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Oh T... presentation IS everything.

I actually have a large plastic box with extra gift bags, wrapping paper, etc. in my closet just so I can always make packages look perfect.

Do you hate me?

cant remeber the last time i recieved a gift from any of you besides Nina,

never mind the paper...

Well Paulie-B, you decided to live 6000 miles away! Will buy you gift (and wrap it) when you move back home.

Love you, mean it

xx

Same goes for big make-up and fancy hair-styling. It's EXACTLY the same idea to me. Why bother :)

I'm totally in your camp on the wrapping paper and all, Tertia. It seems like such a waste to me! And to be honest, I hate dealing with all the paper and boxes and such afterwards.

Now a good card, I do like a good card.

Wait a minute, Tertia. Do you mean to tell me that Nina and both Mels insist on DESTROYING TREES to make gift wrap? Think of all the water and energy wasted in the manufacturing process, and the chemicals shed into the waterways as a result of the bleach and dyes and printing inks. And then what happens afterwards? The paper FILLS LANDFILLS AND POLLUTES THE EARTH or GETS BURNED AND POLLUTES THE ATMOSPHERE. For shame, Nina and Mel and Mel. For shame.

Tertia, you are a wonderful citizen of the world, cutting down on all that waste and environmental destruction. My hero!

Oh, oh my - someone else who feels exactly the way I do. I stopped buying expensive cards and paper and would just hand the gift over in the store bag. (I usually apologized but found that all my family and friends didn't really care). I always added the cost of the card and the paper to the gift and would buy something a little nicer because of the extra Rands.
Now 7 years later, living in the States, I have learnt to revise my ways. I now wrap and primp and buy a card from the "right" store (not American Greetings, it has to be from Hallmark) and do the whole nine yards. Does it make me feel better for giving a nicely wrapped gift? Not an ounce. It only makes me feel better because people don't seem to think I am weird[er] than my accent and views on things portray me to be. :)

I'm in your camp, T. Never got (even as a child) the whole "fancy wrapping" of things. Seems such a waste...

One thing that speaks volumes to me, though, is if a gift (or gift card) is bought EN ROUTE to the celebration (or, on the way home from work... a la DH's tendancy). Am I really so UNIMPORTANT to you that you waited until the very. last. moment. to consider a gift? Did you not realize that my birthday/anniversary/Christmas/Valentine's/Mother's Day was COMING UP? Do you not have a CALENDAR??

Okay... so that obviously irks me. But the wrapping, ehhh... not so important. :-P

I'm with you. Wrapping paper is a waste of money. So are Easter baskets. My kids got gift bags (they were 12 for $3 and came in pastel colors!).

I'm a cheap friend AND a cheap mother.

Meh. I've become incredibly lazy about it and now actually just throw most gifts in a gift bag. This is not the cheapest solution, but it's far easier for a lazy butt like myself.

If I *have* to wrap, I'm usually embarassed by the end result. No tidy corners for me. It's generally lumpy. And I'm frequently stymied by ribbons and bows and/or oddly shaped gifts.

I'd rather not have to, but I do admit, it's nice to recieve them that way.

I guess that makes me a gift hypocrite.

Huh. Interesting question.

I'm a minimalist in nearly every way... I drive my hubby crazy with my utter apathy about "stuff." But I must admit, I love to wrap gifts. (I'm damn good at it, too.) And I like to receive gifts that are wrapped.

Wait, let me correct that: I actually prefer gifts that are occasions, or events, or opportunities (like a kid-free date with aforementioned hubby). I really am a material minimalist. But if someone prefers to give me a material thing, it sure is fun to have it wrapped. The unwrapping is actually more fun to me (usually) than the gift itself.

Crazy, eh?

At home, we used to wrap Christmas gifts in old newspapers, because of the trees, obviously.

I still don't wrap if I can get away with it. Poor trees!

I use gift bags, and buy them at the close out after every holiday for 50% or less. These can be reused, so there is less of a complete waste of resources. Can't remember when I actually wrapped a gift last, except maybe when I didn't have a gift bag large enough for the item to fit. Hate the idea of going to so much fuss, anyway, but do so because it's expected, and always include a card, even if I just print one on my computer (at least I can make it more personal). I always use to put a lot of effort into a really unique, wrapped gift presentation, though, when I had less money to spend on the actual gift. I suppose I rationalized that it made up for a somewhat less impressive gift.

i buy birthday presents for my daughter's friends from a store that gift wraps...for FREE!!! and, i have bought personalized stickers that say "happy birthday! love, xyz". therefore, no money is being wasted on a card that the child never even looks at. it's a win-win situation for me.

I try to make it presentable because to me is says that I cared enough to make it look nice for them.

Tertia, buy some gift bags in primary colors, buy curly ribbons and white tissue paper. Voila. Done. Instead of a card write a short note. "You're a wonderful sister/friend/husband even when you're being a complete asshole. Happy Birthday/Christmas/Anniversary. Love, Tertia" Slip it in a regular envelope and again, DONE.

My boyfriend and I have fought about this for ages -- I like cards because I think it's a chance to put in writing how you feel. Although he tells me he loves me a dozen times a day, it's still nice to see it on paper. I've told him a bazillion times -- it doesn't need to be a card from the store, in fact, a homemade card is actually preferable. So he made me a card for Valentine's Day, and honestly, it was my favorite thing he gave me and I will treasure it for a long time.

In terms of wrapping, I also like to wrap gifts. But I think it's ok to even wrap them in newsprint, you can definitely make it look pretty with some ribbon or even yarn. I use yarn leftover from craft projects to dress up gifts.

I am completely and totally with YOU!!!! When receiving a gift from me, you are very lucky if I throw it in a recycled gift bag with a little tissue paper:)

It's the thought that counts...right?

And honestly, I can't remember how a single package that I've EVER received was wrapped. Who remembers that sort of thing?

Waste of time and money IMO!

I'm another gift bag person.
SO easy. Just stuff some tissue around the item and stick it in a gift bag. We re-use the bags in our family. At Christmas, I mostly use gift bags too.
These get reused. I find it provides the element of surprise but takes less time than paper and tape around a box. And I think it looks just as good if not better. (I'm not the best box wrapper either) You can add a bow to the bag - like one of those with ribbons that hang down if you want to make it a little more festive. (these also can be re-used)
I personally love getting gift cards, esp. ones to book stores. I must say though when someone surprises you with something you really like and didn't even know was out there, it does seem special. (like they took the time to think about you and what you might really like).
Sorry, I can't really help you with your main question. I think perhaps it has to do with the "energy" that goes along with the gift.

I use newspaper. My most favoritest people get their gifts wrapped in the funny pages (which are in color), everyone else gets black and white. Works for me - could work for you too!

There is nothing I love more than wrapping gifts. I know this sounds conceited, but I wrap a pretty mean gift, too, if I say so myself. I have 14 tons of paper, ribbon (wired and curling), gift bags (in every size), tissue paper (in 83 colors and prints), etc., etc., etc., in three (!) different storage areas just waiting for the right present. I want my gifts to look like a million bucks and am disappointed to receive gifts that the giver took absolutely no pains in wrapping nicely. Someone actually had the nerve to give me a Christmas present with one of those stick-on bows! The very idea! ;)

I'm all about the presentation. Which is why the inside of my house could be in a magazine, yet we've had a leak in the chimney for three years. Who cares? Doesn't show.

Now I DETEST wasting money on cards. I have certain family members that expect them so I'll buy them grudgingly, but for most people I make a gift tag and call it a day.

So I guess I fall squarely in the middle of the Tertia/Mel&Nina camp!

Think of giftwrap as botox for the gift. It may have been fabulous in the first place, but it's extra fab with the wrapping.

I will second roberta, though, and recommend newspaper wrapping. I always thought that was cool. Or, buy those big white rolls of paper for kid crafts and some spool of colored ribbon. It's cheap and still looks elegant.

In our family, we wrap all birthday presents in bath towels. Takes seconds to do...hides the gifts appropriately...then just fold them back up and put them away. No waste, no expense! The kids love it. And we are a 'no card' family as well. Works for us, but I also appreciate the time and effort in a beautiful card or wrapping job. Just don't want to do it myself.

I only wrap kids' gifts. Even that I cringe when I see they tear the paper and it is a total waste! As for adults I sometimes wrap the gift in old newspaper, or gift bags. At least you can re-use the bags. Most of the times I don't bother. And buying cards are another complete waste. Do you know anyone who actually keep them?
Tell your sisters they are not being very green friendly. :D

As long as the gift has a good personality, it doesn't really matter what it looks like on the outside, right? It's the thought that counts, not the effort put into it, right?

Don't we all "giftwrap" ourselves, even if we consider ourselves confident, charming, smart, funny women on the inside? With make-up, boob jobs, hair coloring, high heels, fake tans, etc.? Isn't it the same concept? To *someone*, maybe our husbands, ourselves, our boyfriends, the outside presentation matters A LOT. So we work hard on the outside presentation. Even though it doesn't change the inside.

Isn't it easier to wrap a present for your sister than to wax your hoochie for your husband?

Just pondering.

I love my presents wrapped. Makes receiving a present 1000 times more fun for me. Otherwise I feel like someone stopped at Wal-Mart on the way over and just handed me what they bought.

Your sisters sound like spoiled brats. ;) Well, me being environmentally conscious, I do not use fancy wrapping paper anymore because they account for a large percentage of the trash in our landfills due to the numerous holidays, birthdays, baby/bridal showers, etc. Instead, I would decorate a plain brown paper bag with colorful paper/stamps or find a pretty bandanna/towel/cloth bag to wrap the gift in. I *do* make an effort to make a nice presentation but without buying new. Just this past Christmas, I was able to reuse all the bags and boxes that we received last year without having to buy or make anything new! =D

I have to admit I am one of those gift wrapping fools. I recently bought a requested cookbook for by daughter's birthday. It seemed plain, so I bought striped kitchen towels and matching dishcloths. I used the towels to wrap the cookbook, the dishcloth to make bows, a velvet ribbon to hold it all together and then topped it with a couple of pretty wooden spoons. Prestation is everything and no trees were killed!

I hate wrapping, mainly because I'm not good at it. I used to be, but now I take a med that makes me shake and gift wrap just reminds me of things I can't do. When it is called for I do it, although someone else does my bows.

Depending on how energetic I feel I have tried to use functional items instead of paper. I'd MUCH rather spend a few dollars to buy a pack of receiving blankets to wrap a baby gift, for instance. (Best trick there: buy a blanket or two and a cheap stuff animal. Place present at animal's feet and swaddle the heck out of it. Everyone says "so clever".

A few Christmases ago my sister made me a snowman out of white towels and office supplies. It was soooooo cute. She always uses fabric for wrapping for environmental reasons.

In our family we recycle all the wrapping paper, boxes, gift bags, ribbons etc that are halfway presentable. We've also used the comic pages from the Sunday papers to wrap gifts as well as brown paper bags. We never sign a greeting card so it can be passed on to someone else (usually outside of the family); if it stays in the family, it may end up with a Post a Note inside that can be removed. And the wrapped gift? we do it because it makes the gift a surprise and much anticipated! :)

I'm all about the gift bag - if you're getting a gift from me, it will be in a bag, most likely recycled from Christmas. Your birthday is in July? Buck it up, buttercup, you're getting a red and green bag with a cute little elf on the front. Deal with it. I mainly do it because the bags have handles and make it easier to carry, especially when the 3 year old is in charge of the gift.

As for cards, I leave that to my boys - the 8 year old makes a card out of paper and we all sign it. Homemade and freaking cute. People eat that stuff up.

Tertia, I borrowed this for my site. I'm exactly the way you are - much, much easier that way.

Gift wrap? Heck no! Waste of time. I'm happiest if you tell me what you're going to get me, or, even better, take me shopping and let me pick it out myself. None of this guess work.

I use gift bags for most family and friend gifts, and especially for children - it's fast and easy, and looks pretty nice. We recycle the bags - we have a box full in the basement. It took us 5 years, but we eventually gave away all the baby bags we received from our baby shower for triplets! I will paper-wrap small gifts that we are mailing overseas, and we know those family members appreciate it.
We usually get the kids to make birthday cards, and we send e-greetings to family members far away. But we do send about 100 Christmas cards by mail, with a family photo - we know people enjoy them.
And yes Liz, I am that one person who keeps greeting cards. I love them, and we have stacks from Christmases and birthdays past. I hate to throw away those messages of love and good wishes. Superstitious? or just a pack-rat, I don't know.

Wrapping is a MUST, otherwise it's not a gift, it's just an exchange of money. The bright display of the gifts piled up in the room turns a regular room into a party spot. Also bright decorations on the table, streamers hanging from the ceiling, balloons, candles, a fancily decorated cake, etc., all taken together transform an ordinary day into a festive one.

10 or 20 bucks for the paper... try over 30 for a card!!!! I dont give cards, its way too expensive, I am going to get stickers printed with the words "With Love, Paul, Gina and Aaron" printed on them, this will then be stuck on the wrapped gift. Although I do agree with you about the paper too, its a waiste for adults, I only wrap because it is expected, although I have been known to wrap a present in the comics section of the newspaper, or the financial section or the Hatched/Matched/Dispatched section depending on the person recieving the gift... A big roll of plain brown paper also serves as wrapping paper in our house (although I do tie a big colourful ribbon on those - ones I have saved from gifts I have been given!)

I think the gift and the thought put into the gift is more important. Who wants a lovely wrapped thing you will never use or wear.

Gift bags. Gift bags require very little effort, aside from finding an appropriate sized one. And they are reusable, saving money and trees. I'm with you on the wrapping paper. The only thing more painful for me than wrapping a gift is watching my husband wrap one. The amount of paper he uses is astounding. And the tape? Well, lets just say the thing is all but hermetically sealed.

Have to say, I agree with your sisters! I know it costs a little extra, but it does show you care and as you said kids love it when they have to open a present. DO us adults ever grow out of that??

I don't really care either way for myself. If someone decides to nicely wrap a present, I certainly appreciate the effort. If they don't - fine as well. That's less paper and other stuff filling my dustbin.

When I give presents to someone else, I usually wrap them or put them into a nice gift bag. I never wrap gifts for my father, though. He's like you, he doesn't care, and besides he is blind. Strangely enough, most other blind people I know actually do care about giftwrapping. Weird.

My darling Tertia, the answer is under your feet. You have two artistic children who can finger paint on butcher's paper (begged from the butcher at NO COST!)One afternoon of joyous "craft" will leave you with enough wrapping paper for a lifetime, or at the very least, till Christmas! What doting aunt wouldn't be DELIGHTED when she opens her gift, wrapped in designer wrap? For cards, same routine (only on A4 paper), and when dry, fold artwork in half and write heartfelt message in magic marker, as dictated by the artist! Whack a sticky ribbon on top if you're out to REALLY impress!

PS: I do, however, agree on one thing: Giftwrapping proves that you haven't bought the present at the very last moment, possibly even en route to the actual event. So that's a definite "pro wrapping".

You should see my christmas presents, they look like Martha Stewart wrapped them! I love making them look perfect and artful, and they make quite an impact on the recipient. Plus, the beautiful wrapping makes up for the fact that sometimes the gift inside is rather inexpensive! Most people are happy to receive such a nicely wrapped gift, others don't care. But I enjoy it, it's one of the few things I can do that is semi-artistic!

My SIL is against wrapping paper because of the waste and the impact on the environment, she uses old newspaper. Blech!

So far I can con my kids into doing all the work. I get a huge box of white tissue paper after christmas at a bulk store and wrap gifts in that and give the kids a bunch of markers. I buy card stock and have them make the cards too, much more personal and for the time being they love doing it.

We use newspaper for family, but usually choose the adverts for a bit more colour. Amoungst my friends, we have all agreed that we dont mind recycling gift bags, so sometimes I receive a gift in a bag that I gave to someone else a few months ago!

Just wrap the flippin' gift already! I am gonna set Mellie on you. Mellie, make T wrap my gift please!!

Gift bags are the way to go if the person you are giving the gift to wants it wrapped. Then they in turn can re-use the bag for a gift they are giving.

Cards = total waste of money!

For baby showers I always "wrap" the pressies in a receiving blanket - that the way the wrapping is used by the mom to be as well.

Oh my word!

The presentation is absolutely part of the gift for me - I have said that you can even give me an empty box but please wrap it beautifully :)

I also make sure my gifts look gorgeous and it is absolutely worth the extra 5 - 10 minutes to see that JOY on the person's face. I LOVE IT!

That said, I don't think you have to buy expensive wrapping and cards. I buy rolls of coloured craft paper at Clicks (anything from R1.99 - R4.99 a roll - that's $0.25 - $.62) and jazz it up with lovely ribbon. Very inexpensive but they always look gorgeous!

Cards, I HATE other people's words in them - I will TREASURE ones that people write out themselves. Again, I buy packs of 8 blank cards at Clicks for R29,99 ($3.75) that I use to write my own heartfelt messages in.

Please write Sister Mel a nice card and wrap a gorgeous present for her - it will absolutely make her day!!!!

(How's that, Mel?)

It isn't that "presentation is everything" but that unwrapping a gorgeous gift is FUN, no matter how old you are!!

Pretty much everyone gets gifts from me wrapped in white tissue paper. Which if you look carefully still has the name of some clothing store on it, because I usually recycle it although sometimes I buy plain, new paper. And then I like to put a ribbon or bow around it to pretty it up - but often the bow is made of that big fancy cord that forms the handles of bags from the same fancy clothing stores that use tissue paper. Or recycled from a gift someone else gave me. I am cheap! But also trying to be careful about the environment. I have bought a few cloth gift bags on occasion, that can be reused over and over again (provided the recipient will do that, and not just throw it away).

I am with you, Tertia. Hate to wrap, hate ribbons, shiny things, hate to waste my precious minutes in something that I think is useless, worthless and consumes resources. So, I do not appreciate the effort of the rest of the world when they give me something either. I use gift bags that everyone can re-use. I do not like cards either (giving or receiving); they can send me a nice email and I would be very happy. For me is the same thing with clothes or makeup, keep it simple, minimal, elegant, no flowers, no frills, no “girly” stuff. I guess I am a practical woman who did not know who Martha Stewart was before she went to jail…

I had to chime in on this one. I would consider myself a no-frills, waste-free type of person EXCEPT when it comes to gift-wrapping. I LOVE it and we go a little crazy with it at Christmas and for birthdays. But I understand your position too, Tertia, and it was something I absolutely had to educate my husband on when we first started dating. I distinctly remember him handing me two pairs of earrings on my first birthday with him and me just sort of looking at them blankly. I couldn't comprehend that someone would just hand over a gift with no wrapping. Since that fated day he has diligently wrapped my every gift and it is ALL about the thought for me. And the anticipation - I love it and I guess that just makes me a big kid at heart! We do, however, make every effort to re-use bows and tags and sometimes entire wrapping ensembles if we can get them off in one piece. So we try to enjoy the presentation and minimize waste at the same time.

Let me start by saying I recycle more than the average South African- actually pay people to collect my recycling!!
So, having said that, I LOVE WRAPPING GIFTS BEAUTIFULLY!!!!! I get such a kick out of it. I put so much effort into it because it's the start of the present- even if the person is let down by the gift, at least it's wrapped beautifully!It makes the person feel special that you spent the extra time, taking care to wrap it! I even make my own cards with beads and try to have it match the gift wrap! I just think anything that is presented nicely makes people feel nice, that even goes as far as clothes- if you put on something that makes you feel good then you feel better. Anyway I love it and all my friends love it too, it's become a bit of a thing- what she going to do this time. When my God children have birthdays I try and wrap the present to match the theme e.g a fairy party, I turned her present into a fairy- it's my creative outlet- maybe it'll all change when my baby arrives in September- won't have enough time!!!

AMEN Tertia!

My line is that "I have no skill with the paper arts"--I can cook and sew--but fold and tape paper that will be ripped? hand me my gift bag and the tissue paper please.

De-lurking for the first time, but just had give you a shout out...

I would be PISSED if someone handed me a gift unwrapped. The whole point of a gift is that someone took the time to find the right item, or buy something they knew you really wanted. I know people vehemently disagree with me on this, but it's the thought that counts- that thought INCLUDES taking the time to not just hand over the gift in the same condition in which it left the store.

I once was handed an unwrapped birthday gift (still in the store bag, complete with receipt shoved in the bottom) and promptly handed it back to the giver. It showed so little effort that they may as well have brought nothing at all. It's contradictory to the nature and emotion that go along with giftgiving in general.

I think it boils down to whether or not the recipient cares about the wrap job. If the recipient doesn't care, who gives a shit? If they do, you'd best get to wrapping. :)

Amazing how people who are born under the same roof can be so different. Same thing with my sister and I. Completely different people. Great blog. Enjoyed reading it.

Reason number ? that you had kids, never spend money on expensive wrapping paper again! - get some brown paper bags or brown paper, lay it out and let the kids color it with crayons or paint. Cut off a section for a card and wrap the present with the rest, spend minimal funds on some nice ribbon. Now you’ve got some wonderfully sentimental wrapping paper and you and/or the kids had a great time making it.

I definitely agree... presentation is everything!!!

I hate spending money on greeting cards - hate it! Won't do it. A little note on plain paper is nicer in every way.

Personally I think wrapping is a complete waste of money, resources and time. BUT in some countries like Japan and Turkey the wrapping is almost as important as the gift - it's a cultural thing!

I don't wrap gifts unless it is for kids. Don't have the time or energy. Personally I don't care if people hand me a gift in a grocery bag. The fact is, they actually bought me something and that is a bonus. I also prefer it sometimes if they leave the transaction slip inside so that it makes my life a bit easier if I need to exchange a size/colour etc. However, it is nice to hand over something that is beautifully presented. Normally when I shop for a gift for someone I also pick up a gift bag. They are sold everywhere and can be re-used as you are unlikely to tear them when opening a gift. If you go to the Woollies that I go to, then they are even nice enough to give you that soft white paper (I don't know the name) to pack on top of the gift. At some places (I know of Cardies) they sell a gift box in different sizes. They also sell the ribbon/bow thing that you can attach/stick to the gift box. This is also a cool idea but quite a bit more expensive than the gift bag option.
You are not in the minority cos I am totally with you on this one.

Forgot to add that I don't buy a card ever. Unless I am maybe going to be giving the person a voucher. For some reason, lot of people don't like receiving gift vouchers. Is it just in my circle? I love receiving gift vouchers. In fact, I encourage people to get me these as gifts.

I'm not to phased if my friends and family don't give me a card - but I get most annoyed if my DH doesn't make the effort. Even if it's handmade or something jotted on a fancy piece of paper...

You know what's always nice to gift-wrap, Tertia? BICYCLE HELMETS. If it doesn't have a nice ribbon or bow, you might just as well run the child over with your own car.

I'm with you Tertia. What's the point! I have given in and do wrap presents now but I use the brightly colored advertising circulars that come with our Sunday newspaper. It makes a brighly wrapped present that can be ripped to shreds, AND...I've recycled! Love it.

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