed. This won’t do. I said to have plenty of paper. Better get another sheet.

This paper is prettier than the other anyway. This time try to slip up on the package unawares. Place the box on the center of the paper again and slyly gather up the four corners into your hand, thus surrounding it. Now tie the corners together with a bit of string and — Oops, one of them slipped. Well, tuck it in — oh, oh. I should have warned you. The box is apt to come through the paper like that when you pull too hard. Better get another sheet of paper.

Oh well, this piece is prettier than the others anyway. If there’s no other way to get this job done, you can always get tough. Place the box in one corner this time and roll it along, packing away all visible loose ends very firmly wherever they will go. This is likely to prove a little bulky, but tape it shut. It’ll get by, or would have if you hadn’t left out the appropriate gift card.

Pause to consider. You now have three courses open. (1) Hand the gift over with the explanation you were too busy to wrap it. (2) Sack it. Neither of these methods is considered polite, manly or straightforward, so you must fall back on (3). Take the whole works to your wife and, weeping a little on her shoulder, then the mess over to her. Lacking a wife, run, do not walk, to the nearest female member of your family. In a few moments when you proudly look at the neat package and glow with the sense of something accomplished, it would be thoughtful of you to tip her. But not too much.


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