It's a Wrap

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Posted by Meeta K. Wolff

This holiday season, rather than wrapping all your gifts the same way, let the gift wrap hold some clues about the contents- see if your recipient can guess the gift just by looking at the way you have wrapped it. Chances are pretty good that you already have things around your home that would be useful for jazzing up your gifts.

Here are five ways to give your gifts a unique look:

  1. Skip the store-bought gift wrap...and come up with your own. Sunday comics, old maps, calendar pages and foreign language newspapers all make interesting substitutes for wrapping paper. You can get kids to make their own signature wrapping paper by decorating plain brown or white paper. One of my favorite craft activities as a kid was to dip cut vegetables into paint and stamp paper with them- cut okra, carved potato halves and halved onions look just beautiful. Leaves and buttons are also great for stamping.

  2. Skip the paper altogether and use fabric for wrapping. Fabric is especially great for wrapping gifts that are awkwardly shaped. Some ideas for pretty fabric wraps: scarves (could be made of a variety of fabrics), Indian dupattas, shawls, tea towels (for food gifts and kitchen-related gifts), bandanas. Scour thrift shops for old linens that will the gift an antique look. Furoshiki is the Japanese art of fabric gift wrap with many beautiful ways of neatly wrapping gifts in fabric.

  3. Skip the bows and try some unusual package toppers. Found objects from nature look gorgeous as gift toppers- some examples include pine cones, dried leaves and flowers, perhaps a sprig of mistletoe? Shells and pebbles could be glued on too. A cute brooch or pair of earrings might be much appreciated as well. For a food related gift, spices like cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and star anise would be very suitable. Jingle bells or small ornaments would also be gorgeous toppers for the perfect look.

  4. Skip the conventional ribbon and look around the home for something different to use instead. Bright shoelaces are a great way to tie a gift for a child or a teen, or if it is a sports-related gift. One could use beaded necklaces too. Yarn or lace might be cute for a gift for a crafter. For a festive look, use colorful tinsel.

  5. Give a gift inside a gift. Use a nice tote bag or drawstring bags to package the gifts. All of us should be using reusable shopping bags anyway, so an extra tote bag is always welcome. Or you might give a gift card packaged inside a wallet. Flower pots or watering cans can be filled with gardening supplies. Homemade food gifts can be filled into a cute baking dish. A child's toy could be wrapped in a folded T-shirt. The possibilities are endless!

One tip that I have found very useful is to have a location in the home as a central spot for all things related to wrapping gifts. It could be a shelf or a drawer; I simply use a cardboard shoe box tucked into a closet. Throughout the year, any bits and bobs (trinkets/beads/ribbons), old cards, paper with interesting textures, gift bags that I receive- all of these things find their way into this box, ready to be recycled into fresh clothing for the next gift. Yes, I freely recycle wine bags and gift bags. There are those who believe that recycling gift bags is tacky. To me, being spoilt and wasteful and tossing perfectly good gift bags and boxes into the trash is waaaay tackier. A small pair of scissors and sticky tape also have a home in this little shoe box. It makes wrapping gifts a fun and interesting activity when you don't have to overturn the whole house to look for double-sided tape.

Happy Holidays!

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This post was contributed by Nupur from One Hot Stove


This is great Nupur, thank you. I bet you give the best wrapped presents.

December 12, 2007 at 4:12:00 PM GMT+1  

i have so many scarves, it's not funny. thanks for the idea. i love using maps. they are sturdy and colourful. i also get rolls of wallpaper at the thrift store for 50 cents or so. they are gorgeous and very sturdy. for ties, i like raffia.

bee said...
December 12, 2007 at 8:16:00 PM GMT+1  

Wonderful ideas! We've been using furoshiki, either from Japan or ones we've made ourselves, for years. It's such a lovely concept -- a square of fabric that turns into a flower!

December 13, 2007 at 2:01:00 AM GMT+1  

Amanda, thanks! To tell you the truth, I have very very few gift-giving opportunities because I live so far away from most of my family and friends. When I do visit them, I take unwrapped gifts because the bags needs to go through customs! But I love giving gifts and wrapping them!

Bee, yes, maps are perfect especially for travel buffs like you! Love the idea of seeking out wall paper at thrift stores- I should do that. And yes, how did I leave out raffia?!

Lydia, really??! I came across furoshiki just last month! The art of folding really is fascinating. I need to find a book and teach myself.

Nupur said...
December 13, 2007 at 12:35:00 PM GMT+1  

I remember the days when we saved the wrapping paper from all our gifts and then re-used it. But it's supposed to be a thrill to rip the wrapping paper to shreds as the gift is opened and re-using wrapping paper is an absolute no-no. I am still wading through some of the Innisbrook wrapping paper I was suckered into buying over 5 years ago! I also recycle all the gift bags I get. If I run out of gift bags, then the brown paper bags from grocery stores, turned inside out, make for great wrapping paper. Kitchen towels are also such a great idea. Even for non-kitchen related gifts. The wrapping itself becomes part of the gift and is usable.

I baked a whole bunch of mini cakes late last night and was wondering what would be the best way to wrap them. And I think your idea of cinnamon sticks and bay leaves is just superb! Especially since these are spicy Kerala Christmas cakes.

Thanks, Nupur!

December 16, 2007 at 7:36:00 PM GMT+1  

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