My mother hates to wrap gifts. I remember waiting in long lines at the department store's gift-wrap counter so that she could avoid wrapping presents herself. I loved to watch the clerks make sharp corners and attach pretty bows.
As soon as I was old enough, Mom was happy to hand the gift-wrapping responsibility to me. When Christmas approached, she would send my brother and sister out with Dad, stack boxes all over the living room, and set me up with tape and scissors and wrapping paper in front of a Christmas movie on TV, warning, "This pile is yours. Don't open the boxes." Yes, I wrapped my own gifts!
Now that I live over 100 miles away from my parents, they had to make other wrapping arrangements, so Dad has taken over the task. He's pretty good at it--and meticulous about making sure that he matches the patterns when he wraps packages (a throwback from the days when he used to wallpaper our home, I'm sure.) The gift tags can be interesting, though. Sometimes he uses very tiny letters, and other times he'll write out a tag that simply says "To You From Me."
My parents also get pretty creative with boxes. Since gift boxes rarely come free anymore, they've found other ways to package presents. This goes way beyond the standard "reusing gift bag" tactic. Many times they will just pile a few gifts intended for the same person into a cardboard mailing box, tape it shut and wrap the whole thing.
That works great when the box gives no clue about its contents. A box from a department store, or a plain box, could contain anything! But when the box is labeled with the name of a specific product, the recipient naturally assumes that the box actually contains that product.
A few years ago, both my parents and my in-laws invested in Bose radio/CD players. We visited my in-laws soon after they got theirs and were really amazed at the quality of the sound that comes out of such a small item.
A few days later, we visited my parents to celebrate Christmas. As usual, Dad had been resourceful when they ran out of gift boxes, and he used the box from his new radio to hold some presents intended for my teenage son. Imagine his surprise when he unwrapped a box labeled with a picture and model number of the exact same radio he'd seen and admired at my in-laws' house just a few days before. Since the box was taped shut, and we were not at home where he could immediately use the radio, he thanked his grandparents and continued to watch as his siblings and cousins opened their gifts.
After a moment or two, my mom realized that he had not opened the box. She urged him to break the seal, and lo and behold, he did not find an awesome radio--but some pajamas, a book and a CD.
The radio box has become something of a family joke now, and it's continued to make the rounds over the years. But Mom felt a little bad for misleading her grandson, so I don't think he'll be receiving anything in that box anytime soon.
If you're looking to purchase some electronics--and actually give the gift that matches the box's label--one of these deals should suit you just fine.
Free Shipping on your order at Bose
Use this link to activate coupon. Valid through: December 31, 2008
Free Shipping on orders over $100 at Brookstone.com
Use promotion code FREESHIP. Valid through: December 8, 2008
Free Shipping on orders over $49 at Palm
Valid through: December 31, 2008 11:59pm ET
Free Shipping on all orders at SonyStyle
Valid through: December 31, 2008
$20 off an order of $100 or more at Crutchfield.com
Use coupon code 3A825 in your shopping cart in the "Special offer or catalog code" box. Valid through: December 31, 2008