The world is divided into wrappers and non-wrappers. The latter are obviously mad, bad and horrible to know! And it is my job to convert them, one blog reader at a time.
Imagine the scenario. It’s the first Christmas you’ve spent with your boyfriend’s family. You’ve pulled out all the stops with the Christmas presents. You’ve tried to get everyone a thoughtful little something and wrapped them all beautifully. But they give you presents unwrapped, in the carrier bags with the gift receipts, you know, just in case you want to swap it.
What should you think? Well, I expect your boyfriend’s family see presents as tokens and wrapping as purely functional. At most, wrapping is a way of concealing your gift a little longer, keeping it protected from the elements on the way to or from a party and, after all, it’s only going to get ripped off anyway. So what’s the big deal? That’s why carrier bags are fine. Indeed, we are taught from an early age not to put too much emphasis on presents as, “It’s the thought that counts.” Your boyfriend is obviously from a morally upright, thoroughly sensible and pragmatic family. Right?
Wrong! It’s the thought that counts. And that’s exactly the point, isn’t it? The thought. How much thought you put into it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying presents have to cost a lot. But to me presents and how you wrap them; show just how much time, energy and thought you have put in to the recipient’s pleasure.
Spending time choosing the right gift shows how well you know the recipient and how much you’ve been listening to them talk about their likes, dislikes, hobbies, current obsessions, guilty pleasures etc. Similarly wrapping the present shows that you have spent even more time and effort trying to make the gift an experience for them. You want to present it in a pleasing way, enhance their anticipation and spread the joyous atmosphere of whatever special occasion you are celebrating.
In case you needed further convincing:
In many cultures, not wrapping a gift is considered rude. For example, the word for gift wrapping in Japanese is tsutsumu (包み) or 'the mirror of the soul.’ Wrapping is considered to be a form of communication between the giver and recipient – where the choice of wrapping material and colour of the paper may hint at the gift inside or reflect the emotions behind the gift. A lot of thought therefore needs to go into wrapping. Sensible people, the Japanese!
In case you still need persuading:
A couple of Christmasses ago, the Guardian’s GrrlScientist website cited a study done by a marketing professor in Dallas. He was looking into the effects of gift wrapping on product attitudes. The professor conducted a series of elaborate social experiments tracking the feelings of hundreds of students who were given gifts in various states of wrap and unwrap and asked to evaluate them. “Probably not surprisingly, the nicely wrapped gift was the favorite, while the unwrapped gift was the least favorite. Even the plain brown paper wrapped gift was preferred over the one that was not wrapped at all.” In short, his tests showed that the better you wrap something, the more joy the recipient experiences. He even went so far as to show that the higher the quality of the wrapping materials you use, the more joy the gift will provoke.
The professor proposed various complicated reasons for this and argued that gift wrapping gives the recipient a visual signal that is associated with happy events in a person’s life. But to me it is all so much simpler, wrapping means love. S.W.A.L.K.
The Japan Forum www.tjf.com article on Tsutsumu