Puzzling Gift Wrap

Do you have an impossible-to-wrap holiday gift stashed in your neighbor’s basement or your sock drawer? Do you have a stack of (boring) gift cards that you’d like to spruce up? Do you have someone on your gift list who wants and needs nothing but your sincere good wishes—and who is getting just that?

Perfect! Puzzling gift wrap is just what you need.

You can wrap anything, everything, and even nothing at all in a puzzle, and it will fit under the tree, in a stocking, or next to the menorah.

Come on, I’ll show you.

  1. Choose the gift you will wrap in a puzzle, and then choose a place you can hide it. You might put a gift card under a lampshade or lamp or under the recipient’s pillow after she has gotten up. You might hide a bike in the trunk of a car or in the garage.
  2. Think of a clue describing the place you’ve hidden the gift. If you hid it under a lamp, you might say, “Got any bright ideas where I hid your gift?” If you hid it under a pillow, you might say, “I hid your gift. If you get tired of looking, I suggest you sleep on it.” If it’s in the trunk of the car, you might say, “A ride in the car might unlock the mystery of your gift’s whereabouts.” Extreme cleverness is definitely a bonus, but, clearly, it’s not required. (Ahem.) If your gift is sincere good wishes, use those instead of a clue.
  3. Now turn that clue into a puzzle. We’re going to use a letter-substitution code to make a cryptogram. You can write out your own code or use this one:

    Now, where there’s an A in your clue, you write a D instead. Where there’s a B, you write O. So “GOT ANY BRIGHT IDEAS WHERE I HID YOUR GIFT?” becomes “YKU DTS OEWYMU WJQDX NMQEQ W MWJ SKGE YWCU?”

  4. Write the clue on a piece of paper along with instructions for deciphering the clue.

    Each letter in the code represents a different letter of the alphabet. Once you’ve figured out what one letter or word is, use those letters to help decipher other words.

  5. Seal the clue in an envelope, or wrap it in pretty paper, and put it in the recipient’s stocking, under the tree, or with the menorah.

In addition to the joy of receiving the gift, the recipient will have the added entertainment of solving a puzzle and searching out the gift. So fun! So memorable!

Now, if you’re giving this gift to a child, you might want to offer some hints to help solve it. You could, for instance, provide a few letters to get him started, say Q=E, U=T, and Y=G. Maybe point out that the one-letter words are a good place to start solving. Or create a simpler puzzle altogether.

You can add another layer of fun by cutting the piece of paper containing the code into pieces like a jigsaw puzzle and putting the pieces in the envelope. Now she’s got to put the pieces together, solve the cryptogram, figure out what the clue means, and find the gift.

Best gift ever!

Really. Just ask my mom.

Got a new car hidden in the garage or a trip around the world to present? (Oh, please, let me be the recipient!) Wrap it in a puzzle, and put it under the tree. You can wrap anything in a puzzle.

So…who’s game?

Jen Funk Weber has a long history of wrapping gifts in puzzles, writing long letters in code, and generally puzzling everyone around her.

2 thoughts on “Puzzling Gift Wrap”

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top