A Bow for the Boys

Did I ever tell you about the time I wrapped Daniel Lanois’ Christmas presents?  Yup.  I did.

It’s one of the many bizarre jobs I’ve done over my lifetime.

For those who don’t know who Dan Lanois is, he’s a musician, songwriter and producer among other things.  Most notably, he produced several U2 albums, including The Joshua Tree.  He’s won a bunch of Grammy’s and stuff.

Which is all well and good, but he can’t wrap a present worth a hoot.  Or I suppose, he didn’t have time to wrap his Christmas presents because he was busy discussing sunglasses and Africa with Bono and shining his Grammys.   Either, or.

When I was in university I had a friend who was his personal assistant at the time.  He told me Daniel Lanois needed someone to wrap all the Christmas presents he was giving that year.  Being a wrapping fool since the age of 5, I was given the task.  While being a wrapping fool doesn’t often translate into award winning albums and shiny Grammy’s I’m still kindda proud of it.

Every once in a while I look in my bathroom mirror and tell myself I’m partially responsible for the success that is Daniel Lanois.  At the same time I often debate whether one of my eyes is smaller than the other.

I spent an entire night wrapping Daniel Lanois’ presents in white paper with handmade birch bark tags.  Conversely other presents were wrapped in birch bark with white paper tags.  All the presents had pinecones and twigs as bows.  Keep in mind this was manyyyyy years ago and at the time was quite impressive.

I got paid $10 a hour if I remember correctly.  Plus he paid for my supplies.   It wasn’t until years later that I finally met Daniel Lanois when I interviewed him for a music show I was hosting.  I neglected to mention the presents.

I also adorned one of his presents with this little bow … something I came up with at the time and have been using ever since.

Use it and you might also win a Grammy!

Here’s how you do it:

First grab yourself some ribbon.

Then do this:






If you need better instructions on how to tie a tie take a look at this post from The Art of Manliness.  No relation.  :)

After you tie your tie, all you have to do is slip it off your neck and slip it over your present. A rectangular present works the best. Hic.

You also need to grab a pipe cleaner, as the piece de resistance.  Cut it short and use it as a tie clip.

When it’s all wrapped up, this is what you’ve got!

Now as I said yesterday, beat it.   I’ve got crap to do. Not the least of which is wrapping a mountain of presents.

Which this time around, I am not getting paid for.



  1. Stefanie says:

    Great idea!

    I found something that totally looks like something you’d do – a modern Christmas ball mobile: http://www.notmartha.org/archives/2010/12/20/christmas-tree-ornament-mobile/

    I’d attempt it myself, but with two dogs and a cat, I’m afraid it wouldn’t be long for the world. Or else *they* wouldn’t be long for the world. No peaceful coexistence, that’s for sure. But it totally looks like something that should be in your house! Because, you know, I know all about your house and all.

    Please make this next year and post an easier how-to for the rest of us! I can always lock the critters in the barn for a few weeks.

    • Karen says:

      Stefanie – I looked at it and it’s great! And it gives me the creeps all at the same time. LOL. Don’t know why. Definitely something I’d try. I’m still mostly a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas decorations though. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without um … a tree trunk! LOL. ~ karen

  2. lori says:

    Karen this is just fabulous!!
    I remember wrapping presents in the mall … hey I did not get paid!

    hey jeff …remember all things will pass given the right amount of time. ouch. just have another glass and you won’t remember a thing. lol
    Merry Christmas

  3. Amy says:

    Oh flash backs to my first job, which also was wrapping presents! Not for anyone famous, though. Just at the local shopping mall. Or, at least, if anyone famous did stop by, I was too clueless to know them!

    I don’t think I made $10/hour; it was more like $6.25/hour. Even accounting for American vs. Canadian dollars, you were making good money!

    I learned how to make bows out of yards of ribbon, too, but they were out of that nasty plastic ribbon, and I’d rather use cloth ribbon like you do here, or even the paper loops from yesterday. Very nice! Merry Christmas!

  4. Jessie-Lee says:

    So is it bad that while I should be appreciating the awesome bow, I was straight up amused by the snow? Yes, I am that simple minded.

  5. Tessa says:

    CLEVER! Adorable. Love it

  6. Jeff says:

    Now if I have 10 to 12 gifts to wrap like this I am thinking a larger bottle of JD would be cost effective because repeating step six as diagramed would run me $2.00 US per bottle. Also, after wrapping about 4 or 5 of the dozen gifts I have to do, I may need your advice on correcting double vision. Wish me luck!

  7. Todd@PhitZone says:

    Karen, you never cease to amaze me with your “Canadian-snowed-in-what-else-am-I-gonna-do-eh?-Pass-the-Canadian-Club!” craftiness.

  8. stephanie says:

    Oh Canada! (you, not the song) I knew there was a reason I liked you – the Jack Daniels confirms it!

  9. Farquist says:

    Love how you dressed to match the wrapping paper. :) Also, where does one find awesome gray wrapping paper?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Farquist! The paper is actually closer to black. I think. Looks a bit greyer in the pics. Anyhow … it’s from good old Ikea! Beautiful paper. I love it! ~ karen

  10. That’s just all kinds of awesome :)

  11. Nitpicker Mike says:

    It’s stent, surely.

  12. Candy says:

    Ah man, this is brilliant. If I was even half as creative/mashed up on Jack Daniels as you I would have come up with this idea to wrap my dads handmade shirt. Too late now, I gifted it last weekend.

    I really enjoy your writing, thanks a lot.

  13. Shauna says:

    Your bottles to small eh! Hoser ;) maybe you should try 24 eh?

  14. Eva says:

    Cool! but how many attempts at making the tie was there that made you crack open the JD :)

  15. Alexandra Dare says:

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now show us a picture of your TREE. Pretty please?

    • Karen says:

      Alexandra – Thanks! Or as we Canadians say, thanks eh. Tree pictures coming on Thursday and Friday. I figure on Thurs. and Fri. no one will have time for anything but looking at pretty pictures. ~ karen!

  16. Shannon says:

    Holy Crap! It’s snowing on taods!!!

    That present is awesome because it is all like, this is Christmas & it’s serious business.

    • Karen says:

      Shannon – Yes indeed. There is nothing more deadly serious than a gift at Christmas. Except getting a stint in your heart. I imagine that’s pretty serious too. You must be feeling better! Glad to hear it. ~ karen

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