How to use a gift bag for your gal's gift

Use a gift bag for your gal's gift

It's in the bag
A gift bag is a handy way to wrap your gal's gift. You've seen these bags around. They're the beautiful bags sold in most gift shops, with handles and sometimes an attached card/tag...made expressly for gift giving.

Now if you think that gift bags are a good shortcut to use in order to avoid wrapping her gift in the traditional manner, you're way off base. Merely tossing her gift into a gift bag and handing it to her is a fast way to show off your laziness and disappoint her at the same time (no matter how pretty the bag may be). Deciding when to use a gift bag is just the first step. You'll still need some finesse to pull it off.

Traditional wrapping is better
To start with, a gal always prefers a gift box (with nice wrapping and a bow) over a gift bag, so this should be your go-to move. The box-wrapping-bow route is more elegant and takes more work on your part...so it shows that you care about her. Also, it takes more time to open, so it lets her enjoy the experience of unwrapping it a little longer (which is hugely important to a gal).

This traditional wrapping style is indeed better than using a gift bag, but only when done right. To do a good job, you have to get an actual gift box, with a nice finish and maybe some color. I don't mean a brown cardboard packing/shipping box...which you should never use to wrap a gift.

As for the bow, it should be one of those non-plastic looking fabrics that you actually wrap around the box and tie yourself. Stick-on bows and those thin birthday party type strands that you curl up on the ends with a pair of scissors are forbidden.

Oddly shaped and huge gifts
Out of necessity, you should use a gift bag when the gift has an odd shape that won't easily fit into a gift box. Some guys might think to drape a sheet over their wierldy shaped gifts or plaster them with wrapping paper (with no attempt to conceal the shape), but these are terrible ideas. Play it classy and us a gift bag instead.

If the gift is too large to fit in a gift bag, you can employ the "naked bow" method, which is to simply wrap a single bow around it, and nothing else. Of course, this is followed by the mandatory routine of "Close your eyes and walk this way. Now open them." This serves to replace the experience of "unwrapping" her gift, in that she still gets to enjoy a final moment of anticipation before the big reveal.

Her intended reaction
If you're giving your gal some expensive or elegant gift, then a gift bag is not a good option. Bags are more for those "fun" types of gifts. Think of birthdays or gifts that you may give her "just because."

To figure out if a bag would be suitable for your particular gift, consider the reaction that you're going for. If you want to make her sigh and possibly tear up when she opens it and says "Oh...that's so beautiful/thoughtful. Thank you so much." then don't use a bag. But if you're trying to get a smile and a giggle out of her as she opens it and says, "Wow, that's sweet. Thanks a lot." then you've got a green light to use that bag.

Let's put this simply in the form of some concrete examples. Traditional wrapping is for gold bracelets, elegant blankets, and satin pajamas. Gift bags are okay for candy necklaces, concert tickets, and t-shirts.

Are there some crossover gifts where you could go either way? Absolutely...tons of them like perfume, a framed photograph, or anything engraved/personalized.

Ulra-elegant gifts pretty much demand a traditional wrapping job, but you're certainly free to use your best judgment for your particular gal, regardless of the gift. You can be confident though that you never need to deviate from the guidelines laid out above in order to set yourself up for a successful wrapping job every single time. In other words, don't stray from these recommendations too often.

The bag
There a lot of different bag options out there, so start by choosing the right size for the gift you picked out. Stuffing a large gift into a tiny bag is equally as bad as dumping a tiny gift into a giant bag. Be sure to allow for a little extra room though, so you'll have space to stuff it with tissue paper.

Next, you'll need to pick a color or design. There's no need to match the color of the bag with the gift itself, but it's an excellent idea to make sure it matches or complements the card and envelope. A design is not necessary, as colored bags are always acceptable, but if you do go for a design, consider going with something simple.

Intricate designs can sometimes look great to a guy, but cheesy to a gal, so it's okay to play it safe here by not complicating things. You know your gal best, so you should have an idea of what will play and what won't. Generally though, pastel or black and white stripes and polka dots are good standards you can rely on. Green lightning bolts on a purple background...not so much.

As for phrases such as, "Happy Holidays!" or "Be My Valentine." you'll need to consider what works for your gal. If she's a holiday nut, then you can get her something with a phrase on it. Otherwise, it's perfectly fine to steer clear of them.

As for the price, don't go cheap on the bag, because it sets the tone for the gift within. No matter how little you may care about the bag, it's an important element for your gal, so just go with it. It's a small investment compared to how much it will enhance her experience.

Tissue paper
Once you've decided to go down the gift bag route, you're going to need some tissue paper. This is not a suggestion. It's mandatory.

Buy legitimate tissue paper for this, preferably in some color other than white (as long as it matches or complements the color of the bag). You can even find paper with printed designs, which is even better. Don't be a joker by using balled up newspaper or magazine pages though. Those are not substitutes for actual tissue paper and they will wreck the entire presentation of the gift.

When you stuff the bag, don't wad up the paper. Tissue is lightweight stuff, so it should be placed in the bag that way...lightly. Go look up a few photos of gift bags on the internet and you'll see what I mean.

Try to find a way to dress up the gift before you place it in the bag...but only if you can do it with class. If you're giving her a bottle of wine, you might tie a ribbon around it. For something like a sweater, you could wrap it in its own tissue paper (colored differently from the paper you'll use to stuff the bag), tape it up (like you would with regular gift wrap), and put a fancy gold sticker on it. Don't sweat this extra decoration though if you can't think of any ideas. It's not that necessary.

Handle card/tag
Some gift bags come with a blank card attached to the handle. It's okay to write a short message here, but this is no replacement for the actual card that you should give her with every gift. A quick, "I love you." or some phrase with a secret meaning to the two of you works well for this. If you don't have something personal to write on the included "handle card" then go ahead and tear it off. It's really not necessary.

Final thought
You can never go wrong with traditional wrapping (with a gift box, wrapping paper, and a bow), but gift bags can also do the job under the right circumstances. Don't use them too often, but use them correctly when you do.

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