The Art of Giving
THE GIFT SHOP – Across the whole of Neopia, pets and owners are rushing to get
their packages done in time for Christmas, hoping to give away a little piece
of joy. With so much many choices when it comes to gifts and wrapping, I thought
you might need some help. And that’s why (at least I think that’s why) I wrote
Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an article telling you what to buy for
your 333rd neofriend or something like that, because I’m sure you already know
what you’re going to give. (Or at least I hope you do.) In any case, I’m here
to guide you a bit on the stuff beyond the gifts, and I’ll have to admit this
guide is more of a how-to on fanciful wrapping and focusing on those itty-bitty
little details that are so pleasing to the eye. It’s the thought that counts,
they always say.
The most important thing of all is to remember that it is your thought that
is supposed to count, so feel free to do it any way you want. This is merely
a guide to nudge you along the creative art of giving, and there’s a reason
as to why it’s called ‘art’. Just remember to put your touch on it, and I’m
sure your 333rd neofriend will be very happy.
The Art of Packaging
First of all we have the art of packaging, which, as you might’ve figured,
includes wrapping a gift and choosing a pretty ribbon to go along with it. Sure,
you can just go with the old traditional boring wrapping supplies and tie a
ribbon, but here are some suggestions to spice it up a bit.
The Non-New Newspaper Package – Just look at the name! (I’ll bet you
know what’s coming…) Well, you start by taking a lot of old Neopian Times Issue
3s and spread them out from cover to cover. Then you separate the sheets from
each other, and use them as normal wrapping paper (only it isn’t so fancy).
Try to use transparent tape; it gives the best effect. For that Christmas-y
touch, use red ribbons or thin strings (if you’re really cheap) to tie around
with. The result will be a simple and clean-cut packaged gift, which really
goes along with the saying “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”. If you’re
giving this to a NT author, why not only use their stories and articles to wrap
with, and place some nice comics on top of the package?
The Sensational Cellophane Package – Cellophane is a shiny, transparent
kind of wrapping that can easily be scrunched and shaped as you like. This wrapping
has a really lovely sound when rustled and is rather malleable. It works best
for jars of candies and other glittery, delicious things as you can actually
see through it (and preferably not drool on it). It has this certain glamorous
feel to it, but if you don’t like revealing your secrets too quickly, why not
put cellophane around an already wrapped package instead?
The Cylindrical Candy Package – This package is perfect if you want
to hand out cylindrical-shaped things, like a bottle of perfume. Cut out a piece
of wrapping that is about twice the length or longer of the cylindrical item
and a bit wider than its circumference. Roll the wrapping around and secure
it with a piece of (transparent) tape. Get out your favorite ribbons (preferably
matching the covering in color) and tie it around the top and the bottom of
your cylinder, so the item won’t fall out on either end. It’s that simple to
make a candy package, but if you want to make it even more fancy, get out the
scissors again and cut long strips on the parts that stick out, to give it more
volume. Now that’s quite an eye candy, isn’t it?
The Stupendous Sock Package… err… Thing – Okay, you got me since it’s
not really a package, but it isn’t that bad of an idea. Just pop your gift into
a sock and hang it on the Christmas tree instead of that boring old fireplace
with your receiver’s name on it. That’ll definitely be a delightful surprise
for them and you don’t even have to waste NP on ribbons of the seven rainbow
colors or anything else fancy. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to put
anything too heavy or flammable (Burn, Christmas tree, burn!) in the sock. Why
not make it extra spiff by giving the other sock away too, so the receiver will
get both your gift and a pair of (smelly) socks.
The Art of Attaching
Now that I’ve given you some ideas, I’m sure you can come up with more clever
ones that may suit your taste better or work from those I’ve put down. But wrapping
the package wasn’t all of it; there’s also the art of attaching! By attaching,
I mean gift tags and various other cute items to put on the packages. Not just
the boring “To You From Me”, but maybe something else…
Rhymes – This is a rather splendid little nicety to add to the gift
tag, especially if you’re a good poet. Why not make a rhyming poem about the
contents of the package and have your lovely 333rd neofriend try to figure out
what’s inside? A second verse could replace the ‘From (insert your name here)’
and leave your friend wondering who gave it to him or her. If you can’t make
good rhymes by yourself, try contacting the salespeople. If you’re really desperate,
don’t resort to anything like begging famous poets to write for you, because
then it won’t be your thought, wouldn’t it? (Instead, just invent some weird,
never-before-seen words to go along with it.)
Hand-Made Gift Tags – Well, well… Why not make your own gift tag? Get
out the glitter, glue and gel pens and return to your childhood (if you are
already there, consider yourself lucky). This is the perfect, personalized gift
tag for people who really dislike those boring, bland store-bought tags. Just
use your artistic skills, there’s no right or wrong here. If you’re like me
and your artsy skills are similar to nil, just glue some glitter and try your
best. It’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?
Ribbons and Strings – Okay, okay, they were a kind of covered in the
Art of Packaging, but this is just a mini-guide on how to make it extra fancy.
If you happen to have a really long piece of ribbon, place one end to the blade
of a scissor (note that you should not let your pet do this, especially if they
only have claws, like a Jubjub for example). Pull the short end and soon you’ll
have lovely curly-cues on your piece of string. Stuff all those bouncing locks-look-a-likes
under the main strings that tied the package together and arrange it to look
like a nice-looking flower. If you want extreme elegance, take a two or so of
those strings and attach them to the bulbous center of the package. Slice their
ends and split them into thinner strings, creating a party-ish effect as the
thin strings will stand out and really make it three-dimensional.
The Art of Giving Away
Now that you’ve got your lovely it’s-the-thoughts-that-counts package, it’s
time to give it away! There’s an art to this too, not just putting it under
the Christmas tree and have them thank you next morning. Here are two more creative,
The Clever Clues Chase – This form of giving is really recommended for
those of your friends who happen to be obsessed with detectives or have read
any stories like that, so they know what to expect. Make mysterious notes, riddles
and numerous clues, hide them in different places and make your friend work
for the gift. Take them on a trip from the Space Station into the deep heart
of the Haunted Woods with clues; it’ll just make the reward so much sweeter.
Note that you really shouldn’t do this with extremely busy or easily irritated
people, but with those with a sense of adventure.
The Santa Fishing Game – Remember the fishing game in the Underwater
Cavern? Why not create it at your place, with the fireplace as the cavern? Hide
some gifts among the ashes and have your friends fishing up the packages. What
a delightful surprise that’d be! Just remember that you should have someone
behind the scenes to fasten the package to the hooks or your 333 neofriends
might end up with gifts not meant for them or simply ashes.
Well, that’s about all I had to offer, but I’m sure you can at least pick out
one or two ideas from these and make them your own. Do it a bit differently
and watch the results (which may be astonishing, who knows?). Just take some
time to get into the Christmas spirit, take time to perfect these little details
and use your own hands to give that special touch to your gifts. With that,
I hope your friends and family will see the great amount of effort you put into
it and appreciate that. After all, Christmas is the season of giving and what’s
better than giving a piece of joy that warms the heart?
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Author’s Note: I’d like to thank all those gift stores in town for inspiring
me to write this article and the two kind ladies who gave me a practice job
and taught me how to wrap things with a delightful little touch. Also, I’d like
to thank my friends (you know who you are) for making my days bright and joyful,
and of course you, the reader, for reading this article. Any comments or questions?
Just neomail me, I’d like to know if this article was of any help to you. Again,
Merry Christmas, Neopia! ^^