Christmas Sideline? I wish!

One of my favorite things about Christmas time is wrapping lots and lots of presents. Back when there were more of us under one roof and I had easier access to aunts and uncles, I used to spend hours doing all of their wrapping – everything from jewelry to M&Ms to surfboards(!). I usually got “paid” with lunch (cheap-ass extended family), but I didn’t mind because I was doing something that made me happy.

I wish there was a way to make money doing this that didn’t involve a minimum wage job at a mall. I’d even do it as a charity fundraiser if there was no way to turn a real profit (I’ll work cheap for charity, but not for myself…I know, what odd values I have). What’s standing in my way? New York City and its suspicious, litigious residents…

As someone needing a wrapper, would you trust a stranger with all your Christmas presents, i.e. drop them off and have them actually be there when you picked them up? Would you worry that she might take the goodies out of the box and just wrap the packaging? As a wrapper, I’d be worried that someone would claim they gave me stuff they didn’t (I could mitigate the chances of that though). Or claim that I wrapped an empty box and stole the iPod or whatever. So is the only way to make this happen to do it while they watch? Not realistic.

I’m tempted to offer it for charity $ within my apartment building (220 units), but I’m afraid it will sound really weird to the neighbors. Sometimes my ability to judge how things like this are perceived is a little off, and I don’t want to creep anyone out (I did that recently to a fellow blogger and still feel like an ass about it). Perhaps my best bet is to contact charities that do toy drives and ask if they need help with the wrapping.

Darn…I have such great ideas for wrapping – from gold-sponged brown paper tied up with either twine or ribbon, to tags made from last year’s Christmas cards and package toppers made from pieces of unwanted Christmas decorations. Can you tell how much I love this stuff?? I just can’t see a way to market it successfully as a sideline in this city.

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6 Responses

  1. Hi there-how about doing it at the persons house? If you set hourly timescales, maybe you could say-I’ll do 2 hours worth of Xmas wrapping for $xxx. If its at their house, the trust element should be fine.

    Its a great idea anyway, hope you find a way of making it work for you!!

  2. I was also going to say to go to them. It would be a pain to haul the stuff–maybe a huge suitcase? But then when you leave, they can see you didn’t steal anything.

    It doesn’t hurt to post an ad on Craigslist. That can’t creep out your neighbors, right?

  3. Thanks, guys…it didn’t even occur to me to go out to people’s homes, but that could work. Plus, it got me thinking – I love putting up Christmas trees, and a lot of people don’t. I have a couple of friends who invite me over every year to help them out (well, one of them drinks a hot toddy while he watches, if you can call that “help”). You’ve got me thinking about what else a “santa’s helper” can do that won’t involve shopping for anything but good deals on wrapping paper!

  4. Hey there, another great post! I just tagged you in my blog as one of my fave reads. Thanks for writing 🙂

  5. The other thing you may consider is pairing up with a personal shopper. So they shop, you wrap, and the customer gets everything taken care of. A lot of charities also have wrapping events at stores, with donations for the work. http://www.nycares.org/ should be able to put you in touch with a few.

  6. Sara L – personal shoppers, what a great idea! I’m so glad I wrote about my silly Christmas fun 🙂

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