Merry Christmas, BIL

My spouse’s family has a sporadic tradition reserved for high-value gifts: Make them impossible to unwrap.

The gold standard is the Christmas my spouse’s grandfather suspended a gold letter opener in the center of a packing tube, then glued it shut so perfectly there were no visible seams. My spouse’s aunt, who received this gift, had a minor breakdown trying to open the tube. After six hours, her father relented and let her use tools.

See, there are two rules to this game:

1. The gift has to be high-value, and

2. The recipient may not use tools or assistance from others to open it.

I did a lower-stakes version a few years ago, when my sister in law decided that her daughter needed a Kindle. Niece was about 7 at the time, making this her first Very Own Device.

I wrapped the Kindle in four separate boxes, nested within one another. From respect for Niece’s age, attention span and fine motor skills, I did not make the boxes hard to open.

This year, my spouse’s brother is back from several months of serious medical stuff. My brother in law is a grown adult.

And my gloves are off.

This is a jar of truffles, wrapped in bubble wrap and wrapping paper. Isn’t it cute? The perfect stocking stuffer for the foodie on your list!

It needed a little something. Like, say, four layers of strapping tape applied in one continuous motion.

I don’t know if we can trust this dollar store wrapping paper to stay on by itself. Better wrap it in a coating of packing tape just to be safe.

“Hey, I got my brother this new tackle box. Would you mind wrapping it for me?” said my spouse.

Not at all, dear. I’d be happy to.

It fits just great into this box that coincidentally fits great into four other boxes I just coincidentally have happened to have been saving for months in case I needed to get revenge on my brother in law for kicking my butt in Bomberman one too many times.

The wrapping paper was not shiny enough. It needed another coat of packing tape.

Also (not shown) this box was not strong enough, and so I added a coat of strapping tape.

This one was acceptably shiny, but I covered every seam in packing tape just to be safe.

This box got wrapped with normal amounts of normal Scotch tape. Lulling the victim recipient into a false sense of comfort is a very important part of the game.

The boxes have gotten so big by this point, I had to move to the floor to wrap. I finished the seams on this one with packing tape as well.

Our tiny truffle jar, all grown up and nestled into its final box! (Cats shown for scale.)

The final wrap job. Since kraft paper is so fragile, and since my roll of packing tape was beginning to wane, I wrapped the entire box in packing tape until I emptied the roll.

“Well…that’ll make it fun,” my spouse said when I announced that I had used an entire roll of packing tape.

Merry Christmas, BIL.