When it comes to holiday shopping, we spend loads of time finding meaningful, affordable, ethically and locally sourced gifts that will delight friends and family. So let’s be honest here. By the time it comes to wrapping said gifts, we’re all a little too exhausted to channel what’s left of our inner Martha Stewarts to add that extra touch. We often wind up burying those thoughtful gifts under disposable, predictable—and often boring—dime-store wrap.
But inspiration, be revived! You can put a fun touch on your gifts without breaking the bank or adding more to your brimming holiday to-do list. We rounded up fun, easy wrapping ideas you can try at home using materials bought within a short drive, and sometimes supplies you might already have at home.
For the Tiny Gift-givers
Want a personal touch that’s guaranteed to earn extra points with Grandma, but still plays nicely with your holiday colors? Give kids a limited palette, and let them finger-paint, doodle or make handprints on plain paper. Let it dry, then wrap those gifts! If you’re giving a gift to a little one, wrap it in fresh white paper and top it with crayons and coordinating washi tape. (Instant distraction while the rest of the party opens the gifts!)
Are the kids the ones opening the gifts? Assign each child a color, candy or shape that signifies which gift is whose—works even if kids can’t read their names yet.
- White Kraft paper: 25 cents/yard - Marine General Store (ask at the deli counter)
- Faber-Castell Grip Erasable Crayons: $3.95 Alfresco Casual Living
- Whirly-Pop LolliPop: $2–$6.50 (four sizes) Candy Dots on paper: 35 cents/sheet, four sheets for $1. - Candyland
- Brown Kraft paper: $52 for a 40-inch by 1,200-foot roll
For a Boutique Look
Mara-Mi is one brand from Stillwater-based Gartner Studios, and it’s hard not to fall in love with its coordinated, limited-edition collections of gorgeous holiday, wedding, and special-occasion stationeries, wraps and accessories. The 2016 holiday line has a palette that can skew casual or upscale—and like the other Mara-Mi lines, it’s all based on hand-drawn, -painted or -lettered designs.
“The star is the artwork. They’re traditional colors done in a more artful way,” Gartner Studios creative director Stacy Adair says. As for trends in the holiday gift-wrapping and stationery world, Adair says these days it’s all about creating a story and sticking to it—with wrap and most things in life. “People are thinking of gift-wrap and gift accessories like they think of home décor. They’re thinking, ‘Does it match my tree? My home?’ People are tying gifts in with their décor and creating a complete story for their holiday,” she says.
Just up the hill from the Mara-Mi store, you’ll find Rose Mille, whose recently remodeled storefront holds a bevy of vintage trims and upscale details to get your creativity going.
“Rose Mille has a fresh yet vintage, European aesthetic with both elegant and rustic vibes—like a step back in time, yet timeless. We focus on what is real, not mass-produced or made with unnatural materials,” owner and designer Michelle Rose Jorgensen says. “When I am wrapping gifts to go under my own Christmas tree, I try to have a consistent theme. I usually don’t pay any attention to ‘traditional’ Christmas papers or colors, I just go for anything festive that fits,” she says. “I hope anyone who opens a gift from me feels how special and important they are to me, starting with the wrapping.”
- Luminaries: $12 for three, Noël collection
- Tissue paper: $5.50 for six sheets, Noël collection - Mara-Mi
- Hand-dyed velvet ribbon: $6 for 44 feet (variety of colors)
- “God Jul” Swedish ribbon: $1.75–$2.25/yard for similar
- Wooden disc ornament with clear snow glitter: $8 - Rose Mille
For an Interesting Twist
To prep a package that’s sure to impress the word-lover in the group, look no further than the Sunday edition of your favorite newspaper. Grab the crossword or comics page, wrap it up, and top it with a pencil. It’ll drip with—well, what has four letters and rhymes with the name of a peaceful bird?
Though the gift is always the main attraction, why not add an extra keepsake or two to the mix? Use a scarf, antique flag, tablecloth or hankie in place of traditional wrap. Secure the package with a clothespin or brooch, and call it a day, sans tape or anything that will end up in a landfill. Up the wow factor by layering on a doily or vintage fashion accessory in place of a store-bought bow or ribbon. Bonus points if any of the items are actual family heirlooms.
- Vintage scarf: $3–$12 for similar
- Vintage doily: $10–$20 for similar
- Vintage bow-tie: $4–$10
- Vintage cookie cutter: $1–$4, Vintage pin: ($5–$32)
- Abigail Page Antique Mall, 503 Second St., Hudson; abigailpageantiques.com
- Lightweight silk ribbon: $2.75/yard (choose from 18 colors)
- Hand-dyed doily: $3–$12, variety of colors and shapes - Rose Mille