The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


DieHard TryHards Wrap Oddly Shaped Gifts

By Staff Writers Tanvi Deshmukh, Shuhan Jin, Ashley Pang, & Anushka Vasudev

In preparation for this holiday season’s heartfelt gift-giving, the Smoke Signal challenges this month’s DieHard TryHards to gift wrapping — but with a pepperminty twist. Evaluated on their speed, cleanliness, and efficiency, four festive Smokies compete in wrapping Santa’s funkiest-shaped presents to be crowned as the head elf.



Okay, let me be honest here. My experience with actually wrapping gifts is pretty much nonexistent. I’m more of a “throw it in a bag with some tissue paper and a card” kind of person,” but still — don’t underestimate my inexperience. Throughout elementary school, I’ve accumulated years of training cutting, taping, and gluing construction paper to make whimsical designs and structures. Since this challenge involves pretty much the same three materials — paper, scissors, and tape — how hard can it be? With my elementary school diploma backing me up, these judges won’t be able to wrap their heads around how breathtaking my creations will be.


My habit of throwing presents into Hallmark bags and calling it a day may put me at a disadvantage in the realm of wrapping funky shapes. But this won’t hinder my ambitions to win the title of Santa’s head elf — the other Smokies need to prepare because they’re going all the way down to the South Pole. The only issue is that I am really rusty on the gift-wrapping part. So given that this is basically the entire challenge, I’m screwed — and for clarification, that does not mean I want to wrap a power drill. I guess I’ll just have to try my best


I don’t want to brag, but I’m the perfect candidate to take the first-place title in this challenge, if I do say so myself. Every year, my totally tubular presents and award-winning gift-wrapping skills never fail to sleigh the day away, and I expect nothing less from myself in this competition. Sure, the only things I’ve ever wrapped came in the form of perfectly shaped 4×4 boxes, but what I lack in experience will be made up for with my natural gift in gift-wrapping. It’s like they say, it’s the most wonderful time of the year — the time when I finally get a chance to shine.


While my gift-giving mostly consists of throwing together random items I find around my house, I make up for this with my tree-mendous wrapping skills. From star-shaped chocolate boxes to peppermint scented candles, I can pack all kinds of gifts neatly and at a (w)rapid pace. The speed, technique, and precision that I’ve picked up from throwing together last-minute Secret Santa presents will definitely put me in first place. Since I’ve already been named the head wrapper of my family, I know I’m ready to sleigh this competition and take what is rightfully mine: position as head elf.


Tanvi: 1st place

So, it turns out that I wasn’t entirely screwed after all! In the time preceding the competition, I built up top-notch strategies by practicing wrapping the Graphics cameras with copies of previous editions of the Smoke Signal. My spontaneous burst of confidence right before this wrapping frenzy had foreshadowed my current honor of co-head elf with Shuhan! Competing with her definitely motivated me because I really, really wanted to beat her, and now I feel absolutely spectacular about taking a W on my first DieHard TryHard. And thankfully for the other Smokies, we can still be friends because I didn’t lose! If you ever need to wrap a shoe or a table (preferably without a chair), I’m your girl!

Shuhan: 1st Place

Although my spirit has been utterly crushed by the fact that I have to share the position of head elf with Tanvi, I’m not going to let this tiny inconvenience reign on my parade. To be honest, I’m just relieved that my previous boasting didn’t jinx me in the long run. I do have to admit that while I went into this competition filled with confidence, I was quite intimidated after seeing my fellow competitors’ work. But if we just completely disregard my wrapping job in the last round (which looked like something Santa might’ve thrown up), I would say that overall this was a success. It saddens me to say this, but I guess that’s a wrap to this competition.

Ashley: 2nd Place

After seeing all my competitors’ perfectly wrapped gifts — Anushka’s gift bags, Tanvi’s wrapped shoe, and Shuhan’s headphones — I quickly realized my subpar elementary-level creasing job and unfinished “tube” design were far from their advanced skill sets. Following round one, I already braced myself mentally for a fourth place finish. The competition seemed unsalvageable, but as everyone reiterates time and time again, never gift up, so I used the most of my cutting and taping abilities to produce three more atrocious designs. Ultimately, I think my gifts have more personality than those of my fellow Smokies, and I was able to wrap up the competition nicely with a second place finish.

Anushka: 3rd Place

Bah Humbug! One broken tape dispenser and poorly wrapped claw clip later, I realized that my gift-wrapping skills have a long way to go. Turns out my fellow Smokies are snow much better at gift-wrapping than they claimed to be. And clearly, I am not nearly as good at it as I thought I was. Wrapping things that aren’t simple rectangular boxes proved to be a lot more difficult than I expected. It will definitely take some time for me to get my elf-esteem back up, but I did learn a lot about speed-wrapping oddly shaped presents with limited materials— especially when it comes to wrapping desks.

Cover image by Staff Writer Ayushi Kashyap & Video by Web Editor Bryan Xiong

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