Let volunteers ease your holiday stress, or follow these tips on gift wrapping

Purchasing holiday gifts is only half the battle. They still need to be wrapped, and there’s a scien

Purchasing holiday gifts is only half the battle. They still need to be wrapped, and there’s a science to that.

Those who spend much of the season up to their elbows in festive paper and bows have strategies to make the annual wrap-a-thon successful and significantly less stressful.

Loretta Hackney, staff lead for the American Cancer Society’s Wrapping Up Cancer event, oversees a volunteer army of gift-wrappers who staff tables at Rotterdam Square mall, Colonie Center, Crossgates Mall and Wilton Mall. Wrapping has already started at Colonie Center, and will commence at the other three locations on Friday. During the two weeks before Christmas, more than 10,000 volunteer hours will be devoted to prettying up boxes and tacking on bows.

Shoppers with no desire to tackle wrapping their own packages can have their gifts wrapped by the volunteers for a donation.

For those who decide to take on the task themselves, Hackney offers these suggestions:

u Assemble supplies in advance. Don’t get stuck hunting for gift tags, scissors or tape in the middle of the process.

“You want some sort of tape dispenser. Don’t try to go with a roll of packing tape and some scissors. You’re sure to get your fingers caught up in that,” she cautioned.

u Choose the right workspace. Hackney recommends a waist-high counter, to help avoid back strain.

u Measure carefully. Wrap paper around the gift before cutting, to avoid waste or the need for a patch-job.

Wrap a piece of ribbon around large or oddly-shaped items to measure the circumference, then lay the ribbon out on the wrapping paper to determine how much to use.

u Color-coordinate. Wrap everything for Dad in one kind of paper and everything for Mom in another, so that when it’s time to hand out gifts, you don’t have to read every single tag.

u Get creative. Instead of a bow, tape on a candy cane, an ornament or a sprig from the Christmas tree.

u Start early. Wrap gifts as you buy them to avoid a wrapping frenzy in the wee hours of Christmas morning.

Bichi Fasso, assistant store manager of Boscov’s at Clifton Park Center, oversees the year-round gift-wrapping department at the store.

People have been lining up there since the week before Thanksgiving to have their Boscov’s purchases wrapped for free.

One of the most requested holiday gift wraps is paper with snowmen on it, she noted, since it can be used on gifts for young and old alike.

She offered these suggestions for wrap-it-yourselfers:

u Do some research. Search magazines and the Internet for fresh ways to add pizazz to your packages.

u Stock up on supplies. “Buy extra tape, because you’ll wind up needing it,” she advised.

u Make it look professional — Once the wrapping paper’s covering a box, run your fingers along its edges to create crisp lines.

u Save paper scraps to use when wrapping smaller gifts.

Categories: Schenectady County

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