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Atlas Insider: Wrap Star

December 5, 2021

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  • I like to use the comics pages of the newspaper as wrapping paper. The lucky recipient of the gift then gets something to read as well…so, 2 gifts. And of course, a festive bow..

    • that used to be fun, who knew that we had to hoard comics in color for when there were no Sunday omics anymore.

      • A tradition started by my mom is that all gifts given to the children from Mom and Dad are wrapped. The ones from Santa are unwrapped, unpackaged, and ready to play. Same with anything inside the stocking. I’ve changed it a bit to include that I choose one type of wrapping paper for each family member. I put them under the tree without tags until the day or so before. It gives an aura of mystery! (“Who is getting that big box?”)

      • i have used children’s drawings for small packages

      • We still get Sunday comics, and save them for the grandkids. Subscribe to your local newspaper, it’s an important part of your community!

    • Multiple bows! Smaller ones nestled in larger and color schemes, like team colors for the sports fanatics. So fun!

      • I am collecting interesting fabric and working on new wrapping techniques for it. The family recipient keeps the fabric to wrap with next year.

      • Oh you brought back the memory of wrapping presents with my mother. Each one was a gem. Many were embellished with the covers of beautiful Christmas cards received in the prior year.

        • What a great idea to use those last year Christmas cards I just can’t part with. I think I will also use the fronts to make a gift tag- would be pretty big, but who cares.

    • Everyone in my family is a “wrapper.” There might be a few stray gift bags, but my daughter and daughters-in-law and I all have a unique wrapping paper and ribbon theme each year and it’s fun to see what we all come up with. One year my youngest son and his wife used really cute wooden reindeer as gift tags and we all ended up with some new ornaments. I love wrapping and always put it off as a reward for when all the other things are done and then end up in a mad rush on Christmas Eve !

    • I love to wrap Christmas packages in white tissue paper with red ribbon.

  • My best wrapping tip is to buy a big roll of Kraft paper. Works for any occasion and is fun to personalize by either writing and drawing on it or picking beautiful embellishments to go with it. And of course you need to wrap to a Christmas movie. “It’s A Wonderful Life” can get me through a big chunk of wrapping!

    • I love wrapping with Kraft paper! I keep it simple and make a bow with red and white striped baker’s twine (think “brown paper packages tied up with string.” It’s simple, easy and the paper is thick and sturdy, which is my main requirement for wrapping paper. I buy the twine in enormous balls on Amazon. This is my favorite way of wrapping presents, because it works for all the presents, all year round!

      • Such a great idea. Thanks for posting

    • My family believes in lots of small gifts, so that means wrapping a small mountains of gifts. There are 15 people in the family x 4 or 5 gifts each. Plus, my family is in four different states, far from me, So I have to pack and mail their gifts soon after Thanksgiving. Therefore, all year, I save the lidded boxes my calcium supplement comes in—it’s a rounded rectangle with a purple plastic lid. When the mood strikes or there is nothing good on TV, I cover one or more of the boxes in gift wrap and put them aside. Come Christmas, I am all set. Take the smallest, most weirdly shaped items, wrap them in tissue, pop them in the box, snap the lid on, call it done. They also fit nicely in the big box I use for mailing. At first, because of the shape and the purple lid, no gift tag was needed. The recipient knew it was from me, their weird aunt. But those little suckers were such a hit, that now I am getting gifts wrapped in these same boxes! My whole family is weird.

      • Here’s to weird families! is there any other kind?

        As for me, when it comes to wrapping, I’m the wait until the last minute and throw it together sort. This has become unsustainable as family members have followed their paths to the far west and the frozen north. Nevertheless, I persist….

      • I love reading all the stories people share. I love wrapping packages and tying up with ribbon and curling the ends. I have been known to use every grocery bag and dress it up with ribbon. Hand spun yarn is fun for me to use but not necessarily appreciated. I pack paper and tape ribbon and yarn in my suitcase as I travel to the NW for Christmas. One year my granddaughters and I sewed holiday gift bags for everyone. Their mom reuses those as a new tradition.

    • I like using vintage boxes from Marshall Fields, Carson Pirie Scott, Nordstrom, etc. Mostly for small things, and getting harder to source from estate sales.

      • What a lovely idea! I think I would probably treasure the Marshall Fields box (such wonderful memories of that store!) more than what was inside.

  • I appreciate the strong feelings toward wrapped gifts. I grew up in a home where Santa left the gifts unwrapped and ready to play with. That is, mom did NOT like wrapping packages. I wrap them all. Odd shaped item are a challenge I’m up for. My tip: Throw out those stick-on gift tags. Last year’s Christmas cards and pinking shears make lovely gift tags.

  • I use dated road maps of different states or metro areas, and a red marker to highlight a mutual memory of place we spent time together. The map paper is good quality for gift books, boxes.

    • Brilliant! Oh why did we recycle ours!

    • Like the topographic sheets. So interesting as well as large pieces.

    • I’m with you DG: Wrappers Rule! Lately I like to challenge myself by not using tape while wrapping. Works best with tissue paper (which can be pretty fancy these days) or other pliable paper. Folding skilz required!

  • As someone who wrapped gifts in a drugstore for 2 seasons, having an audience is like wrapping in a pressure cooker. I loved it, mostly…until I was handed an umbrella!
    For those kind of unsquare gifts, cardboard boxes are your best friend! I cut the corner from the box, wide enough to create a triangle in which to place the umbrella. I then covered the entire cardboard with wrapping paper, folded the umbrella inside, and sealed the seam.
    Double-sided tape is your other best friend!
    Then I wound ribbon around and around, made a bow, curled ribbons, ta da!

  • I make cloth bags and close them with ribbon ties. They can be used again and eliminate some of the piles of trash generated by gift wrap. And the fabric can be fun!

    • I like a theme each year. I like the packages to coordinate under the tree. It’s also fun to stick pieces of holly, pine cones, etc into ties as decorations.

      • In an effort to reduce single use wrapping we purchased plain muslin gift bags and decorated them with holiday drawings. Now they can be used every year!

        • I have done the same, only used a stencil to paint on Christmas designs. Several have been circulating in our family for years.

    • Me too and it feeds my fabric buying habit

      • Same here! Years (like 20 or more) ago I bought tons of Christmas fabric and made all sizes of drawstring bags to use instead of wrapping paper. I’ve used them for so many gifts, now, that I don’t have any left! I guess it’s time to make more with the small stash of fabric I still have left!!!!
        OH! And I’ve even knitted small bags for knitted items! Super special double gift!!!

      • We have saved all wrapping paper, bows, ribbons and cards for years l, honestly generations! My mum did it, my mil did it and we still have loads to use up!! But I do like making fabric bags …using up scraps from quilting projects…such fun..recyle, upcyle, make do and enjoy the time together

    • I make a pillowcase for each of my grandsons every year and their grandma and grandpa gifts go in there. I do wrap, but in all honesty I hate it with the heat of a thousand suns. I use gift bags..cute ones, nice tissue..no glitter and a string tag on the handle. Most recycle the gift bags and sometimes they come back to me.

    • Besides the muslin bags of past years that some stores would use for delicate purchases, I also save leftover pieces of cloth, material, cut-off pj leg part (summer necessity), anything cloth.
      My MIL had loads of old lady handkerchiefs that make a special small-package-giftwrap for great-grandchildren of teenage years, and for the older grandchildren for remembrance.
      And I also forgo tape, a sturdy twist and tie with bulky yarn does the trick.

    • I do this too. Quilting cotton in cheerful prints, loads of sizes, quick channel for ribbon cord. Wrapping is so much less stressful!

    • I sew drawstring bags in many sizes and keep them on hand to hold gifts. They become bread, wine bags, hobby project bags or get reused for future gifts.

    • I use the nylon bags from Ikea-two gifts in one.

  • Use lots of tape so you slow down the process of opening (evil laugh) & have a lot of wrapping water available for the wrapper.

  • I usually like white or Kraft paper with as many different colors and patterns in ribbon and bows. One year we found stockinette stitch and fair isle paper. Every knitted project got wrapped in either of these.

  • No tips or unventions, but your post brought back these memories: jealous that my older sister could gift wrap, but I was “ too little”, having to wrap at 17, bathrobes too bulky for the available boxes, for customers, as they watched, 1 week into my first job, and running out of paper at 2AM, Christmas Eve, when there were still gifts to wrap for my 4 kids, but calling best friend who was still wrapping for her 4 kids, and prevailing. No wonder I love gift bags!

    • I save little shopping bags with handles and stuff tissue paper inside and on top of the gift. The receiver can use it again….and it goes on!

  • I ditched the actual gift wrap paper and use printed tissue paper instead. Also prefer to tie a bow using yarn bits rather than buying special gift ribbon.
    Sorry, but there is just too much waste otherwise!

  • Visit your library – they often have discarded oversized books. The pages make great wrapping paper.

  • I knit lengths of I-cord out of left over bits of yarn. As I complete a length, I wind it into a big festive ball of I-cords. That’s my ribbon. Sometimes they end up on the recipient’s Christmas tree – like a garland. And they double as cat toys! Happy Holidays everyone!

    • What a great idea I can’t wait to get started

      • Ditto! Love this idea;) Thx Val

    • Wow!!! I love this idea!!

    • I’ve started switching to reusable fabric wrappings,

  • When my children were little, they each got their own paper. No tags. Till they got their got their stockings, they didn’t know whose was whose. Made life much easier, no lost tags.

    • I did the same thing! My kids loved running down the stairs to check the door (where I had taped a small sample of each wrapping paper with their name written on it) to see which paper was theirs. It was like a little game, and it was something they looked forward to each year.

  • Kraft paper, decorated by hand, is the greatest!! For any occasion, the giant roll is always waiting to be used!!

  • I have a big roll of Kraft paper on a cutter. For Christmas I use a sprig of evergreen and a pine cone wrapped in green twine for adults. Kids get pompoms. I also keep the art from calendars and other printed materials that can be used as wrapping or pasted on the Kraft paper. The MDK cards are perfect for a knitted gift.

    • Kraft paper for every occasion; with lovely bows and other little trinkets to dress it up.

  • I like heavy brown paper with red and white jute string and a little holiday greenery. Feeling fancy? Cut a stencil/stamp out of a potato or celery end and decorate the paper with white flowers

  • I love hand wrapping gifts. I loved picking out elaborately designed paper specifically for that certain gift or person. Until one holiday season when I realized I was the only one who actually paid attention to the wrapping. Switched to gift bags.

  • I use the black silky tissue paper from shoebags and cosmetics and paint little golden stars on it. Use a golden permanent marker and let the tissue unironed. Looks always beautiful. 🙂

  • I’m a gift wrap paper saver. It’s my goal each year not to buy Christmas wrap, rather I recycle what I received from the previous year. If I run out, then I turn to newsprint.

  • Old printed copies of patterns make great wrapping paper for gifts for knitting friends. And yarn for tying.

  • When my 4 children were young, I didn’t put tags on their gifts. Instead.I used a different paper for each child, if they decided to snoop chances were that they would open a siblings gift! I kept a master list of what paper each child’s gift was wrapped in and told my husband where he could find the list -in case I died (or George Clooney decided he would take me to Italy)..

    • Gretchen Sylvester I love how organised you were with your master list!….in case George Clooney took you to Italy! Love love love that comment!!
      Oh, and I’m a wrapper. The gift wrap must make the receiver salivate with anticipation! But, I get creative with newsprint, kraft paper and pine cones etc. our family loves gift wrapping and the extra embellishments get saved and reused and eventually make it into each family at some stage in their journey

  • I like the cutting tool with the little razor blade that you can use to zip through the paper in one long smooth move.

  • I am a reformed matchy, matchy wrapping fanatic. Every year I would pick a new theme, buy all new supplies, etc. After a while, I realized 1) my overstock of leftovers from previous years was getting insane (which felt wasteful) and 2) I was the only one who was really paying attention to any of it and I could be using my time and energy elsewhere during the holiday season. So now I wrap things that come in boxes with whatever paper I have on hand, pop weird shaped things in gift bags (saved ones from prior years), and spend my time working on finishing up my handmade gifts instead. Oh and the wrapping paper cutter changed my life. Yes I know it’s a newfangled version of my grandmother’s old coupon clipper marketed in a different way but I still adore it.

    • I don’t have any wrapping secrets. I like to reuse when I can, and I have some beautiful paper that has wrapped around 5 years worth of gifts already. That’s why it’s worth buying the good paper.
      I’m not anti gift bag, but I hate buying them. They are sooo expensive. I’ll reuse the ones given to me, but I can’t bring myself the spend the money when there’s so much yarn I haven’t bought yet.

  • For a wedding shower, I once used bath towels as the wrapping paper and an extension cord as the ribbon, Handy, useful and no waste

  • My favorite wrapping paper was made by my daughter. I used all of her preschool and kindergarten paintings to wrap gifts. Her sons are beginning to provide the next generation of wrapping paper.

  • I learned to wrap when I worked in a cheese shop! The boss was insistent that we be economical with the plastic wrap, & to put the blocks on diagonal to the plastic, because it used less. It also works on paper, & gives a fun jaunty angle to the designs.
    I can wrap a rectangle with 1 little piece of tape with that method!
    Also, weird shaped toys in blister packages are easier to wrap if you put them flat side down on the paper, & all the taped edges on the front

  • When my grand sons were small and not yet reading, I wrapped gifts in their favorite colors and added a picture of current favorite stuffed ‘friend’. As they grew, I added initials, then, names and pictures of favorite hobbies etc. my oldest is now 14 and he still looks forward to my wraps. This year it’s high school science text books and baseball.

    • I just wrapped all my packages in used Trader Joe’s paper bags – the holiday ones with cute red elves. I used my MDK washi tape too. Just cut the bags along the folds and gently remove the handles-or if you are a master at folding leave the handles to carry the gift.

  • I’m another one who likes to embellish wrapped gifts with bits of greenery – holly, winterberry, pine needles, etc. Not fond of gift bags, but have resorted to them on occasion.

  • I would much rather wrap gifts than shop for them. Years ago, I worked in gift wrapping at a large department store. On my first day, I was taught to wrap a gift box or book using only 3 pieces of tape. To use more was wasteful. Imagine getting paid to wrap gifts!

  • I love to use fabric when I can. I am a quilter as well as a kniiter so my gifts to other quilters are wrapped in in fat quarters or fat eighths. This way my friends get two gifts!

  • I love beautifully wrapped gifts (thank you sister Terry who always wraps like a pro). I try to make up for my deficient skills by using “unique” materials. Old panty hose and dental floss anyone??

  • I like IKEA wrapping paper. It’s festive yet understated. They usually sell matching twine. And, since I’m usually traveling someplace for Christmas I don’t have to worry about smashed bows!

  • One year I ran out of tape, and wrapped presents using ribbon to hold the gift wrap together. Voila! No more ripped up paper and easily recycled for the next gift.

  • I do NOT like wrapping presents. I stink at it! As a single Mom, I used to have a friend who loved the process and would come over and wrap them for me as I kept the wine flowing. I do wrap using newspaper because I live on Social Security and I’d rather buy a present then wrapping paper. I use stick on bows that have been around since the last century. Gift bags are also reusable. My family is cool with it and gather in the spirit of Christmas. Gift wrap is ephemeral. The love of family and laughter and hoots and hollers and then the tears when you got the exact right present is what Christmas giving is about.

  • My family always saved wrapping paper to reuse the next year when I was growing up. It was considered a crime to use more than three pieces of small tape, which risked tearing the paper. There would be jackknives tossed around the room, and my dad would gasp and clutch his chest in pretend pain every time he heard paper tear. We also used the fronts of old Christmas cards as gift tags, with silly/funny messages. Everything was saved for years, and there are still some pieces of wrapping paper floating around that I remember from childhood. My dad has been gone for over ten years, and seeing old cards in his handwriting addressed to me is bittersweet every year.

    The best Christmas memory was before I was born, but is now legend. My mom gave my dad a sledge hammer. It was very obvious what it was from the shape of the wrapping paper. It was under the tree for weeks before Christmas, and every time he passed by, Dad would comment on how excited he was for his new croquet mallet. Late on Christmas Eve, my mother stealthily opened the top of the wrapping paper, replaced the sledge hammer with a croquet mallet, and closed it again, keeping the shape of the original wrapping. My siblings were in on the joke, so my sister brought the gift to my dad on Christmas morning, pretending to hardly be able to lift such a heavy present. My dad was speechless when he opened his sledge hammer to find a croquet mallet! He was such a trickster and it was rare for Mom to get one up on him.

    • Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! I smiled and chuckled as I pictured the scene.

  • I LOVE a beautifully wrapped gift, and I like to change the theme each year. Last (pandemic) Christmas, when I couldn’t stroll through the shops (wrapping paper can’t be chosen on line) I used up all my old wrapping paper by turning it inside out and using the white side. Then I used jute twine and pine cones and greenery for decoration. This year I am back to over the top ribbons and paper featuring Christmas trees, thanks to Moderna.

  • I grew up in a house that somehow, never had Scotch tape or a good pair of (available, findable) scissors. The kids revenge was to use all the Reynolds wrap -no tape needed. As an adult my house has always had a crazy amount of tapes and scissors in all sizes –but I prefer making gift bags –My paper wrapping skills never having really improved despite You Tube.

  • There is a tradition in my family called “guy paper”. It takes the whole present wrapping thing to a new level…no, the other direction. It’s such a thing now that if any of my sons get or give a package nicely wrapped in fancy paper with ribbons and coordinating gift tags, they feel cheated. Guy paper consisted of any number of combinations of duct tape, brown paper, bubble wrap (for the outside not the inside of the box), and any other random whatever-was-lying-around type items. This is all very intentional and applied with extreme care and forethought. A package might be completely wrapped in duct tape or bubble wrap and then duct tape so no seams are exposed to get a finger under. A shopping bag can substitute in a pinch. I’ve succeeded in constraining this custom to in-house gift exchanging…so far. But I think it’s contagious.

    • I love this because it actually takes LONGER than regular old gift wrap!

  • Thanks so much for the early morn belly laughs! Brought so many memories of my dad and his wrapping fever!

  • I totally agree wrapping it yourself matters. By mid December I’m praying for a snow day (I work in a middle school) and spend the day surrounded by paper, tape, scissors and the cat of course.

  • My favorite: let Hubby do it! Wrapping is what he loves to do!

  • Wired Ribbon from the craft store. Makes a simple bow look FANCY! Also, Tractor Supply Company has the best wrapping paper. From wood grains, to pines needles on a white back drop. I love it and stock up for the whole year at Christmas.

    • I also have 1 special roll or paper hidden away just for Santa gifts. Every year Santa sends from that paper. Fingers crossed it lasts another year or two

      • That was the most touching thing to find at my dad’s house when he passed – the rest of the roll of Santa paper. I almost wish I’d kept it.

  • I like to wrap with curling ribbon, sometimes two strands, so that undoing the bow ties on the top, causes the whole string to come off. None of this wrap it one way with the tape on the bottom, then the other way, and with an elaborate, usually bought, bow on the top. And the ribbon has to lay flat except where it crosses on the bottom.

  • We have “rules” about wrapping! You cannot repeat the same paper and ribbon/bow combo! Sometimes atrocious but always colorful!

  • I ❤ kraft paper and twine! Sometimes simple ribbon tied in a pretty bow. Works for all occasions.

  • I don’t love wrapping anymore but have decided it’s because it’s too much at once. So I do a few here and there. I like ribbons and bows and curling ribbon, but I also like using up bits of yarn — I have some fun lime green that I’m using this year. And sorry to disappoint, but I may use some gift bags toward the end.
    One thing I do take time for is making hand-written care tags for handknit gifts!

    • It’s true that it can be overwhelming time-wise, and if you don’t have the luxury of setting aside an entire evening with no distractions to do it, it becomes a chore rather than a pleasure. My solution is to just give MYSELF more things (no wrapping required) and cut down the number I hand out to everyone else!

  • When we were teenagers, my brother and I would compete to see who could wrap the least aesthetically pleasing package, using pre-used wrapping paper, bows saved from a different era, and gift tags that clashed. My step mom really didn’t know what to make of this on her first Christmas with our family,

  • I am NOT a good wrapper however my daughter, Amelia, is. She has that “gift” of paying attention to details.
    I LOVE her gifts because she takes the time and care to make it special ( she also makes all her own greeting cards ) and that’s the essence of the gift…it makes you feel SPECIAL.
    Thanks for sharing now back to my wrapping!

  • Oh the Christmas eve’s when wrapping didn’t start until 11:00 or after to make sure that all 4 were asleep. They each had their own paper so know tags needed. I do use gift bags because someone has given me a gift in one which of course I have saved!

  • My husband, who comes from a family of 9, told me Santa didn’t wrap his presents, brilliant!
    I used to use coordinating papers (love the ones with the grid), Victorian motif designs to match my house, and make folded tags stamped with sparkly inks.
    Sorry to say after 3 kids, I have resorted to using bags, but I add pretty tissue and sometimes ribbon. Of course the bags can be reused, thrifty and conscientious.

  • We save our bows and ribbons from year to year. The paper differs, but we have a friendly competition to see who wraps the prettiest gifts.

  • Hand decorated Kraft paper with simple classy embellishments is my go to- yarn and poms, or string with greenery are my favorites right now.

  • When the kids were young enough to want to help and old enough to wrap, I would hand them boxes — they would wrap them then I would put tags in them. So….they were wrapping their own gifts and didn’t even know it!!

  • I get annoyed by buying things to throw them away, which is how I perceive the stick on bows (and they aren’t even pretty!). So I made some small applesauce cinnamon ornaments to top my gifts – only to see the ornaments in the trash with the paper. The next year , and all years since, I have topped my packages with miniature candy bars – wrapped in the Christmas theme, of course!! I haven’t seen even one of those in the trash!

  • Just a tad short on paper? Wrap on the diagonal, it will cover the bottom and look great.

  • Gift bags and paper grocery store bags. They are infinitely reusable.

  • My wrapping routine also involves clearing the area and having all of the necessities nearby. I also have this fantasy about the perfectly wrapped gift, but reality shows boxes that appear to be wrapped by stray cats.

    My best tip: never use your seeing scissors for paper. It may seem like a good idea, but trust me, you’ll use bad words the next time you want to sew something.

  • I love to wrap things in tea towels. New, vintage, any kind…

  • Maps are a fun way to wrap gifts.

  • One year when we were both between jobs we decided to implement an extremely frugal gift budget for each other. This not only forced us to be extremely creative, but I also started a new tradition of wrapping the smaller gifts and putting them into a stocking with hubby’s initial on it. Now I think he looks forward to what’s in the stocking even more than what’s in some of the “bigger” boxes 🙂

  • I love using brown craft paper with a sturdy ribbon or twine

  • I too love curling the ribbon with a pair of scissors !,,

  • Use all those bits of yarn that you hate to throw away for ribbons.

  • It is delightful to wrap a small gift and then place it inside a larger box and wrap that one and perhaps repeat a couple more times.

  • I still can’t wrap as well as I’d like to; I spent some hours on YouTube this month trying to learn how they wrap gifts in Tokyo department stores. I still can’t get it as lovely……yet.

  • Disclaimer: this is not my original idea. Someone much more clever than I came up with this brilliant idea, and I thought I’d pass it along. Instead of using traditional gift tags, attach a black and white copy of a photo of the intended gift recipient to the gift, so you know whose gift is whose. And they can keep the photo as a memento!

  • I like gift bags! Sorry!! It’s nice to have a reusable vessel to pass back and forth for gift giving. And they’re easy to carry

  • Love your writings DG, don’t know where you find some of the words but refreshing to read. I’m like you – the dining room table with just the essentials, maybe a coffee or fancy beverage, making sure it doesn’t tip while packing all over the gifts and paper.

  • Tissue- especially for a pile of small,gifts, start at the corner, roll them up and tie with curlie ribbon.
    For the packages with wrap, from Santa- Santa doesn’t use tags, just writes a name on the wrap itself, with a fat colored marker.

  • Each child has their own paper so no tags needed and it wasn’t Christmas until a gift was opened and they realized it was it the wrong paper and they’d say mom did it again. Tip a good weight box when wrapping so it doesn’t collapse on the sides.

  • I like using maps, and when my work involved large GIS maps, I had an endless supply – and what a conversation starter. “What is this stuff? Vegetation? Elevation? Temperature fluctuations? WHAAAAT?” In the Recycling Before It Had A Name category, my family was big on saving and reusing Christmas wrapping paper for family gifts, and I can say hand-on-heart that most of the paper had seen far more Decembers than any of us kids had, and became as familiar and welcome as the ornaments that resurfaced to general delight year after year. (Also tinsel, which was carefully lifted strand by strand from the tree and lined up in the fold of a Christmas card which was then stapled shut and reopened a year later. The tinsel reclamation only stopped when the very real danger of tinsel to cats became News, and it turned out a tree without tinsel is still a very fine tree!) But none of this was really a “tip” so I’ll add that a very nice way to wrap a small, special gift is in the toe of a handknit sock, itself wrapped in the mate of that sock 🙂

  • I’m surrounded by gift-baggers (friends and family), but love wrapping gifts. The recipients (who already think that knitting is an amazingly magic-crafty wizarding skill) are usually entertained by the perceived complicated intricacy of a wrapped present, and say that they feel special as the recipient 🙂 I try to start wrapping as soon as possible (instead of leaving everything until the last moment), and code the gift tags with a tiny notation that corresponds to a note in my planner (“B3” is the fish Lego set for Lily) in case I need to remember what a wrapped present contains 😀

    • I love the secret code idea! I’m going to steal that one.

  • I use gift bags (sorry DG) and save them to use over and over again. My mom saved wrapping paper in just the same way.

  • OMG if it wasn’t for gift bags everyone would simply get the olive gift in the bag from the store stapled closed!

  • Years ago I found a trove of Justin Bieber Christmas wrapping paper- because nothing says Merry Christmas like pre-pubescent glamour shots of The Biebs. Anyway, I just opened my very last roll of Bieber Paper. It’s been a good run. Also, I love sewing reusable gift bags so at our house it’s a mixture of both cloth and paper wrapped gifts.

    • This Justin Bieber wrapping paper information fills me with such jealousy I’m surprised the font isn’t turning green.

      • I am also completely green with jealousy. Not the same but I heard target had wrapping paper with sharks in Santa hats eating donuts. I see a trip to target in my future.

  • I a steadfast non-wrapper, but your passion for it almost wants to bring me back to the “dark side”. Instead from my childhood we always had Christmas gifts in hand sew fabric bags. Not as visually appealing as wrap, but no mess after! And those bags are still in rotation today, 30years later 🙂

    • This is not an original idea, but for those of you who use fabric bags, I heard of a great idea once. Stitch a label in the bag, so the giver can list the recipient and the year. After 30 years, you might need 2 or 3 tags!

  • I’m sorry. I never liked wrapping gifts. I love the patience and skill the art of wrapping involves, but sadly I am the type who ran upstairs during the candle lighting on each night of Chanukah and pulled out of the shopping bag my unwrapped but truly loved gifts for my family members

  • Forget fancy bows and handmade tags! On your table, along with tape , scissors, and wrapping paper, place a pen to write the recipients name. Boom you are done! Yes, right on the paper!

    • “WITH A BLACKWING PENCIL” is basically this year’s concept!

  • For small things – paper lunch bag, fold the top over and punch two holes with a paper punch. Thread a pretty piece of yarn through the holes to keep the top shut. Fast, inexpensive, totally reusable/recyclable. If the small thing is socks, I use a leftover piece of the sock yarn to tie as a little preview.

    • Brilliant idea, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • I like to use brown craft paper and butcher’s twine for my gifts. I also will tie a small wooden ornament into the bow.

  • I like using recycled containers for gift covers. One of the best ones was a sock monkey wrapped in an oatmeal cylinder. When my niece opened it, the monkey popped out like a jack in the box!

  • I’ve been known to spend more on gift wrap than the actual thing that is being given! It’s all in the presentation.

  • I like to admire other family members artsiness in wrapping. I tend toward the “get it done and lots of tape!” method.

  • It’s traditional in our family to wrap gifts in the Sunday comics. I start saving them in the summer so I have enough!

  • Paper bags from the grocery stores. Most stores still have them.
    Then the sloppiest wrap job you ever saw. I’m terrible at it.

  • I remember late Christmas Eves when my girls were little wrapping gifts while drinking eggnog and brandy and watching midnight mass from the Vatican.

  • I like to use paper that would otherwise get thrown away. And I think it’s harder to get a gift, plus the requisite tissue paper, pleasingly situated in a gift bag, than to wrap it. Plus it’s so more satisfying for the recipient to unwrap

    • Yes, I think there’s something to that last bit. We take things out of and put things in bags every day: groceries, hardware, dog poop. There’s nothing unusual or special about it. But we don’t get to unwrap a wrapped package as often – it’s an act usually reserved for birthdays and Hannukah/Christmas – so it plucks at some buried childhood brown-paper-packages-tied-up-with-string moment in a way that a gift bag does not, and sometimes that little shivery throwback frisson of memory is as exciting as whatever is in the box.

      • Yes, that is it exactly, that moment.

  • We wrap all of our gifts. and we have a large family. When our children were small, we started the tradition of each year carefully choosing a paper for each of them, keeping it a secret code until Christmas morning. Then, we pull out the code, and everyone can identify which packages are theirs, no tags required.

  • Adults might get presents in gift bags, but kids need to unwrap their packages, guessing the contents as they go. Santa doesn’t wrap. We start dropping small, unwrapped items in the stockings as soon as they’re hung. It’s ok to feel them, but no peeking!

  • Gift bags. Fight me.

  • My gift wrapping tip would be to wrap the item in tissue paper and nestle it in a colorful paper bag filled with more tissue paper! Voila! Done!

    • That’s what I do as well, and use a length of ribbon to tie the handles together. Voila, indeed, and pretty!

  • I have 2 sisters and a mother who quilt, so…I bought some Japanese wrapping fabric somethingorother on line to wrap my Mom’s birthday gift and got the bright idea to use fat quarters in the future to wrap (knitted) gifts for the quilters. Otherwise, I’m a huge fan of gift bags with tissue paper.

  • Great column, DG, and really fun to read the comments.

    I can’t bear to throw away lovely wrapping paper and ribbon so I save the best to use again. Yesterday I went to wrap a present, opened the drawer in my pantry where I stash the curated papers, and found mouse droppings. Eek! I freaked out and tossed everything. Ended up using tissue and yarn.

  • Butcher paper and a red yarn ribbon look fantastic.

  • Many of our friends are super passionate about their alma maters. I have a very large stash of left over yarn. Instead of bows I’ve placed pom poms in their school colors.

  • Kraft paper and twine is great for gift wrapping. We also have reusable fabric bags made years ago that are recycled every year. A bento bag would be great,too. Thanks.

  • My tip: start early! More fun, less stress 🙂

  • So many great ideas here! I’d be off to guy Kraft paper and twine, except last year I bought fabric post-holidays to sew into re-usable bags—-so, I. Enter get to constructing those bags

  • OK, please don’t hate me. I DON’T WRAP. I don’t buy Christmas presents either. I buy, make, give throughout the year. Like my 94 YO mom says, “Don’t wait until Christmas, life is short”

  • Cash wrapped in aluminum foil- always welcome under the xmas tree.

  • I feel your sentiment! I worked in the gift wrap department at JC Penney all through high school and college!!!

    • My tip has to do with the gift tags. My daughter has a fun tradition for the to/from tags. Instead of the gift being from her, she writes the name of a celebrity the recipient is crazy about. So the tag might read “from: Oscar Isaac” or a bag a yarn “from: Kaffe Fassett.” It’s fun and it never gets old because she’s pretty creative with it.

      • This is fun and clever! I think I’ll incorporate this idea in my fiber arts gift exchange.

  • I love wrapping! I use any blue, or silver, or red paper so the colours stay constant but the paper changes so carryovers from past years fit into the colour scheme. And seams must match!

  • This year I tied all my ribbons–none of those stick on kind–and I think it really makes a difference in the appearance of the tree! I know–oh my gosh, it’s just a ribbon! But all of mine are beautiful this year. And I really enjoyed doing it.

  • There was this 1 day when I was a kid when my sibs and I got into a competitive gift wrapping situation. The results were magnificent.

    I grew up to be a tree hugger and now it’s gift bags (which I harvest back) or torn pages from magazines or newspaper. I’ll leave the crisp, perfect corners to you.

  • I love wrapping and think presents look so cute! But going more reusable has been my thing! We have gift boxes that get a lot of use and last year my mom wrapped it reusable grocery bags!

    • Memories of my grandmother, who raised her family of 4 during the Depression, ironing used gift paper and ribbon is a good reminder to make memories….you never know what your kids and grandkids will treasure.

  • I used news paper one year. Another just the comics.

  • When I was a kid my parents always wrapped the bulky awkward items in a big black trash bag with a bow on it. Then they would use the trash bag to collect all the other used wrapping paper.

  • I am a definite Kraft paper, yarn, greenery person…

  • Our family has a large, tacky, pink artificial flower nestled in a bow—just one. It goes on someone’s gift. It’s always fun to see who gets the hideous monstrosity on their gift each year. Similarly, my dad and his sister exchanged the same card each year, signing and dating it and writing a short message each time. It was fun to read the messages from years back. The card was cleverly printed on a paper bag and which sometimes contained a small gift, sometimes not.

  • My favorite tip is to wait til the last possible moment and do them all in one fell swoop, while freaking out because you’re not going to have enough paper. Or using a pretty scarf that you tie up the corner of to make a bundle, somewhat similar to your bento bags.

  • I’m with you DG – wrapped gifts with carefully creased edges are my thing. Tip – crease the edges.

    • Oh, I have a bone folder for THIS VERY THING. But honestly, I’m not super bossy (oh, who am I KIDDING?) about the degree of difficulty or the level of quality on display at the end. I just like to spend the time doing it. The time I spent on it is part of the present, I think.

  • But what about tissue paper? The best wrapping includes tissue paper around the gift in the box. One more layer of “smile” before the actual gift!

  • Like several other commentators, I sewed gift bags. I got some particularly adorable Christmas fabrics quite a few years ago and made a bunch of drawstring bags in various sizes. The gift tags thread right on the drawstrings. I took the time to finish them really well so nothing frays or gets nasty over time and, if needed, they could survive a trip through the washing machine. Gifts placed in them always go to members of the extended family and they just get cycled through the family year after year. A win for the environment, a win for saving time, and they look really nice.

  • The comics make great wrapping paper

  • I use saved wrapping paper and I also keep a roll of craft paper. I
    love the idea of an icord roll.

  • I reuse my wrapping paper. The paper from a really large present can yield a lot of smaller presents in subsequent years, even if it has been enthusiastically opened. I like that it doesn’t go straight into the trash and to see the accumulation of gift labels over time. I have learned that washi tape doesn’t cut it when it come to holding a present together unless you essentially wrap the present in washi tape.

  • My tip is for dealing with wrapping the folded ends of boxes. Fold the wrapping of one end while the box is flat. Then sit the box up on that end to hold everything in place while you fold and tape the other end. Then you can go back and tape the first end without risk of messing it up from working at an awkward angle.

  • Use old Christmas cards for gift tags

    • I always do this! I use a little hole punch to tie a ribbon through it and then tie it to a gift. I haven’t bought a gift tag in YEARS. And I get to see beautiful cards again the next year. I trim the cards so that there is a feature on each gift tag. So I get several tags from each card.

  • I recycle paper bags, or anything paper to use as wrapping paper and recycle twine, yarn, yarn string, beads and any misc. baubles to finish it off.

  • I love wrapping. Stick-on bows are the devil’s handiwork.

  • Kraft paper, redirect green twine, and rubber stamps using red or green ink pads. Maybe add a sprig of fresh evergreens.

  • First mailed gifts are sent in homemade pillowcase tied with cloth ribbon. Second if I must wrap it is the comics, my environmental choice.

  • Start with really strong wrapping paper that has geometric designs. Put all supplies out on the dining room table. Ask husband if he can help for “just a minute.” Begin to cut paper to fit package … (oh, did I forget to tell you that husband HAS to have everything symmetrically aligned with designs matching at all seams and folds?) … hand over the tools and go find something to knit or crochet while husband finishes the job!

  • I love gift bags! Can be used again and again for years, better than paper, which is either trashed after one use, or hard to recycle (if it is metallic for example).

  • As we and our “adult offspring” have aged, it has become harder and harder to think of gifts to buy. Unlike our childhoods when times were tough and Christmas was the one time of year when we received gifts and new things (that we needed), we are very fortunate be able to have what we need and buy things we want throughout the year. Now, for the holidays, we mostly buy experiences…a show, trip to the map room at the NY public library, a meal in celebration of the holidays, etc. Even when we ask the kids for “wish lists” they are filled with practical items. Fortunately for me, my daughter is a knitter! Just yesterday we made a trip to a LYS in a new neighborhood that was hosting guest shepherdesses and I was able to gift her the things she might have bought for herself as an early holiday present. No wrapping required but a lovely memory of chatting, touching yarn, and imagining projects that we’ll share for a long time. Happy holidays to all who celebrate!

  • A few years ago I made cloth bags (I am a quilter. Lots of fabric on hand.) in multiple sizes for my immediate family. Each of us has a different Xmas print so I don’t have to tag.

    Extended family and friends get wrapped gifts with curly ribbon. My favorite paper comes from the Gwen Frostic shop in Beula, MI. It’s heavy and different. We stop there each fall on our yearly trip up to Mission Point for a long weekend.

  • I cut leftover fabric into strips on the bias and use them for ribbons. Gives a nice “shabby chic” effect. Also, one year I gave gift wrapping kits to my teen-aged nephews – with scissors, tape dispensers, rolls of brown paper and photocopied checkerboard patterned paper, rolls of fabric ribbons, and various natural bits for decorations. Not sure what they thought of the gift, but it did boost their gift wrapping game and I heard that one’s girlfriend was quite impressed!

  • I often wrap like items in the same package – books, clothes etc. Also cut up old cards to use as tags.

  • I don’t get carried away, though I wrap all gifts (unlike my mom when I was a kid!). I generally use heavy, well-marked Christmas paper, though I agree that kraft paper can be used for nearly any type of gift. I need to be careful with ribbons and ties; caution: cats like to chew on them and can ingest them – they can get very sick. Lots of the packages under our tree have no ribbons or ties.

  • I have some unexpected extra time this week with a covid isolation situation (double vaxxed!) so I’m going the Kraft paper route & using an embosser with festive rubber stamps that I just remembered I had.

  • Christmas movies and something festive to drink. I spread out on the living room floor. Most gifts get wrapped. Some of the hard to box items get bags. No bows here tho. Cats put a stop to bows of any kind.

  • When MDK orders arrive at my house, I save both the tissue paper and box to reuse for gift giving

  • As a sewist/quilter too, I’ve been known to use fabric and seam tape to wrap gifts, mostly because I can never seem to get at the closet that holds the wrapping paper due to the piles of my daughter’s shoes in front of it.

  • I once wrapped a gift for my son (he was in his twenties then) with pages from an old novel which was falling apart from the spine. After unwrapping he started to read aloud…everyone became interested in the story and listened intently, only to be left hanging as suddenly there was no more to read. “WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?!!”

  • I save and reuse tissue paper I amass through the year (some from y’all!). I don’t buy gift bags but re-purpose them as gift wrap, especially the wine bottle bags which are otherwise useless unless reusing for same. My favorite part of gift wrapping is curling the ribbons with scissors, totally related to you on that!

  • Kraft paper, twine or ribbon. I like the KISS principle.

  • I love that paper slicer thing. Looks like a pen but has a razor blade in there and cuts the paper very easily.

  • I grew up in a tiny family, receiving Christmas presents with hand curled ribbons and hand drawn, hand colored gift tags. I married into a huge family. After the first year, when no one noticed my handmade tags, I stopped doing them. After many years of complaints at how tightly tied my ribbons were, I stopped doing them. For many years, I made sure each in- law family had matching paper. This year I gave up: I bought industrial sized rolls of paper. Everyone’s presents are wrapped in exactly the same paper, with gift tags that are plain stickers, with name and sentiment written on. When no one notices or cares how beautifully wrapped your presents are, and you’re wrapping multiple gifts for twenty five people, it’s time for economies of scale.

    The hill I will die on? No raw paper edges. Mine are always always always folded under.

  • With an extended family scattered around the globe, many gifts end up coming pre-wrapped in colorful drawstring bags which get saved and reused annually. We have a large collection now, all sizes and colors. When we are all together (about every 10 years) we divide up the bag collection and each household goes home with a supply. I try to shop locally as much as possible and wrap those presents myself but a lot of gifts still end up being pre-wrapped.

  • My favorite wrapping tip….you don’t want me to wrap. Sorry, I’m the sad soul that hates wrapping.

    • Trust me. You are not the only one!

  • Fully crease the paper where it needs to be folded. This makes everything very crisp and tidy.

  • Find a big enough decorated tin, or wooden box lined with some nice wood. Make it part of the gift. Yarn looks great nested in shiny metal or warm wood!

  • My sister has been the one doing the creative wrapping for years. One year she ‘wrapped ‘ each gift by putting it in a cereal or food box. Then she brought everything over in grocery bags. Another year, it was wrapping each gift in the football team colors of our city, or college, she even printed copies of the team logo. Another year she wrapped everything in brown paper and put our home address on it. As for me, I usually wrap gifts that are the same, in one style of wrapping paper, so they know to open them at the same time. This year, I made little glass tags with snowflakes and fused (fired) them in my kiln, then I wrote the person’s name on the tag with a sharpie, which can be wiped off and used again. But for large gifts that I can’t find a big enough box for , such as afghans or glass plates and bowls, I usually need to get lazy and use large gift bags.

  • When my daughter was younger, and producing a LOT of art at the easel, we would use her painted, stickered and drawn works of art to wrap gifts. For the recipient, the gift included fun and colorful custom gift wrap, and it reduced clutter in our house … win/win!

  • I’ve been creating re-usable gift wrappings since before it was fashionable, collecting and hemming small pieces of attractive fabrics for bento wraps, knitting and crocheting bits of yarn into gift bags throughout the year, storing them in a large wooden chest, ready when I need something. I still recall one year when my mother liked the packaging better than the gift it contained … she’d been looking for a nice make-up bag and the knitted gift envelope-bag was just what she needed.

  • I loved this snippet! Right up my alley. I am a wrapper getting my paper before Thanksgiving at the container store, whjich is so beautiful, I mostly get double sided satin ribbon which I carefully gather back on each Christmas morning and dry clean then press if needed and carefully roll up for the next present.
    When my kids were young, I wrapped most of their presents in different wrapping paper for each child from Santa. OnChristmas they had to figure out which presents were for who from the wrapping paper. Right now I have a room full of presents with a gift wrapping table that was the best $20 I ever spent. It fold up has deep lines on top for cutting a roll holder, two drawers etc and it fits under a bed. Heaven! This week I will spend a couple of afternoons wrapping while watching a Christmas movie and then get the presents under the tree.

  • I always aspire to do Instagram worthy wrapping, but end up with the standard off-the-shelf wrapping paper & a tag. Sorry

  • A grandmother’s True Confession: I gave my family (9 of us) their holiday gifts of books wrapped in tissue and carried in recycled gift bags. Slightly amnesiac after a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner, they instantly unwrapped, settled down and began to dig into their books while the elders snoozed! Immediate gratification all around!

  • I wrap my (hand knit of course) baby blankets in a receiving blanket and fasten it with a diaper pin-that way they get extra useable items!

  • My best tip is to cut accurately and fold in the uneven edges on back and at top of end fold.

  • I hate wrapping and think bows are useless. Sharpie written names on the top of the gift to finish it off.

  • Hats, scarves, gloves, socks – all knitted with love in every stitch, can be stuffed into a mason jar. Screw down the lid, place the jar in the middle of a square of gift wrap, bring up the edges of the paper, and secure around the neck of the jar with a ribbon. Talk a lot about this wonderful recipe for trail mix you have discovered. On the tag, write, “Happy trails.” Expecting some vision of good old raisins and peanuts, they unwrap their jar to discover – surprise! – a pair of hand-knit socks.

  • My tip? Leave it to my sister. She is on the DG side of the wrapping debate, although she uses a glue gun instead of double sided tape. She gets it from my Dad. My Mom, who wrapped everything for 6 kids except the Family gift, was a little more “just git it done.”

    • A glue gun! That’s hardcore.

  • Sacrifice some ribbon and a bow to the cats, it will distract them for a minute while you get some wrapping done!

  • Brown or white craft paper. But real fabric ribbon. Christmas paper for grandchildren, no ribbon – Santa set that example because it gets flattened in his bag.

  • Our family tradition is to wrap using no tape, so the paper can be carefully removed, refolded, and reused another year. Until it is as thin and wrinkly as tissue paper, or has been cut too small to save, and then it is finally discarded. This sometimes involves using knees and elbows to hold the folded corners until ribbon can be applied (no knots).

  • Gift bags were invented for people like me. No shame here,

  • I’m a dedicated Curling Ribbon, edge of scissors kind of gal. And where are those darn scissors, anyways??? Always tucked away somewhere… LOL

    • Scissors are usually found underneath the paper that has unrolled itself off the paper roll.

  • I learned to wrap gifts early. I spent one Christmas season at the Navy exchange in Newport Rhode Island wrapping gifts for sailors and officers alike. My mother worked with Navy relief which was the organization that did the gift wrapping. I learned early how to make square corners and tie a neat bow. Now those are life skills!

  • Gift cards of course….to MDK !

  • It’s sad, annually, to read/hear/see all the complaints/woes/worries about Christmas (or the Holiday Season as some choose to declare). Christmas comes every year on December 25. It’s not a lunar driven, changeable date – every year no matter what – 12/25. If it’s so overwhelming to knit, bake, wrap, etc. between Halloween/Thanksgiving and Christmas why not start earlier? Why not decide what’s REALLY important to do and stick to that? None of this self-imposed craziness has anything to do with the Christmas “spirit” which sounds like a Hallmark invented sentiment. The spirit is supposed to be within us all year long. Commercially driven guilt is not evidence of having it. Wrap your gifts however you want – even with bags which can be added to along the way. Knit gifts all year long and tuck them away if that’s your gift of choice. Bake or don’t – we’re supposed to be enjoying each other, not what we bear in our hands. And treat yourself better.

  • I’m totally on board with wrapping. I save and reuse wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbons, Christmas cards (cut into tags), boxes, etc. There’s just too much waste and environmental impact if wrapping and it’s accoutrements are only used once.

  • I wrap my own gifts with lots of fancy ribbon and a personally selected gift tag. Of course. I enjoy the doing with a glass or so of wine

  • I like good quality, heavy wrapping paper and satin ribbons. In my family, there’s a holdover from my mother who lived through the Depression where we save all larger pieces of wrapping paper for future years. Good quality wrap and ribbons, if rolled for storage, will even out by the next Christmas.

  • I am also a quilter. There are lots of “extra”
    Pieces of fabric around here. ALL of them become gift bags somehow. Either pieced together—the larger bits, or they become “ribbon”—the smaller bits. No tape, no wrapping shenanigans, no sharp scissors, no waste. Every package looks different, it’s pretty darned festive, and did I mention, no waste?

  • I wrap everything and use curling ribbon too. However, I use knots! Everybody has a good time trying to open the gift without cutting the ribbon – there is a lot of laughter when my gifts are being opened. Lots of oohs and aahs at how pretty the packages look, and frequent exclamations of “It’s too pretty to open!” before the recipient begins ripping into the package. I do, however, resist the urge to tie knots for gifts to small children. Those get pretty curling ribbons attached with stickers.

  • Gift bags are fine with me, but what I really like doing is going back through last year’s Christmas cards, re-reading them and then making gift tags out of them.

  • Hilarious. I love receiving thoughtfully-wrapped gifts but am not at all gifted in doing it myself. I loathe it. One hack I do enjoy if using a new tea towel to wrap fresh loaf of bread or canned preserves, or wine. I also use Kraft paper and add fresh greenery and berries from our landscape.

  • my kids are grown and no grandkids so my children’s X-mas present is a check to buy what they need or want. but I still like the idea of opening something – my daughter and I get fiber advent calendars and get to open a goodie everyday in December. it bugged me that the boys were left out of the fun. so I started to put together advent calendars for the men in my life. they are little(mostly inexpensive) gifts for each day – some useful and some silly – but all things that made me think of them when I saw them. but this is supposed to be about wrapping. I like to reuse and recycle so one year all the presents were wrapped in maps from trips we took. another year I went to the thrift store and found a jumbled up box of music sheets. this year it was old tissue paper – I am one of those old ladies that carefully unwrap and fold up gift paper and tissue to reuse. when my kids were small, stocking and Santa presents were wrapped in white tissue and none of it was carefully wrapped because elves are busy creatures and can’t fuss making creases and squaring up the packages. it was only important that you could not see through the tissue and find out what was inside.

    • I love the elves bit.

  • Oh my, these wrapping tips are intimidating! Not a tip exactly but the last couple years I’ve splurged on heavy cotton based wrapping paper. I try NOT to cut or tape it (ribbons are my friends) and it can be reused several times. The packages end up looking rustic and still attractive. Since my wrapping jobs have always tended to rustic, this is a win.

  • DG can we talk about this for a minute? There’s a time and a place for gift bags. Don’t skim over this — hear me out! There are rules. There must be tissue paper. MUST! And 99% of things must be wrapped to go into the gift bag. If I have a bunch of little gifts that go together, they get wrapped and then into a gift bag to avoid losing them. Gift cards get wrapped and then popped into little gift bags. Otherwise I lose them. You get the idea. The only time that the gift that in the bag doesn’t get wrapped is if it is a bottle of wine or booze (unless you’re fancy and buy the good stuff that comes in a box), or if it can be part of the decoration of the gift (a bag of little baby things with a stuffed bear peeking out of the top.) Tissue paper is not negotiable. After all, we’re not animals.

    This year, I am doing the Icelandic Jolabokaflod — giving books on Christmas Eve for everyone to snuggle down and read. We added a family to our family this year and since we can’t all be together in person, we can be together spirit. My niece got married and my new nephew’s family is every shade of awesome. I made a list of all the names, picked out my favorite books that I thought each person would enjoy, and ordered them for each member of both families. In my wander through my bookshelves, I came across a book that is very special to my family. My dad was good friends with a man named Manfred Lee who was half of the mystery writing team, Ellery Queen. Back in 1966 they were (lovingly) busting each other’s chops, and my dad told Mann that his books sucked. In 1967, when the book Face to Face was published, he sent my parents a copy with some pages noted. Mann had named a character after my father! How exciting. A few pages later, that character was shived in prison. We find this hilarious. The ultimate example of revenge being a dish best served cold. So I took a deep dive online and found enough copies to cover everyone who hasn’t read it and doesn’t know the story behind it. They will each get two books on Christmas Eve. As the point of this is to read together on Christmas Eve, each household is getting a gift bag with all of their wrapped books, some homemade hot chocolate mix, and some cookies. Plus, we have the added benefit of everyone learning by example how to brilliantly and patiently get your revenge!

    Finally – and this is very important – we have three December birthdays in my family. My dad is today (he’s 91!), my sister is the 21st, and I’m the 11th. Under no circumstances — I don’t care if it is Armageddon — should a birthday present be wrapped in holiday paper. P.S. My sister is less then a year older than me. So for my entire life, every year, from the 11th to the 21st I have tortured her that she’s not older than me any more and can’t tell me what to do. And that, my friends, is the most wonderful gift of the season.

    • I love every part of this.

    • You’re simply treating the gift bag as a conveyance method for wrapped items in this situation – the bag is not really the WRAP. Therefore this is acceptable.

      Though if you’re not going to deliver things around in an artisan hand-woven scarlet Santa bag, I hardly see the point of any of it, honestly.

    • Happy Birthday to your dad! And an early Happy Birthday to you and your sister.

    • I loved this. My birthday is Dec. 12 (gifts were never in Christmas wrapping), and my parents’ wedding anniversary was Dec. 18. The Christmas tree always went up AFTER my birthday and BEFORE the anniversary, since my parents originally put up their tree before they left on their honeymoon. I still follow those rules for the calendar today. Happy birthday, Karen, to you and yours!

  • My family used to go in for trick wrapping – multiple layers of paper, gifts put into oddly-shaped containers to disguise what was inside, etc. I still do it occasionally to add some fun.

    I have also been known to use the occasional gift bag, especially for office gifts!

  • In my senior year of high school, I worked in the gift wrap department of a large department store that offered free wrapping. Wow! I learned a lot. My favorite part was using the bow-making machine.

  • I buy a roll of wired tinsel-like decoration in gold & silver, plus holographic ribbon in matching colors. After tying the bow, I cut a 6 inch piece of the wired decor & stick it through the bow, bending the ends. Easy & everyone loves it.

  • I don’t love wrapping but I do love making the ribbons curl with the scissors edge. Two tips that are pretty basic: 1) washi tape and plain paper changes wrapping from a fancy-drag to a relaxing pastime; 2) it took me several years after having a kid to realize (duh!) I didn’t have to wrap all the presents on Christmas eve like my parents did. I now start earlier and, if I’m lucky, I find a quiet afternoon with the house to myself when I can do it.

  • Much as i HATE to disagree with DC, especially after I have dried the tears of laughter from my eyes after reading his post….BUT, this time I do. I LOVE gift bags. I think them the most brilliant of inventions. And they are reusable, so I feel righteous about not wasting paper. Just sayin’.

    • Yay to that.

  • My wrapping tip is to let my husband do all the wrapping. Like DG, he loves it, especially the odd-shaped packages.

  • I love to cover shoe boxes with colorful contact paper or decopage them. A gift box worth keeping.

  • Start the ribbon in the bottom, twist on the top and continue with only one side back around. Tie on the top. Ribbon lays flat on bottom and twist is hidden by the bow

  • I love to take a plain white box and wrap yarn around it (cover the middle part of the box) and then attach a hand knit ornament anywhere on the yarn.

  • My wrapping techniques are wanting, but when my stepkids were young, I used to draw elaborate Christmas scenes as their name tag – they loved them and it really slowed down the much too early morning unwrapping to a I-drank-a-mug-of-coffee pace.

  • Two words: washi tape. Use it for adding a recipient’s name, attaching a cute little pompom or bell, and especially for zhuzhing up some ancient wrapping paper that I’ve been saving for 100 years.

  • “Diagram that sentence”. God, I love you, DG. Merry Christmas. ❤️

  • I watch for beautiful unique block-printed or embroidered kitchen “flour sack” type towels at craft fairs for wrapping gifts. I like knowing the wrap will be useful to the recipient long after the gift has been unwrapped.

  • Make your own wrapping ribbon with torn strips of fabric. Maybe do a little embroidery stitching on them also.

  • Real fabric ribbon is a must. I buy it on sale at the sewing store all year, and my family knows not to throw it out. Roll it up and use it next year!

  • Separate containers for tissue, wrap, and ribbons

  • Once I had used up the plethora of school gift wrap purchases I turned to Kraft paper. I have a commercial roll that I replenish every few years so I don’t have to worry about running out. I love the vintage parcel look.

    For me the big effort is every year I create a new gift tag for the holidays. Last year for our holiday gathering via Zoom I made one that had a man and woman in Victorian attire on top and sweat pants on the bottom (below the Zoom line). I’ve done a vintage library card in the pocket or the image of a vintage typewriter with a slit for the “paper” to hold the typed tag. I’ve discovered friends who have kept them all.

    I did gift wrapping at a department store years ago during the holiday season and the dreaded thing was a large oddly shaped item that wouldn’t fit in a box. I would have given anything for a gift bag back then. But I will always remember when my brother gift wrapped a shirt he was giving our father. He put it on a hanger and wrapped it in the shape of a shirt. The memory still makes me laugh.

  • Put it all in a Christmas stocking!

  • I confounded close family (home to see the packages under the tree) by camouflaging smaller packages in larger ones – the gift-wrapped nesting dolls of a present. So much wrapping, and finding compatible boxes! Worked. Every. Time. Bwahahaha!!

  • My favorite tip is to talk my sister into doing the wrapping

  • Theater tickets with lunch or dinner reservations don’t need wrapping. Both sides of the family have moved onto experiences together as gifts. Also we’ve traveled during the holidays, and I call that a present. A Chinese meal watching ‘Gone With The Wind’ on a big screen, in English with French subtitles, in a small restaurant in Paris or lunch in Little Italy and then a visit to the Empire State Building. Then we can all reminisce ‘Remember the time when?’ and that’s a double gift.

  • I cannot add a single tip. I am a precise wrapper, but losing the scissors is an ongoing issue. Each time I wrap I say “Here, lay them on the left side then when you need them they are at the ready.” They are never there. I think those suckers have the power to move. Tape is an issue too. I had a BUNCH of cheap tape that was horrible to tear, but as the child of Depression-era parents could not throw it away. Finally used all that last year, so this will be a brighter holiday season.

    • Tie a long strand of ribbon to your scissors handles. The ribbon ends will peek out under your “creative messes” making them easier to grab.

  • My favorite wrapping method is the wrap a gift in two layers of colored tissue. The bottom layer is the base color, and the top layer I first cut into a big snowflake, then wrap it around and tape it down. It’s fun to choose colors that either complement or contrast, and it makes a brilliantly beckoning pile of gifts!

  • When I was a kid I loved getting stuff wrapped in the Sunday comics. Now I often use old maps.

  • I use to just love wrapping things and looked forward to the tv Hallmark movies so I could watch their ads that showed creative wrapping ideas. But no one seemed to appreciate it and all my family did was slap some pretty paper on the front and tape it wherever it ended up on the back. Now, for any occasion mostly I use colored tissue paper but I always tie it with fancy stash yarn. In case my friends forget that I’m a knitter.

  • I like to use reusable bags

  • That was funny! And now I am going to cut up all the gift bags in my stash and use them as wrapping paper this year!

  • I make gifts to use for wrapping. Left over yarn becomes knit stockings, pompoms, gift ties. I fold hats, shawls, dish towels, and bandanas to cover a book, box or what ever the purchased gift may be, for the lucky few, a hand made sweater may be inside.

  • Aluminum foil. But I prefer others doing it for me, I still wrap like a third grader at 73

  • I recently had to craft a box from other cardboard boxes to be able wrap a pogo stick for my grandson. It was a challenge and my hubby was amazed at the result. Our grandson couldn’t guess what was inside that unusual looking package but was elated to find a “pongo” stick.

  • I like the simplicity of using kraft paper which I stamp with holiday themed rubber stamps! Tie on some curling ribbon and you’re done. Easy peasy!

  • I like to buy a bunch of super cute paper ahead of time, then be in such a hurry to wrap presents that need to be mailed and not be able to find it.

    • Ha,ha, ha! We share this malady and the same last name, let’s blame it on that!!

  • Sister-in-law, gone 10 years now, from the mwa-ha-ha tradition of evil wrapping tricks… Cheap paper, lots of well-aged gluey cellophane tape, illegible stick-on gift tags, wound round with yards and yards of that wired star garland. God, I miss her.

  • Kraft paper….what a fabulous idea! Always something new to learn here…

  • Years ago, I tied a 4 foot long piece of red large yarn to the handles of my wrapping scissors (Well, they are the household scissors most of the time). Knot each end and you have a quick way to spot your scissors in all the tissue and wrapping paper on Christmas Eve. It is a time saver all year round.

  • I am a paper crafted, and love to make little treat holders or pillow boxes out of stamped card stock or patterned paper.

  • Only one previous commenter knits gift bags? My gifts these days are usually cash, since I can’t get out to shop, so I’m knitting tiny bags. The comments brought back memories: Santa never wrapped his gifts to my children. It was a bit awkward one year, when we had a big family Christmas at Grandma’s, and their cousin’s Santa gifts were all wrapped in Santa paper, while my kids’ were not.

  • I save ribbons and bows all year long, then use old paper grocery bags for wrapping paper. The plain brown background highlights the bow and can be an empty palette for a personal message or stickers.

  • I am firmly in the camp of kraft paper gift wrap. I cut holly and cedar from our property to tie on the packages. Completely recyclable!

  • I reuse paper grocery bags to wrap things; take them apart to get them flat, then stamp and otherwise embellish. It’s personalized, and free!

  • Bows, ribbons, anything that dresses up a package – I love a pretty package! For the little ones I add something fun on the top of the package. This year is candy canes!

    • My mom & her sisters are the top-tier trio of Presents Presence Royalty. Three times fast. This year they have two underage rescue kitties new to the clan (from Soul Dog, in the Denver area) to assist w/ copious amounts of baking—any recipes w/ butter—and the over the top festive gift wrapping. Inexpensive baskets into which baked goods are nestled/wrestled are secured w/ fabric ribbon or yarns from the resident fiber artist. Any and all reused tins (new or old) are pressed into action, lined w/ tissue paper padding. Calligraphy markers and sharp penmanship adorn the gift paper or sail merrily across images saved from reused cards. Ornaments or bows adorning tops, along w/ individual messages, notes about a gift w/ interesting origins, family heirlooms tucked in replete w/ the resident writer/poet’s descriptive notes, and the resident painter’s watercolor ditties, these are a few of my favorite things. Everyone looks forward to a beautiful box full of a mix of cheery packages, in which the imaginative and personalized wrapping is exquisitely memorable. I think most everyone can get behind these ideas—recycling, regifting, reusing containers and plenty of edible gifts, personalized with original arts and crafts. Even pre-owned books may have received the gifter’s perusal , instant book club talk! DG, thank you for another outrageously fun column and Commenters, your hilarious and gift-gold thoughts that follow. What a treat!

  • Oh how I will miss having a cat sitting on my wrapping paper this year. The boss, at age 20, moved on to the after life. Hopefully filled with endless wrapping paper, ribbon, Christmas ornaments and all things of interest to a cat.

  • Have a physical therapist on call because you WILL wrap piles of presents while splayed out on your living room floor and you WILL have back pain for days as a result. Or maybe that’s just me.

  • I love to ruse tags and ribbons so I collect them when everyone is done unwrapping gifts. I also use yarn leftovers for trying tags and making little pom poms.

  • I stock up on pretty cotton dish towels to wrap things in- they don’t work for everything, but look very pretty and provide a bonus gift when they do.

  • My husband loves to shop and can’t resist a bargain, so in years past he has brought home copious amounts of Christmas wrap–after Christmas, of course. My job is to use it, and frankly I am way behind. Wish me luck as I generously wrap this year’s gifts.

  • Blackwings are the best pencils. All sorts of famous, creative geniuses have used them. My father gave me some eons ago that I absolutely treasure. I’m so glad that they’ve been reissued!

  • 1000% agree on all the things here. I am that person- many a Christmas Eve spent with wrappings, ribbons, scrambling to find MORE tape, drinking 500 cups of eggnog/bourbon….
    The joys of Christmas wrapping!

  • Wrap gifts with whatever makes you and the gift recipients happy; my tip, however, would be to minimize the alcohol involved. The Year of the Daquiri Wrap is part of our family lore. I was in college and Mom enlisted me to help wrap my younger sister’s gifts on Christmas Eve. Sister was on a date, Dad had gone to bed early, and Mom and I had been cooking all day, so we made a batch of frozen strawberry daiquiris and proceeded to wrap. By the time we got to some unusually shaped gifts, we had a serious case of the giggles and the wrapping became “unusual.” One example: a volleyball was wrapped in plastic wrap with a stick-on bow and some glittery cotton balls. I still laugh when I think about it. I just wish we had taken a picture of my sister’s face (in the era before digital cameras) when she saw some of our more unconventional creations!

  • Santa always has his own gift wrap that doesn’t get used for anything else!

  • Forward by Joyce Carol Oates.
    An truly inspired parenthetical.

    My best wrappings are when it’s actually a scavenger hunt, and I’ve finally gotten good at making a list of the clues, and the locations to stash the clue so that I can make all the clues at the kitchen table (at midnight, because it is the only appropriate time for such things) and then sneak around the house/yard/neighborhood placing the clues only one time.

    I also love paper-wrapped parcels, and have a big stash of gift wrap. No cat to sit on them, but last year when my 11-year-old daughter pulled the tubes out of the basement, a dried up DEAD BABY SNAKE slid out of one of them.

    Life lessons: Snakes also appreciate poinsettia printed paper. Always send a kid to the basement for the gift wrap.

  • I LOVE wrapping presents! Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I cut wrapping paper by folding it at the correct length, making a sharp crease, then using a butter knive (not serrated ) to make the perfect straight cut.

    I know cutting with scissors would be faster but I’m completely incapable of doing this ‍♀️

  • I love the ribbon running diagonally across the corners of boxed gifts.

  • Oh, I do have one more tip! Ok, it’s a brag. When the children who now are sent to fetch snake-filled gift wrap were tiny, my husband made the oh-my-god-I-do-NOT-want-to-be-Santa face. He contends that Christmas Eve is for sitting by the fire with your feet up and an adult beverage. So I made big red drawstring bags that Santa delivers his gifts in. Last night, last minute is dump-in-bag, pull string, feet up.

  • I find or make fun pillowcases throughout the year and cinch up gifts in them, tie on a festive ribbon, and poof…DONE

  • I like to find something extra to tie onto the box or bag that may be from nature, is seasonal, or goes with the gift inside. I do like gift bags, as they can often be reused and generally look nicer than gifts I wrap from hand.

  • As a child, we rarely had real wrapping paper – it was expensive and wasteful. We considered ourself lucky if we got the Sunday comics (in color) or the Sporting Green section – which really was green. As an adult, my kids sold wrapping paper – with the grid lines! – as school fundraisers. Still have some!

  • for the 1st time ever this year, I wrapped the Hanukkah presents One Month ahead of time. With Thanksgiving right before Hanukkah this year, I was so pleased with myself! And I’ve learned some great tips from you all — maps — what great wrapping paper! and (head smack) yarn instead of ribbon! And the duct tape/ bubble wrap — that will cover my SIL’s wok this year!

  • Why is it that wrapping in my house is always saved for last? When I do take time to extravagantly dress a package, I love it. It’s an artistic expression of my soul! Not just a wrap. But what about all those that are ordered on line? Just not much soul there, that’ for sure, too much distance. Ah, holidays of today, life changes.

  • Miss those days of “production wrapping” around the dining room table! My father and grandfather were masters!!

  • Stick-on gift labels were a game changer for me! (And stick-on bows)

  • My husband and I wrap gifts together on the dining room table. My best tip is a pair of scissors and a pen for EACH person, and ideally tape too. The scissors still get lost but not because the other person took them.

  • I have no wrapping secrets. Just one warning about overbuying wrapping paper at the 50% off Christmas sale. My kids have been getting gifts wrapped in the same paper for the past 10 years or so. It never seems to run out.

  • I love wrapping too. I’m also ADD and a champion procrastinator. Many Christmas Eves have seen me wrapping until the early dawn hours. I remember when our big department store (Hudsons) had a big gift wrapping department. Every year there were new styles in a variety of prices and it was always exciting to see the new ones! It was very special when you were able to pay for the most beautiful paper and the special decoration and even more special to receive such a gift! It was fascinating to watch the women wrap: it amazed me how they pulled off just the right amount of paper EVERY TIME and r eat they twisted and turned ribbon into a variety of beautiful bows. I learned to gift wrap from watching them.
    All that being said, I like gift bags too. Not just any gift bag but a really lovely, special one. There are gift bags that have been going back and forth from me to the recipient and back again for years and we look forward to seeing it’s familiar face reappear. (My family and some of my friends are inveterate paper savers and re-users too). This year I’m making pretty cloth gift bags that can be reused or repurposed, so they become part of the gift.

  • Definitely a “no knots” person. And for small kids no tape. Always curl the ends of the ribbon… even a first birthday kid should have the pleasure of digging into a present with no help! Lots of tape and knots is for 13 year old boys….

  • I use leftover dated–but still festive!–yarns (red fun fur, anyone) in place of ribbon. Also have been known to wrap thrift store cookie cutters in yarn and attach in place of a bow.

  • I have a series of Chistmas-fabric bags that I use year after year. Tie with a couple strnds of matching leftover yarn and — Voila! — I’m done!

  • New Dishtowels make wonderful wrappers too!!

  • Repurposed lots of old bandanas and cotton scarves that get passed around the family with gifts inside.

  • My tip is kind of a “well, duh!” one. I got a shallow, flat translucent plastic storage box that holds cards and gift tags. Finally, they are all in one place and not scattered around. Kind of pathetic, I know, but what do you expect from a “gift bag” person?

  • I like to wrap my gifts, too and take pride in my ribbon collection. I will say that gift bags can be handy for TRANSPORTING said gifts, though.

  • I love beautifully wrapped gifts, but am not good at it myself. I usually reuse gift bags I’ve received since that seems to be what most people use nowadays. My mom saved and reused wrapping paper, so that’s what I did too for many years. I really like the idea of muslin bags that several people mentioned. I might switch! There was one year when I made crocheted handbags for new daughters-in-law to hold gifts. One of them still uses it as her purse!

  • Gift bags are a godsend, not only for those unusually shaped and sized gifts but for everything! Just like bento bags!

  • I pick up scarves in assorted sizes at thrift stores or garage sales. Packages are tied with ribbon instead of tape – a variation of the bento package idea. They are colorful and reusable.

  • Put it in a gift bag that says “I wrapped this myself.” It lowers expectations.

  • My favorite wrapping tip came from Ann her ownself: Use your cell phone to hold the tissue paper in place while you get your ribbon or washi tape or whatever you’re using to secure the tissue paper around the gift. I loooove to wrap gifts in tissue paper, so this was a very helpful why-didn’t-I-think-of-that, thank-you-Ann kind of hint!

  • In my dream house I have a dedicated gift wrap station. In my real house, I have a gift stash in the guest room closet. I buy gifts when I see them and wrap them right away. So tags are critical. I use anything, including the paper that is left over from school fundraising campaigns.

    My mother-in-law was very particular about gift wrap. No tape. Fabric ribbon. This actually makes recycling easier. Heavy paper that can be creased will stay in place without tape. Though I will confess to being very glad when we switched to giving her gift cards.

  • I’ve sent my kiddos on a treasure hunt for the present before when it was too awkward to wrap.

  • Make sure your scissors are sharp. It’s really annoying at 11:45pm Christmas Eve to be crumpling & tearing the paper with dull scissors when you’re trying to slice it.

  • I use brown paper super market bags. I can decorate the. Bags with crayon or color pencil doodles and wrap/tie with left over project yarn or fabric. Happy gift giving.

  • The Japanese diagonal wrapping technique? Life changing. I don’t know how you wrap, DG, but boy, those Japanese are artistes.

  • I love curling ribbon! And so do my cats! So no more curling ribbon. I buy nice festive wrapping paper and use basic cotton green or red yarn for the ribbon. No more problems with my cats that I do really like having around … just saying!

  • One of the reasons I invited my daughter in law to visit from four hours away was to wrap two presents. She’s a star. I mean a real star. Even gift bags are too much for me to do. How exactly do you make that tissue look nice? Wait until she sees the scissors I have. If I can find them.

  • I use blank white or craft paper to wrap so i can entertain my kids by asking them to spend time drawing, doodling, writing, painting and/or decorating the gifts once wrapped. We coordinate ribbons or tassels with their colorful drawings and write the recipients name in marker and avoid losing tags.

  • Gorilla clear packing tape is easy to use and almost unlose-able from holiday to holiday. Also, bandanas cheerfully tied with yarn can be used for soft gifts! Like hand knit socks!!! ❤

  • Hand wrapped gifts are a part of my life and I sometimes think the main point of any present.
    I have hand stamped with Kraft and white paper. I get cigar boxes and repurpose them. I have wrapped presents up Japanese style too. A good bow works wonders for a pretty plain box.
    Love Christmas.

  • My husband can guess what’s in almost any package, so I always have to disguise his gifts. One year I crammed a puffer jacket into an oatmeal box. He didn’t guess that one!

  • A bottle of champagne made wrapping packages much more enjoyable! I wrapped, my hubs was in charge of bows and tags. I usually managed to wrap his gifts without him even noticing!

  • Usually enjoy wrapping. Love fabric ribbons which I use over again each year (woe unto him who shall toss out my ribbon bow). But last year I got to the last gift (REALLY big Lego set) and just got the late night sillies and stuffed it in a (clean) flannel nightgown and tied ribbon around the bottom and top. Like a really big flannel tootsie roll.

  • So many great ideas! My husband used to work at a newspaper so we always had roll end newsprint in the house when the kids were small, and sometimes we made our own giftwrap using crayons, markers, paints and rubber stamps. Always used special paper for Santa presents of course. Use lots of gift bags now as well as paper – all recycled as much as possible as I hate the waste. I also have fabric gift bags, some made by me, that have been in circulation for years, so my adult daughter thought we should make some more a few years ago and it was fun making them together. Love all the memories this brought!

  • Wrapping paper and ribbon, fluff, sparkle doesn’t have to be expensive. Newspaper, brown paper bags, bags and cards from the Goodwill or local thrift store are super substitutions for glitzy hi-dollar paper et.al. And oh so original and no guilt for trashing the trash!

  • I don’t have any wrapping tips but I could use the Bento bag to carry my Christmas cards before I hand them out to my eager nieces and nephew.

  • Clean crisp folds make all the difference!

  • I’m the wrapper at my house, but my husband is the bow tie-er cause I can’t do it well to save my life. I love heavy, expensive gift wrap for its patterns, but I must admit that I find the cheap stuff easier to wrap with. The thinner paper makes it easier to make sharp creases and fold around corners. Hopefully a nice satin ribbon bow makes up for the janky paper.

    • Oh, and I have a rule that if we’re giving multiple gifts to a person, every present has to be wrapped in a different paper. I feel like having every one in matching paper looks like I was just hurrying to get the job finished and go on to other things.

  • Gift wrapping goals: a decent bow with no knots. Mine tend to look sloppy. I am motivated now to work on that this year!

  • I love block printing craft or white paper, adding lovely bows or ribbon. Quite often the wrapping is better than the gift.

  • DG, you and I would have a lovely time wrapping gifts together. In years past, I used my scrapbooking supplies to make lovely gift tags that included a photo of the recipient. One year, I knit/felted gift tags for my husband and son with their names duplicate stitched in. Now, I wonder where I ever found the time for that. (Thank goodness I had the foresight to quietly start scooping those tags back, as the wrapping paper headed for the trash, so I have a fair number I can still reuse year after year!) But every year, I sit down and put in my favorite cheesy Christmas movie, grab a drink, and wrap every single present.

  • I can tell you what not to do: never teach your dogs to unwrap gifts. I did it one Xmas for a video and then forever more, whenever I put a wrapped gift on the floor, they ripped the paper off ASAP. There was no going back. No gifts under the tree again for 12 years.

    • Aileen, this had us in tears. And consequently wondering, were you able to safely block a knit in those twelve years or did you, needs must, dispense w/ swatches and soaked goods, too?

  • Avert your eyes, DG, I love wrapping with newspaper. Wrapping paper feels wasteful to me, but I appreciate presenting items wrapped. I like to cut fabric for ribbons.

  • Newspaper, duck tape, black sharpie to write name. I’ve done fancy wrapping, mystery (add something inside that makes noise) could be bells, coins, ball bearings marbles, nails, etc. Tell recipient to be careful then look worried when they shake it. If large and too difficult attach end of yarn to gift unravel to where gift exchange will be and attach other end of yarn to note or card. The gift could be in any room or closet or even the trunk of a car. It’s all part of the fun. Last year gave all my gift wrap supplies to a neighbor so they could wrap their kids gifts. Ours were in grocery bags and recycled boxes. Still had fun and felt blessed.

  • I have a wrapping don’t. Do not wrap on the floor is you have 3 small dogs and a rabbit.

  • old maps, newprint, or kraft paper

  • I love reusing wrapping paper! My best friends know how much I love them when I either a) crack into a new piece of paper or b) use some of my very-favorite-don’t-give-it-away paper. I also love the challenge of finding a piece of paper that fits the gift I’m trying to wrap. It’s really one of my favorite parts of wrapping! (:

  • Pro tip: Don’t let your husband do the wrapping for you.

  • When I was young you could tell how much I liked you by the wrap and bow. I even wrapped my own Christmas presents. Mom gave them to me in brown bags (you remember them) and I sat on the floor and wrapped everything and curled ribbons into bows and decorations. Have not done it in awhile. should start again.

  • Use fabric scraps to wrap presents! Says the person who usually just grabs a gift bag.

  • I’ve gotta say, I have used gift bags, which are enormously helpful with odd-shaped items. But I share your feelings!
    My tip: Use the comics!

  • We get wrapping paper rolls from the dollar store (the more childish and/or ridiculous the better) and each person gets all the same paper for their presents. The kids love this!!

    Green painters tape is great for Christmas presents when you use it to both close the paper and make designs and patterns. It looks cool on Kraft paper.

  • I enjoy using regular wrapping paper (cheap because my 2.5 yr old is a rough kid and teaing nicely is NOT a concept she can grasp, especially when everyone else is telling her to T-E-A-R so recycling is not an option), Kraft paper, plan paper, newspaper, tissue paper – basically any kind of paper one can find and use. There’s been years for the older kids where I’d tape everything shut (so short of owning an exacto knife … ) or super fancy ribbons to years where there’s barely been any tape, much less any ribbon at all. It just depends what I have on hand, what I’d rather spend my money on (the gift or the wrapping), and how much energy I happen to have that year. I’ve been seriously thinking about moving to recyclable gift wrapping (like with a furoski (so the bento wrap is definitely up my alley! )) but, with a little one (& me being the ONLY one in my family being green), she may not fully understand the concept until she’s a bit older . Thank you, everyone who’s shared your stories and tips & tricks! It’s been a fun way to kick off the holiday season! ❄️

  • A first cousin does Christmas shopping for everyone on her list in one day, strictly keeping to her list and budget.Then comes home and wraps it all. She says if she doesn’t wrap it right away, it won’t be done.

    My tip? For Christmas gifts, use those stick on bows (reiforced with scotch tape to make sure it won’t fall off). I am the bow queen, but it takes too long to make them by hand at holiday time.

  • Over the years I have collected many colorful scarves in many sizes and shapes. I love to use those to wrap gifts in along with a nice satiny bow for the women in my family. I’ve also used mens wool scarves to wrap gifts for the men in the family using grosgrain ribbon for bows. I’ve even used old bow ties too.

  • My best tip is to shop early in the year when you come across the perfect gift for someone special. Then start looking for the right size box or gift bag to put it in. I particularly like the beautiful decorated, reusable boxes (that sometimes I can find at after Christmas sales.) These works for many different sized gifts. Keep pretty ribbon and tags on hand so you will be ready to wrap whenever you buy your gift.
    This also leaves time close to the holidays to knit, bake or enjoy other special traditions.

  • Sorry, no tips here. I am not the best wrapper. I just get it done as quickly as possible.

  • I like to have two levels of paper available – ones that can be ripped open (tissue paper/Walgreens) and nicer paper for adults. My mother and I used to save wrapping paper, and reuse them year after year.

  • I like to roll-wrap smallish things of suitable shape and tie them like Christmas crackers.

  • Fond memories of the sewing room that turned into the Christmas wrapping room for weeks when I was a kid. Curl your own ribbon? Certainly! Use pinking shears to cut out gift tags from old Xmas cards? You bet. It was a wonderful wonderland of holiday mayhem and productivity!!

  • Have the students in the mall wrapping packages to raise money wrap your gifts.

  • Kraft paper bags (horror!), hand-decorated.

  • Recycled New Yorker covers … makes me feel less guilty about letting them pile up unread.

  • We have used every scrap of the packing paper from moving boxes which I let my kids loose on with magic markers and crayons. Also newspaper from our island’s weekly offering. My favorite wrapping though is bags made from discounted Christmas fabric, closed with a safety pin. No mess and reusable year after year.
    In a pinch, I buy a decorative dish towel or vintage handkerchief to wrap up knitted socks, mittens, hats and cowls.

  • I love wrapping a pretty package in paper and ribbon but we now live out of state so I use gift bags – easier to travel with. This year I’m trying my hand at fabric bags with plans to request them back! Whether a box or a bag, each recipient receives one from me and my spouse. There might be multiple items in the present carrier, but there’s only one carrier.
    Growing up in a large family, we reused boxes. My husbands family learned very quickly that the box might say it’s a lamp or shoes, but that’s probably not what was inside! When I wrapped presents in boxes, each end location got the same paper. It made it much easier to ensure we had grabbed ALL the presents for one celebration and not forgotten one. Growing up my mom used all sorts of paper and we inevitably missed a present for someone so this was my solution. So far it’s worked!
    I worked at Hallmark one year and was forewarned by my coworkers that Valentine’s Day would be the busiest and that if the customer wanted their item wrapped, I should steer them towards the gift bags and tissue paper. I did not believe them until I saw the line at the door before we opened! I became quite adept at having the gift wrapped by the time the purchase was paid for… It’s when I learned how to make the tissue paper look pretty poking out the top of the gift bag.
    From my grandma, I learned the art of folding under raw paper edges and curling ribbon with scissors. She did have a fancy tool that split the ribbon into tiny slices while it curled it – it made the prettiest curl poof! And I had a family friend teach me to make the big poufy bows with wire edged ribbon.

    I can totally appreciate a well wrapped box and pretty bow or other decor (I’m in awe of those who attach pinecones and such!) but I do love a mix of boxes and bags. For me, the bag does need an acceptable amount of tissue paper in it though – it should look full.

  • When we were kids, my dad taught us how to make real bows – with the wide flat, shiny ribbon – they were time consuming, but beautiful. It’s hard to find that ribbon now, since the curling ribbon is more popular. But for knitted gifts, I like to wrap them in tissue paper and use yarn in the same color as the gift. No tape needed. And I love the idea of the bento bag for wrapping – I just bought my first one from MDK and have been trying to figure out how to cut and seam the fabric so I can make some more.

  • I like a pretty gift bag with lots of tissue and I like a beautifully wrapped package but I am much better at artfully crumpling tissue than at actually wrapping things.

  • Old maps, calendars, packing paper from online purchases, tied with fat ribbons.

  • I use tulle for my ribbon and bows. It comes in many colors, is inexpensive, but can look oh sooo fancy!

  • Aluminum foil.

  • I love the heavy wrapping paper. I am not the best wrapper and the cheap stuff always tears and then I have to start over. Curling ribbons are best!

  • I like using newspaper for wrapping paper too – sometimes I’ll find something with relevant pictures or articles, but most times I’ll just get out some crayons and draw Christmas trees, or candy canes, or strings of lights, or whatever other festive thing I can come up with, right over all the words. I do like gifts to be wrapped, but I dislike the waste of fancy wrapping paper.

  • I am also not a fan of gift bags but we have SO MANY! I save them every time one of the family gets a gift in a gift bag, and sometimes it is easiest to grab a bag when sending a gift out the door.

  • I use a big roll of craft paper and let the kids draw on and decorate the paper before or after wrapping.

    We we lived on the sailboat, we used colorful cloth squares to wrap gifts as reusable gift wrap.

  • For me, being a military family – it was often difficult to find Hanukkah paper, so I would iron & store it from year to year “just in case” it was scarce the following year. As a result, I ended up with an assortment of pretty wrapping paper that were reminders as to where we were stationed – each design a nostalgic one full of holiday memories.

  • I love to wrap gifts too. No gift bags under my tree. I stay away from foils and tissue paper-can’t recycle them! I try to use a different paper for each gift for great variety under the tree.

  • I have a love hate relationship with wrapping. I love a beautifully wrapped gift and taking the time to wrap said gift. But I hate wrapping more than 4 presents at a time. So anything past that 4th gift is wrapped like a 4th grader did it. So my tip is only do a few at a time.

  • My favorite wrapping tip: gift from the family to each other are wrapped and under the tree. Gifts from Santa and Mrs. Claus are not wrapped and arrive between bedtime and before everyone wakes up!!!!

  • Years ago I purchased a wrapping paper cutter. It’s a long plastic yardstick like thing with a right angle and one sharpened side. You unroll how much you want, place the roll in the angle and pull the paper along the edge to cut all the way across nice and straight.
    I’m not good at explaining it, but it makes the whole job so much easier.

  • I can’t stand the thought of spending money on wrapping paper that gets thrown out, so I buy them on sale and reuse bags, bows and boxes that were received previously. I’d like to share the easy way of making a bag bu I keep forgetting and need to look it up. 🙂

  • I am firmly on the side of wrapping!!! I always feel vaguely ashamed by gift bags under the tree as though I gave up and took the easy way out.

  • My mother made the most sumptuous beautiful bows in a variety of styles, which were then saved in a big box, to be reused each year, but that talent passed me by.
    Instead, I try to use tape as little as possible. I fold the wrapping paper as neatly as possible then use netting or tulle to hold it all in place. One good tug by the recipient & the present almost opens itself. Bonus: grandchildren love to wear the long lengths of netting or to deck out the dog or the cat with them. When the festivities are over, I gather the tulle, smooth it out & put it in a small box, to be reused each year.

  • My tip is to have strips of tape cut and hanging on edge of table ready to use.
    But I do use various bags and sometimes wrap item before putting it in bag and artfully place tissue paper over the items.
    I have used comics to wrap items. We still get color Sunday comics pages. Didn’t know some places don’t have them any more.
    Just after Thanksgiving our paper starts printing gift wrap pages sponsored by businesses.
    Here in the Akron, OH area it is a treat to get a package from Don Drumm Studios in a trademark bag and ribbons. They wrap and pack and be-ribbon your gifts in style!

  • No tip, but my goal is always to do enough damage to the wrapping that my MIL won’t be able to save every single piece. I’m all for bag and bow reuse, but being forced to flatten out the tissue paper AGAIN just takes all the fun out.

  • My birthday is a week after Christmas. (I am very familiar with the phrase: “This gift is for Christmas AND your birthday.”) One year my mother-in-law presented me with a gift on my birthday, wrapped in red/green/white Christmas wrapping paper. In all the white stripes she had painstakingly written in ballpoint pen: “birthday paper birthday paper birthday paper”

  • All the adults get their gifts in gift bags if at all possible! It’s more fun to watch the little kids rip off the paper, not the big ones!

  • One year I gave everyone a hand-knit item …. socks, mittens or hats. I put them in a brown lunch back with a little tissue paper. I rubber stamped the bag … one holiday stamp per back. Folded over the top and dded a little satin ribbon bow. Best wrapping ever!

  • Always use a box to achieve rectangular shape before wrapping.

  • I like using kraft paper, brown with jute twine or white with 6 inch tulle ribbon bows. This is my basic wrapping paper for any gift, any time of year. I also like to stamp or doodle on the paper sometimes or have the kiddos do this to involve them in the process of giving. Wrapping is my favorite part!

  • For mens gifts I use black satin ribbon and tie a small sprig of cedar. The wrapping paper can be plain brown kraft or something fancier (I love metallics). The result is a beautiful, seasonal wrapped gift with an extra masculine vibe.

  • I am an expert boxer. I worked for Crate & Barrel one holiday season back in the 1980’s. We had to take a boxing test at the end of the one night training. I passed with flying colors boxing up that magazine rack! Prior to that I was a maid at a fancy psychiatric hospital so I can really make a bed too. And then there was the waitressing job at the Boston Howard Johnson’s. I made beautiful sundaes but was otherwise a terrible waitress.

  • Repurposing paper shopping bags by painting Christmas scenes on them.

  • I normally use wrapping paper for gifts, but occasionally we have the one gift that is odd sized or just too big. I’ve made various sized cloth bags in festive colors and so far they have worked great in place of wrapping. I might be tempted to make some more so I don’t have to worry about last minute wrapping anymore.

  • Have one of those heavy tape dispensers so you don’t have to keep picking the tape up and putting it down.

  • Oh you’re a man after my own heart!! A gift isn’t finished until it’s properly and beautifully wrapped

  • When hard-pressed for wrapping paper, aluminum foil to the rescue!! It’s shiny, easy to fold, and when dressed up with left-over yarn can be quite stunning!

  • OMG you remember diagramming sentences. I use to love doing that as a kid in school. Yeah I’m a nerd. I’ll give your sentence a try. Memories flooding in. LOL

  • In my house it isn’t a wrapped holiday gift if it doesn’t have a stick-on bow! (sorry…) We make our own gift tags (using old holiday cards) that have clever hints to what is in the package.

  • I like to buy nice thick craft paper. That neutral paper is a great backdrop to a whole host of creative and colorful ribbons and other embellishments. And, it can be used for all seasons and occasions. You can create the theme with the trims.

  • Old travel maps work a treat.

  • I love purchasing or making little knitted or crocheted snow flakes, bells, mittens, socks etc. and adding them to a tied ribbon, at holiday time. There are some that have been floating back and forth amongst members of my family for decades! Little treasures that warm the heart year after year.

  • Newspaper and lots of colorful ribbons

  • Potato prints.

  • No knots! How considerate of you. Many’s the time I’ve watched gift recipients struggle to figure out how to unwrap my beautifully wrapped presents (and I have felt bad as well as slightly embarrassed).

    My mom used to wrap boxes, the lids and bottoms (think empty See’s Candy boxes), separately. The wrapping paper stays intact and the boxes can be reused for gifts multiple times. I still have a few of them that have now become keepsakes in memory of her.

  • For the youngest cousins, or any other kids I’m wrapping a gift for, I use bandanas. Sometimes seasonal prints, other times just traditional colors. Pretty much the original bento bags! And kids always find a fun use for them, which just adds to the fun of the gift (or sometimes even replaces it). I always find it funny that I worked in gift wrap at a local department store for ONE holiday season many, many, many years ago, and my mom still remarks at my gift wrapping and considers me a professional!

  • Re-using wrapping paper is a long standing family tradition. I have some wrapping paper that was saved (by my grandmother) from my mother’s wedding. I have re-used craft paper and moving paper for wrapping gifts for many, many, many years. When my daughter was young she would draw on or use a stamp to make an overall design. Now I have to figure it out myself if I want to get fancy.

  • Do your wrapping on the kitchen counter or bar! The higher surface saves your back!!!

  • I’m with you in the heavy paper with a grid on the reverse.!I kept plenty of tape and sharp scissors in the wrapping paper box under the guest bed, it’s all there when I need it.

  • No actual tip specifically about wrapping, but it’s about the actual paper. I learned when the kids, then the grand kids, to buy rolls for each person. Helped with the package sorting/opening on Christmas morning.

  • When possible, I like to use paper shopping bags as wrapping material – it puts them to good use, and I can draw or stamp on it to personalize 🙂
    My Mom loves doing fancy wrapping, my Dad did not. Once he bought me a cement lawn gargoyle, and he “wrapped” it by putting it in a garbage bag, which he stapled shut. My Mom made him put a bow on it 🙂

  • The world is full of cool things to use to wrap gifts or decorate ones wrapped in Kraft paper — I like to use the images from last year’s art calendar (Rothko is a favorite for this), or beautiful magazine images, or vintage postcards. Or wrap gifts in old maps or old blueprints. I just found some old piano rolls (or ancient computer paper? — it’s beige with interesting slots & holes) that I’ll be using this year. One year I was very ambitious and sewed together strips of handmade paper a book-binding friend gave me,and used those sheets for wrapping. It made beautifully-wrapped gifts! Basically I don’t throw much away……

  • I love wrapping! Christmas Eve, all the family is asleep and I’m busy wrapping, watching favorite Christmas movies with the tree lights on. Santa presets get their own special Santa wrap that’s hidden away so the littles never see it. And yes even the treats in the stockings get wrapped.
    If you run out of ribbon, cut strips of wrapping paper and curl with scissors. Great topper for gifts!

  • For hand made gifts, I make gift tags with care instructions. Otherwise I put gifts in a pile, smile sweetly at my husband and he wraps the gifts while yelling at the tv during football games.

  • I like to use lengths of leftover yarn instead of ribbon. Since it stretches, it much easier to tie it tightly.

  • i like using the least amount of paper – japanese style! you have to wrap the gifts at an angle….and I love humorous wrapping – making the wrapped sweater look like a giant sucking candy etc…. fun for ALL!

  • I use recycled paper. I want to get into furoshiko but I need to find some affordable ones (or get to a fabric store, I know!) because I’m going to be giving them away and unfortunately the people I gift to won’t necessarily rotate them back. So I know it’s going to be part of the gift and need to budget accordingly.

  • I often use something around the house: basket, jar, past present box; I love to use no traditional paper to wrap: brown paper that we can create/write on, cartoons, etc

  • I guess it would be Xmas paper and scotch tape.

  • When tying a knot, wrap the end twice around the other and it’ll hold itself so you can tie the other half knot.

  • I love your commitment to beautiful well-wrapped packages. My sister-in-law has always been known for the beauty of her packages. One year she created her own matching (to match the red & gold) twisted cord and tasseled bows that were exquisite! My wrapping has never reached that level of sophistication, but I do admire it.

  • Love to wrap. Have to take frequent breaks. Lose all creativity after the 10th package. However, I have a reputation to maintain. (Homemade bows, hand stamped tags, etc) Yes, it is a labor of love. Always wanted to have a job as a gift wrapper. Glad to know I didn’t miss anything.

  • Wow, great comments to read! Who knew that present wrapping would generate so many cool ideas and touching memories. Nothing new to add here, except to say that in our home we embrace all walks of wrappers and accept all wrappings in good humor. I adore wrapping. I’m definitely the type of person who even wraps the tiny bits and bobs that get stuffed into stockings. My husband, an engineer, wraps his gifts in stock pots with lids, pillowcases, an old towel, etc. His “cards” — hand-drawn cartoons with stick figures and funny comments, are family treasures. Mine are cut outs from old cards we’ve received. All presents bestowed and received with love, there’s the key.

  • So many great ideas! I use an assortment of sturdy boxes, some craft store creations and some wrapped by me in favorite paper. Some get used year after year because gone are the days of being given the box when you buy the gift! The rest of the year the boxes store the ornaments, I love to see a plle of fancy boxes under the tree!

  • I use Christmas-y quilting fabric to wrap presents, using coilless safety pins as fasteners if necessary. Fat quarters are great for many presents, and can be reused again and again (or turned into a dog bandana). If I’m feeling ambitious, I sew drawstring bags to put the presents in. That way, the wrapping is also a present.

  • Long ago I looked at a massive pile of gifts to be wrapped and my eyes lighted on a stack of beautiful Xmas cards from the previous year. It suddenly occurred to me that wrapping a gift in solid color wrapping paper and attaching the front of a beautiful card on top of the package made a very pretty – and very packable – gift.

  • I use curling ribbon, which I have in multiple colors, so I don’t need to waste effort finding the “perfect” bow.

  • I’ve used printed tissue, newspaper, wrap, and cloth ribbons that are often reused a bunch of times.

  • scraps of handwoven material. Recipient gets to be creative with the piece

  • My partner has a monster roll of Kraft paper hanging in the basement above the freezer. I love to use it because it sits over the flat chest freezer surface. A perfect set up!

  • I wrap with the paper on the diagonal, something I learned in Japan

  • My parents taught me how to wrap in the days of rolls of paper and ribbon. They were so neat with their wrapping but we kind of had a wrapping station, always in the basement. One year when I was about 7 or 8, in the era of Chatty Cathy ( just dated myself) I wandered down stairs while my dad was wrapping a rather large box. I loved to help so I asked if I could and what he was wrapping. He said it was a camping stove for my Mother. We had never camped a day but I bought it and helped him wrap this marvelous gift. On Christmas morning I ran to the present and gave it to my Mother. She said “This is not for me, look the tag says YOU”. It turned out to be a talking doll and I had helped wrap my own present

  • I buy white gift boxes of various sizes, put tissue paper inside, tie the box with ribbon or yarn, and use them year after year until they need to be recycled.

  • I wish my youngest daughter could read all the commenters who are also frugal with wrapping paper! She thinks I am crazy to reuse good paper. Yes, it is exciting to start a new roll of paper.
    I do like a nicely wrapped present but I too often end up with a slap dash wrapping job. But my husband does a great job. Curling ribbon is my friend. Despite being a good knitter I am a failure at bow making.

  • I mostly reuse wrapping paper and use as little tape as possible, so the ribbon plays an outsized role in holding the package together! A large cluster of curled ribbon on top looks great, especially if you have one of those ribbon splitter/shredder thingies.

  • Kraft paper stamped with metallic paint; homemade stamps from sponges or potatoes!

  • I have made many fabric gift bags, and a couple of them are made from mens shirts that are being discarded. Take the sleeves and collar off, choose a size and stitch it shut. So now you will have a rectangle, or square “gift bag” with a button tab opening/closure.

  • Since I never win things and my gift wrapping is a misery, I have no hints, unless you count wrapping items in newspaper and string since that’s all I hve.

  • I love curling my ribbon with scissors to. Create unusual wrapping paper using brown paper and stamp it or paint a scene making it unique and one of a kind, personalize it. You don’t have to buy rolls of wrap. Wrap it with leftover quilting material. Lots of options.

  • Tissue paper and raffia is my solution. Simple and beautiful!

  • Love to use a bag and pretty tissue to wrap. Easy wrapping and you can carry it by the handles.

  • My family are rippers at Christmas, so cheap but full coverage paper is necessary. My sister has purchased fabric bags at a church sale but also the last 2 years it has been cancelled. My other sister seals everything with tape which slows us down momentarily.

  • I purchase holiday fabric after the holidays on sale then sew many sizes of BAGS. Next year, toss the gift in & tie it w/ a pretty wire ribbon or perhpas knotted thick yarn – tada – easy & no waste.

  • My best wrapping tip is to have lots of cats around. They are very helpful when it comes to eating ribbons and tape and running away with the bows.

  • I love all of the ideas here in the comments. I am a traditional wrapping paper and tape and a bow person and my 4 adult kids like everything wrapped right down to the chapstick in the stockings (more unwrapping fun) so I start early and listen to audiobooks while I wrap.

  • My favorite wrapping was when my son and I would use rubber stamps with holiday themes on big sheets of craft paper or the plain packing paper that came in packages mailed to us. Fun, crafty time together. We also loved making pompoms with leftover yarn bits and decorating packages with them.

  • While wrapping this years gifts I find I have way too much young childrens paper than I will ever use especially now that the 2 children are teens. Think I will pass what is left on to those in family who have young children who will be amused by the cartoon characters on their Christmas gifts.

  • Years ago I salvaged a wedding isle runner. Beautiful white on white non woven paper/fabric roll, wonderful for any occasion. Still have yards snd yards.

  • When I was a young mom in my 20’s(!) , I sewed some reusable gift bags from wild and waxky cotton Christmas fabrics. They are lovingly reused every year by our family and now any kids who happen to come home for the holidays save their gifts in the hopes that a bag of the right size will be available for their use. So, a bit less trash in the landfill for the past 30 years and a fun tradition too. Who knew?!

  • I use newsprint remnants I get from a printer for Pennie’s!

  • One of the most beautifully wrapped gifts I ever got was wrapped with the paper turned so it was diamond instead of square. The angles of the edges made beautiful pattern

  • Maps! I use all kinds, road maps, topographical maps, trail maps, whatever. Although I have to say that my supply is dwindling. Have to take a hike soon!

  • Gift bags rock because they are reusable! My husband and I have one from our first Xmas together in 1991. It must make an appearance under the tree every year.

  • It’s simple. Give everyone books. Books are beautifully easy to wrap, and everyone should have more of them.

  • I love the idea of using leftover cards as name tags.

  • My favorite wrapping tip is to use a bag and some tissue paper, and always sneak it back. I just reuse the same bag for years! It’s become a joke with close friends and family.

  • I love wrapping gifts and the odder the shape, the better the challenge. I was gifted a large “ball” of sari ribbon which I’ve used (and still use) to embellish gifts. Even homemade bread, wrapped in foil is jazzed up with this ribbon!

  • My elegant co teacher often wraps in no longer needed sewing patterns. And she always uses that red and white bakers twine. Everything she gives looks very special.

  • I make an event of wrapping. I gather all the presents, paper, bows, and ribbon. Crank up the stereo with upbeat Christmas music and make one single go of it. Oh, and spiked egg nog helps!

  • My best tip is to get yourself a desktop tape dispenser and make sure you have plenty of refills on hand. You can tear off the tape with one hand as you need it. No more little pieces of tape hanging off the edge of the table.

  • I love cutting up water color efforts w pinking shears for tags! This article spurs me on against the anti-wrapping culture I am in!

  • My family & close friends switched from Stuff to Edible presents years ago. I buy festive/interesting tins when I find them & stash them for the cookies/spiced nuts/bread . . . baked for the holidays. Ribbon keeps it all together & gives us a way to go a bit crazy with colors, sizes . . .
    Books count as edibles.

  • I like to use a large roll of brown craft paper decorated with all sorts of various things specific to the person receiving the gift. Ribbon. Greenery. Stamped words. Bows Beads. Etc.

  • I put my presents in reusable shopping bags or kitchen towels. I try to find ones that I know the recipient will like. Add ribbon, bows, and gift card to make them festive.

  • When the kids were little I had a large roll of craft paper and had them draw and color on the paper. I then used this to wrap their grandparents gifts.

  • Yeah, where do those scissors keep disappearing to? Loved this article

  • I too use comics. Now my granddaughter can read them and loves it – the wrapping paper is like another gift.

  • Making gift bags out of fabric and tying with yarn

  • I don’t wrap many things these days. Still using up gift bags but love to watch videos and tips on Pintrest. I prefer the idea of “green”.

  • I laughed soo hard at the grabbing of gift bags at the drug store, that you’ve shamed-encouraged me to wrap all of my presents! Keep up the Christmas spirit! Haha!

  • My wrapping tip: keep the gift wrap in a closed box. The “year-round” is a pretty wine box from the bin at Trader Joe’s, with the flaps interwoven the way you do, and the Christmas box is a long, dedicated plastic one which almost accommodates any roll you might pick up on December 26 or 27. The reason for the closed box is an elderly cat who likes to get in among the wrappings and shred some to make herself a nest. Happy holidays, everybody.

  • My favorite is to wrap in a paper that has something to do with the recipient of one of their likes. This year I’m wrapping my sons gifts in The Office themed wrap. I do love a good curly ribbon bow as well.

  • In the spirit of sustainability, I reuse pretty tissue paper in gift bags. But first I iron it to make it look a little more like new.

  • never have ribbon on hand — so I go for that homey crafty look with kitchen twine…….

  • When I was getting on speaking terms with the sewing machine earlier this year, I made about 60 lined drawstring backpacks. These have become my all-purpose gift bags, as well as a second gift in and of themselves.

  • Besides the usual wrapping paper . I can always use raffia with any brown paper bag. From lunch bag to grocery store bag size. You can cut up the bag flat for wrapping paper or just use the bag to hold the gift!

  • At the risk of being excommunicated by DG, I am a fan of the gift bag. They are reusable and they store easily.

  • I bought a massive roll of brown craft paper a year ago. I love that it’s multipurpose and that I can decorate the paper or have my kids help. Also recyclable!