I think I was eight. Maybe seven. It was my birthday, and a family friend who'd taken a mentor role with me stopped by to give me a small gift. I don't remember what was in inside, but I can so perfectly and vividly recall that it was wrapped in the full, CMYK color of Sunday comics section, and it blew my freaking mind.
To this day, I maintain that old newspaper is the most perfect way to wrap a gift. The act is brilliant, and not just to an eight year boy. It's subversive. It's free. It's eco-friendly. And it looks infinitely cooler than anything available on a roll from the discount store.
These days, I've traded the crayon box colors of the funny pages for the classic black-on-gray look of the regular weekday news section. I particularly like the consistency of the New York Times financial pages (and if you think about it, the obituaries are quite visually appealing.)
“But wait,” you say.
“Who has a newspaper lying around anymore?”
Fair enough. I certainly don't. Physical subscriptions are certainly down, and for most of my generation and younger, we've literally never had a local paper delivered to the house. But that's no matter. Your city has a free alt weekly, a neighborhood bimonthly, and all sorts of newsprint publications you can get your mitts on easily.
And to obtain is worth it, because the vibe is just. so. perfect. Newsprint has a texture that comes alive when cornered and taped around a box, and the look is clean yet worn in, just enough.
This doesn't communicate carelessness. It oozes confidence from every fold and swath of Scotch tape. It's 2017, and wrapping a gift in newspaper does not detail that you're not thoughtful enough to keep commercial gift wrap on hand. Rather, newsprint communicates you most certainly do have a whole box of snowflakes and candy cane stripes and all the trimmings sitting around, but that you're making the specific choice to offer it like this instead.
No bows. No ribbon. No gift tag. It's all intention, but presented effortlessly. It's utilitarian nonpareil, and therefore as cool as gift giving can get. And for my money, even more thoughtful.
Happy holidays, friends.