December’s Good Wrap

We’ve talked about December’s Bad Rap (in Alaska); now I want to talk about December’s Good Wrap (worldwide). As if I could resist that word play. Yep, I’m talking wrapping paper, what with December being a gift-giving month for many people.

This post has appeared elsewhere before, but it’s one of my faves. If you’ve seen it, I hope it’s a welcome reminder. If you haven’t seen it, enjoy!

Best Gift Wrap Ever!

Yarn and sock-in-progress

Hand knit wool socks are awesome, but still…they’re socks. Wrap ’em in a puzzle for extra fun!

Got a boring gift you want to spice up? What one can get with a gift card is great, but let’s be honest, the gift cards themselves are kinda boring.

Got an impossible-to-wrap gift? Say, a kitchen remodel or a new bike?

I’ve got you and your gift covered.

No need to dig out the paint or the giant roll of butcher’s paper. We’re not going to recycle newspaper. I’m talking about wrapping a gift in a puzzle. It’s the most entertaining gift wrap I know. A gift in itself, to boot. And it’s a snap. Let me show you.

Wrap Your Present in a Puzzle

  1. Choose the gift you will wrap in a puzzle, and then choose a place you can hide it. You might put a gift card under a lampshade or lamp or under the recipient’s pillow after she has gotten up. You might hide a bike in the trunk of a car or in the garage.
  2. Think of a clue describing the place you’ve hidden the gift. If you hid it under a lamp, you might say, “Got any bright ideas where I hid your gift?” If you hid it under a pillow, you might say, “I hid your gift. If you get tired of looking, I suggest you sleep on it.” If it’s in the trunk of the car, you might say, “A ride in the car might unlock the mystery of your gift’s whereabouts.” Extreme cleverness is definitely a bonus, but, clearly, it’s not required!
  3. Now turn that clue into a puzzle. We’re going to use a letter-substitution code to make a cryptogram. You can write out your own code or use this one:
    Letter substitution chart for making a cryptogram

    To create your cryptogram gift wrap, use this letter-substitution code or create your own.

    Now, where there’s an A in your clue, you write a D instead. Where there’s a B, you write O. So “GOT ANY BRIGHT IDEAS WHERE I HID YOUR GIFT?” becomes “YKU DTS OEWYMU WJQDX NMQEQ W MWJ SKGE YWCU?”
  4. Write the clue on a piece of paper along with instructions for deciphering it.

    Each letter in the code represents a different letter of the alphabet. Once you’ve figured out what one letter or word is, use those letters to help decipher other words.

  5. Seal the clue in an envelope, or wrap it in pretty paper, and put it in the recipient’s stocking or under the tree.

In addition to the joy of receiving the gift, the recipient will have the added entertainment of solving a puzzle and searching out the gift. So fun! So memorable!

Now, if you’re giving this gift to a child, you might want to offer some hints to help solve it. You could, for instance, provide a few letters to get him started, say Q=E, U=T, and Y=G. Maybe point out that the one-letter words are a good place to start solving.

You can also add another layer of fun by cutting the piece of paper containing the code into pieces like a jigsaw puzzle and putting the pieces in the envelope. Now she’s got to put the pieces together, solve the cryptogram, figure out what the clue means, and find the gift. Fun, fun, fun, and more fun!

Best Gift Ever!

Got a new car hidden in the garage or a trip around the world to present? (Oh, please let me be the recipient!) Wrap it in a puzzle, and put it under the tree. You can wrap anything in a puzzle.

So…who’s game?

Categories: Creativity, Puzzles

3 replies »

  1. That is something I might just do this year. In previous years, I have turned a mystery present into a “treasure hunt” by using simple post-it notes and clever hints. Even my adult children love those!

  2. Cassel – DO IT! You can combine the treasure hunt with the puzzle by hiding different pieces of the puzzle in the different locations.

    Lena – Yep!