My shopping is done.  I’ve got no more baking to do.  And save one, all of the great holiday parties are wonderful memories.

But I still have this stack of gifts to wrap.

I figure there are two kinds of people in the world: those who painstakingly dress each gift with crisp paper and color-coordinated bows; and those who haphazardly slap on some paper and call it a day.  I’m not so precise about most things, but you can put me in the first camp as far as gift wrapping goes.

Still, I’m mighty lazy.  I don’t measure out paper or use double-sided tape.  Instead I use a little bit of geometry to get my gifts just right.  It’s not hard at all.

The trick to a perfectly wrapped gift is to have just enough — not too much and not too little — paper to cover the package.  And to do that, use a box, if the item is oddly shaped.

Now consider the width of the box.  Line the box up on one end of the paper, like this:

And then turn the box up on the left edge, over onto the other large side and up again on the last edge, like this:

You want to have some left over paper on the left.  This will overlap so that there’s no gap in the seam.

Now you can look at the length of the package.  This is where things get a little tricky.  You need a little more than half the height of the package.  (I just eyeball it, but you can be more precise, if you want.)  You’re ready to cut.

So your paper is cut.  (Did you notice that throughout that easy process, you thought about the width, length and height of the box?  That’s the geometry at work here, folks.)  It’s time to start wrapping.  Turn the box upside down onto the paper.  This way, the seam will be on the bottom of the box.

Wrap one of the long sides of the paper over the box and secure with tape.

Do the same with the other side, making sure that the paper is tightly wrapped around the box.

Now it’s time to address the sides of the gift.  Fold down the top paper, so that it’s flush against the box.  If you’ve eyeballed your measurement correctly, the paper won’t be too long or two short.  Then fold in each side of the paper, making little angles.  Crease each one with your fingernail.  Then fold the last flap up, so that it looks like an envelope.  Use tape to secure that flap.

The other side is much easier, because now you can put the box up on the side you just wrapped.

Once everything is folded and taped up, use your fingernail to make sharp creases along each of the edges of the box.  Add a bow — I like using wired bows made of fabric, because they’re easy to manage, and I can reuse them again next year.  Ta-da!  The perfect gift!

Do you have a gift-wrapping technique to share?  If so, tell us in the comments section.

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