Institutional knowledge

Wisdom and How-Tos from Experts in the GW Community

Celena Gill Celena Gill

How to Wrap a Gift

Wrapping a gift can be hard, especially the part where you fold the sides into neat, tidy triangles. There's always excess and the edges never line up, the paper starts to rip and then there's frustration, despair, self-loathing ... Well, Celena Gill, MA '99, CERT '04, who runs the D.C. metro area-based Celena Gill Lifestyle Consulting, can help.

Presented below is her "envelope" method for wrapping symmetrically shaped boxes, which will make even the most wrap-challenged gifter* look able and decidedly un-tormented. —Matthew Stoss

(*Mostly. There's no helping some people.)

Gift Wrapping

Step 1

Place your box in the middle of the wrapping paper, face down. Make the paper at least twice the size of the box. Thin paper helps, too. It's easier to fold.

Gift Wrapping

Step 2

Pull the wrapping paper from the left and right. The ends should meet in the center of the back of the box and form a straight line.

Gift Wrapping

Step 3

Pull the wrapping paper from the top and the bottom. Fold the ends into equally sized triangles, you know, like an envelope.

Gift Wrapping

Step 4

Tape discreetly. Add bow (optional). Give!

Celena's Tips for a Better Gift

Cash Is Always Accepted.
"When you're not sure what to bring, the easiest gift to bring is cash: A card with cash, saying ‘Congratulations' or ‘Thank you' or whatever the occasion might call for. And I would always say a minimum of $20 for an adult. For a child, $5 or $10."


Gift cards aren't bad, either. ($20 minimum, but it depends.)
"If you get a gift card from some place like Target or Walmart, I recommend a $20 to $30 minimum. If you move up to a department store like Macy's or Nordstrom, I would suggest a $50 minimum. At a high-end store such as Saks Fifth Avenue, I would say a minimum of $100."


And when the event isn't so obvious.
Bris or christening: "Something for the household or the baby."


If gift cards and cash seem too impersonal ...
"If you have similar tastes as your friends, would what you like for that particular occasion? What would you want, within your budget, someone to give you? Think of it that way."


Divorce party (yes, people have them)
"What do you think the divorcee would want or need to celebrate moving into this new chapter of life? "


"Money and food. The family isn't really concerned about cooking so bring food items, and sometimes the family may need money to pay for funeral expenses or just to have it."


Finally, don't worry.
"Most people just appreciate the fact that you're giving them a gift."

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