Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Hack: Slacker Gift Wrap

Wrapping Giant Gifts:
At my friend Karen's house I noticed a giant box clearly labeled playhouse next to the tree with a couple squares of gift wrap on it.

I must have looked perplexed because Karen said, "All you have to do is cover all the pictures."

That's right- our toddlers can't read yet! Pure genius!

Plus, it minimizes paper use/waste.

If your box is covered with photos, or you want full coverage merely for aesthetics- wrap the oversized box or item in a tablecloth, blanket, or bed sheet and secure it with ribbon, yarn, string, and/or safety pins.

Wrapping Very Small Gifts:
Back in the olden days, my brother and I (heavily financed by Mom) bought Dad a pricey video club membership.

If you're saying "Bought a video membership?" you have forfeited your right to sing along with Time-Life commercials relating to the 80s.

It was essentially a paper business card with my Dad's name written on it- by hand. It entitled us to rent any of their 50 or so videos at additional cost. We were soooo proud of our gift- it was a shame that it was so small that it could even get lost in his stocking.

So we put it in a wooden caboose Dad built for our train set. And we wrapped that in a big box. And we wrapped that big box in a giant box filled with wadded up newspaper from the recycling shelf. And that- we could wrap with a sheet.

And as a holiday gift to everyone, we'd like to share a favorite (and timely) Jones household word:

scurryfunge (we heard it attributed to New England, but have no idea if this is accurate)- a hasty tidying of the house between the time you see a neighbor coming and the time she knocks on the door. (Informal English)

We tend to use this word to describe the frantic last minute cleaning I'm avoiding right now.

Happy Holidays!


Julie said...

Hey! Am in town (finally) and would love to drop by; no need to scurryfunge, of course. :D

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas! Thanks for all the good tricks and tips!

anne at

Michael Phillips said...

Of course, you have to be careful with the wrapping system you described. If your toddler is at all media aware (watches any children's programming that is maintained by advertisements), then even the writing can give away the identity of the present. A well designed package will have text that is nearly as iconic as the picture of the toy, text that will feature heavily in each advertisement. Also, in reading houses, the young ones start learning to recognize words early. Shortly after beginning to talk many kids tart recognizing specific words (every single word in favorite books, the labels of buttons on things they interact with daily, the text on favorite tv shows, any thing that their parents spell out to each other so as to avoid their toddler figuring out what they are talking about, that sort of thing.) It doesn't take those kids long to abstract those word pictures to the point that they can start puzzling out text. Especially since one of the first song sets a kid is likely to learn is twinkle twinkle little star/Baa Baa Black Sheep/The ABC song.

Hee, I think that Sesame Street has canceled the spelling aliens, but when I was that age, not only did they teach you the alphabet, but they had a special section of the show on how to sound out written words.

Andrea said...

My daughter's whole 1st xmas (at 15 months old) was just hidden under blankets. She got a play kitchen, a baby stroller/bed/swing set, and a rocking elephant. Made my life easy and less wasteful too!