One of our favorite Christmas activities is wrapping up the items we're waiting to give! It's a creative outlet, and also an opportunity to clean out the paper, ribbon, and pretties we've been hoarding all year long. There's also a sweet satisfaction in piling or lining up all the wrapped packages together, and feeling for a moment like the jolly old man himself. And of course, who can deny the pleasure of receiving a gift that has been covered and tied up with thoughtfulness. It's not necessary, yet it adds to the whole receiving experience.
Over the past couple of years, as we've given and received, we've created a loose system. Here are our methods, but of course, there’s no right way to give a gift. Maddie's been known to ship gifts straight to Cord from Amazon without so much as a note.
1. Save bits and pieces all year long.
We save ribbons from packaging for rugs, dish towels, etc. Often home goods come tied up with strings, even at department stores. Local shops and boutiques usually wrap purchases in tissue and gift-style bags as well.
We also save paper, string, bags, and boxes from gifts we receive.
Last year, I (Cord) used all recycled paper. Some of it was packing paper from Amazon purchases I received throughout the year, and sometimes I use well-designed magazines or printed goodness of some sort. Newspaper also looks cool!
Here's a tip! When you save paper or ribbon, it can actually be easier to store than rolls of wrapping paper or spools of ribbon. You can fold or tie saved ribbons and fold saved paper, which makes it easy to store flat.
2. Pick a cohesive couple of elements.
Since our main strategy is to use what we have, and purchase just what we're missing, when we buy those items, we keep in mind what we have, and purchase things that coordinate. This year I (Maddie) bought a roll of brown paper and linen ribbon. I had twine and grey ribbons on-hand so I stuck with the brown and cream color scheme with a bit of charcoal for contrast.
I (Cord) bought two rolls of kraft paper, since I already had some packing paper and bakers twine and red twine on-hand.
Here's a tip! We like to use kraft paper, especially the kind that comes on a kraft paper tube, so that it can be recycled. I (Cord) was able to use the rolls my paper came on to ship some items!
3. Get creative with less.
If you have a lot of items to wrap, or simply want to cut down on waste, you can always strip it down. For example, I (Cord) wrap a bunch of handmade candles each year. Instead of wrapping each candle in tissue, putting that in a box, and wrapping the box, I just save tissue all year long. At the end of the year, I let the tissue be the only wrapping. Similarly, if you have a lovely box, don't bother wrapping it, just tie a bow around it. Another idea we love, is to wrap a gift in something useful, like a dishtowel, tote bag, basket, or crate. That way the wrapping is useful!
Here are some goodies we found that would make awesome wrapping!
4. Print gift tags on card stock, trim, and use.
We use free printables online that are often hand-lettered or illustrated, and always custom designed. It’s something simple to make the wrapping activity even more crafty, and each gift a little less common. We are then able to print on paper we know we can recycle.
Here are three free printables we love!
5. Tie up packages with extra string.
The biggest game-changer in my (Maddie's) wrapping game is the use of more than one ribbon on most packages. A combo of two in contrasting shades or thickness works great! We also like to wrap one ribbon or string around a package several times to create more interest. It’s not always about the big bow.
6. Embellish with greenery, food or a small add-on.
A little spruce or boxwood looks so lovely tucked below the ribbon or tag on a package. You can also use dried berries, orange slices, gingerbread, popcorn, or any other festive embellishment. One of the major perks of these natural add-ons is that they're safe for the environment. It can be really stressful to see garbage bags full of wrapping that are going straight to the landfill. If you can save pretty papers and bows for future use, recycle used tags and embellishment, or dispose of them in a conscious way, that's a gift all by itself.
Hope that helps if this isn't one of your favorite Christmas tasks, and that it inspires you if it is. If you have your own method or any resources to share, please do in the comments. Happy wrapping!
- Looking for something to give?
- Looking for something to sip on while you wrap?
- Looking for something to listen to while you wrap?
P.S. Here's a little time lapse of Maddie wrapping up something for her little man. Enjoy!