Anyone given a gift covered in an entire roll of tape, Brady Bunch gift wrap, or mismatched paper that poorly concealed the box knows the value of a good wrapping job.
The elves at Willowbrook Shopping Centre have been hard at gift wrapping since Dec. 7 and will continue right up until Christmas Eve – when they will likely wrap 600 to 700 gifts that one day alone.
These hard-working, hands-on volunteers – who support the Langley School District Foundation – include students, teachers, parents, staff, administrators, and retirees who wrap gifts for a starting cost of $3.
The Langley Advance went behind the scenes at one of the busiest locations in the shopping centre. Susan Cairns, executive director of the foundation, gathered information from a few of her helper elves: Lenny Yun, Lara Petrie, and Laura d’Alva.
“On the first night of wrapping (Dec. 7) the team had to wrap a huge doll house,” Cairns responded when asked what the most unusual item was for concealment, so far this season.
They’ve dealt with scooters, an eight-foot by five-foot picture, and even a giant ball.
When approaching odd-sized or odd-shaped gifts, the team suggests planning the wrap job first and enlisting help of another pair of hands.
This can often mean going through the stash of paper to find the longest roll, and certainly one with enough paper on it.
Lay the paper out first, ensure it will cover the gift completely, then cut. Secure odd angles with tape before completely covering the gift with the paper and folding ends in.
Don’t push or pull paper too hard – this often causes rips.
Keep a bit of slack in the paper to allow for movement – which is the opposite of wrapping a smooth square item where paper should be tight.
Of course, some items are just too hard to wrap, and if there’s no box handy – go with a gift bag. Elves at Willowbrook often do.
Just remember to pretty it up with some tissue and ribbon.
When dealing with gifts from Santa, Cairns said, “Make sure that the wrapping paper is different from the stuff you have at home. Lots of parents come to our wrapping centre because they want unfamiliar paper so it looks like it came from Santa.”
Kids are surprisingly observant about paper, tags, and other items that surround Santa gifts.
Not only should the paper be different, but the writing on the tag should also be unfamiliar.
When the elves wrap their own gifts at home, Cairns noted they strive for a lot of colour under the tree. Reindeer and Santa wrap is popular for kids, silver and gold for women, and green and black are trending for men’s gifts.
Of course, coordinating ribbons and bows can bring the package to life, Cairns said.
Another trend this year is eco-friendly ribbon and wrap.