The Mathematics of Gift Wrapping

December 7, 2013 at 11:06 pm Leave a comment

Has this ever happened to you?


You place a gift on the wrapping paper. You estimate how much you’ll need. You cut. You place the gift on the paper. You fold over both sides.


That’s when you realize your estimation skills are on par with those of a government contractor.

But, no worries! Math is here!

The hypotenuse of a right triangle is longer than either leg. Consequently, turning the wrapping paper at an angle will allow the paper to cover the gift.



My wife hates it, but whatever! What initially appeared to be a terrible estimate yielded a 15.8% savings in wrapping paper.

Based on my calculations, if all gifts were wrapped this way, the country would save $147 million each year on wrapping-paper related expenses. (Where’s that statistic when politicians discuss the economy?)

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Pigs in the Gutter Help Wanted at the Math Diner

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About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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December 2013

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