What Your Choice of Wrapping Paper Says About You

Nothing says Christmas like plaid.

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

I wouldn’t say that I intentionally buy wrapping paper. It’s just something that somehow ends up in my house and then I wrap it around objects which I also have not put a lot of thought into that I then hand to someone else for some socially-mandated reason. The paper is of little or no consequence because once we are handed a gift, we all become the five-year-olds we once were, laser-focused on whatever might be under the paper. We have one thought: destroy the paper with extreme prejudice.

Still, people put a lot of thought, time, and energy into wrapping presents. Personally, all of my presents look like they were wrapped by an alcoholic raccoon. In fact, I have several rolls of wrapping paper that I found in a garbage can. They were slightly flattened, but still wrapped in plastic and perfectly serviceable for their purpose, which is, as mentioned, to be obliterated with lightning speed.

If something is too neatly wrapped, I feel bad about opening it. I gently tug at the Scotch tape, hoping somehow to preserve the pristine shell of silver foil and artfully curled ribbon like a death mask of the present inside. It’s a sin to open a present like that. Thanks for making me feel like an uncouth animal as I tear into my gift like the Tasmanian Devil.

Here is what your choice of wrapping paper tells me:


You were bottle-fed as an infant and your house is immaculate. Loud music gives you heartburn. You donate to NPR and use all the free tote bags to do your grocery shopping, which consists of nothing but fresh local produce and Kerrygold butter. You were a virgin when you got married and still don’t see what all the fuss is about sex. The white tissue paper is held in place with twine that was handspun by Ethiopian women who belong to a cooperative that uses the proceeds to distribute free menstrual cups.


Your brain is a colorful mush of twinkling lights and the first verse of every Christmas carol ever written. You spend your evenings sipping “mommy’s special cocoa” and stalking your ex on Instagram. Your Facebook posts are a pristine crust beneath which roils a seething magma of dysfunction and day drinking. You adore the buildup to Christmas, but the let down afterward makes you Google therapists who take your insurance.


Either you’re making some kind of statement about the death of print journalism, or you’re a massive stoner and just realized it’s Christmas about five minutes ago. Eco-points for using an old pizza box to hold this vintage “Keep On Truckin” T-shirt. You’re the person for whom the phrase “It’s the thought that counts” was coined.

PLAID (which is what I’m wrapping all my presents in)

People who wrap presents in plaid wrapping paper are frugal like the great Scottish people (tribes? clans?) of yore. Plaid makes a bold statement chosen only by the strong. No silly reindeer or gingerbread men. We’re all adults here, what do you care what the paper looks like? It was free, that’s what’s important. Don’t be a baby. Stop looking at my present like it’s wrapped in a dead squid. The lines make it easy to cut — who’s the genius now, huh?

(photo by the author)

Legal secretary by day, insomniac by night. BA, MA. If life is a journey, I’m lost. Slackjaw, Points In Case, The Funny Times, The Haven. Twitter: @blade_funner

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