Wrap It Up: Houstonian a Finalist in Wrapping Contest

When we at Hairballs were just wee tots, we had relatives who liked to do everything early for the holidays. They would have all their Christmas cards mailed before Thanksgiving and their gifts wrapped the day after Black Friday. We were less efficient preferring to wait for Christmas Eve to do all our shopping at Walgreen's and trying to impress everyone with two liter bottles of Pepsi and packs of AA batteries.

One advantage last minute shopping gives us is never having to worry about wrapping gifts. Mind you, we love a well-wrapped gift, particularly hard-to-wrap items like truck tires or life size statues of Luke Skywalker. How does mom do that?

This year, if you think you bought an item you simply can't wrap, you can seek inspiration from local gift wrapper extraordinaire, Sylvia Houston, who has made it to the finals of the Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest. Yes, there is a contest for that.

This is the second year in a row someone has represented H-Town in the contest (Judy Porter made the finals last year), but the first time a finalist is named Houston.

Contestants must submit an essay about gift wrapping and a tip that illustrates their gift wrapping skill. Houston's tip? "To make the present easily accessible, wrap the lid and box bottoms separately. To keep boxes and bows secure, attach bows to colored elastic bands with a bit of tape, and place the elastic around the box."

It kinda makes our plastic grocery bag seem like a cop out.

In this year's contest, eight contestants will attempt to wrap a pair of in-line skates out of the box. Four will advance to a round of wrapping an assembled charcoal grill. The final two get the joy of attempting to wrap a full-sized four wheeler. The grand prize winner takes home $10,000 and gift wrapping glory.

Houston says that her inspiration comes, in part, from her fellow Houstonians. "We might look ordinary on the outside but nine out of ten times, if you take the time to explore below the surface of even the most ordinary looking Houston resident," she said, "you will find a real character underneath."

The contest will be held in New York City on December 3.

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