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5 Ways To Wrap A Present That Don’t Involve You

The modern lazy person’s guide to obligatory holiday gift exchange.

5 Ways To Wrap A Present That Don’t Involve You

As “on-demand” companies compete to deliver our food, run our errands, do our laundry, and even pack our suitcases, pundits are wondering whether we’re really this lazy. Our best advice? Ignore them–at least when it comes to obligatory holiday gifting.

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Thanks to a long season of very liberal venture-capital funding, there are many ways that you can get your gift wrapping done without lifting a finger (when it comes to tape and scissors, that is–you may still have to tap your smartphone). We have compiled them here. All you have to do to get started is answer a simple question: Just how lazy are you?

If possible, I would prefer this to involve zero decisions:

Terrific. We’re on the same page. On Black Friday this year, more people shopped online than in stores for the first time, which means it’s likely you’re already tuned in to step one of this gift-wrapping scheme: shop online. Amazon offers gift wrapping for $3.99 to $5.99 per item, depending on size. You don’t even have to pick the paper.

Let’s keep this in a text thread:

At least two text-based personal assistant companies, GoButler and Magic, have hired humans whose job it is to schedule your errands for free. Just text one of their numbers the question, “How can I get my presents wrapped?” and they will answer by, for instance, hiring a TaskRabbit on your behalf or looking up an independent wrapping professional on Yelp. Facebook launched a similar service called M in August. Whichever service you choose (I know, choices, ugh!), you’ll have to hand over your credit card, which requires enough patience to enter 16 digits.

I am willing to download an app:

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Shop on AHAlife’s app. The app accesses your Facebook friends. Once you select the recipient, you choose from one of 10 personality types like foodie, techie, or style maven, and the AHA team curates the gifts that fall under each category. You choose one, write out a card, and a text is sent. The giftee “unwraps” it by dragging downward on their screen, and after they send their mailing address, the startup will wrap and ship it. Voilà!

I am willing to both download an app and tolerate misuse of a vowel:

Shyp, which operates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and Chicago, will send someone to your house to pick up your gift for a flat fee of $5. Not only do you not have to wrap it, you do not even have to find an appropriately sized box in which to pack it. Shyp will package and ship it to the gift recipient (bonus: you do not need to travel to meet with said gift recipient). Last year, the company experimented with gift-wrapping options, which required some decision making on the customer’s part. But, thank goodness, they have discontinued it. Your gift will not be pretty. But the company’s website promises that its “warehouse technicians” have “a keen eye for an item’s stress points, and the craftsmanship to create elegant packaging solutions,” which we suppose means that at least it will not arrive broken.

Not only is my home in a suitable condition for a house call, but I can predict my schedule with enough accuracy to invite a neighborhood laborer over at a specific time:

First of all, let’s not understate what an achievement it is to get to this higher level of lazy. Congratulations. Now, you can hire a TaskRabbit without the help of a third-party personal assistant service. You’ll have to create a “custom task,” which requires some typing.

I clicked on this article just so I could laugh at you lazy suckers. Martha Stewart is my personal hero, and I would never consider outsourcing a gifting opportunity:

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Cruel, but we understand. If we had an ounce of crafting will within us, we’d probably be Googling for opportunities to feel smug, too (plus, if you’re really into gift wrapping, it’s likely that you have a lot of extra time on your hands). The good news is that, in addition to creating many gift-wrapping options for lazy people, venture capital has also created gift-wrapping options for overly ambitious people. Check out SpoonFlower, Giftskins, or Zazzle to design your own wrapping paper, or Wrapped to order someone else’s high-style design.

We wish you well as you spend the next five months picking glitter out of your carpets.

About the author

Sarah Kessler is a senior writer at Fast Company, where she writes about the on-demand/gig/sharing "economies" and the future of work.

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