All Wrapped Up: Ideas for making holiday wrapping easy, organized and unique

  • Christmas presents and the packaging. (Grace Beahm/postandcourier.com)

G ift card giant Hallmark reports 98 percent of consumers wrap gifts during the holiday season. That translates to a lot of time spent wrapping plus a lot of wrapping paper that traditionally ends up in the garbage can.

There are ways to create beautifully adorned packages without excess waste and that make the gift even more appealing.

Stacey Crew, professional organizer in Charleston and author of “The Organized Mom,” suggests bypassing the gift wrap and putting the gift in a reusable basket or container – preferably something useful to the recipient and that goes with the gift.

“For example, a themed gift of items for the kitchen could include tea, cups and tea towels all put in a nice basket,” she says. “For kids, use empty paint cans that can be purchased at the home improvement store to put Matchbox cars inside or nail polish for a girly girl. That way the container cannot only be used for ‘gift wrap,’ but also storage, which parents will appreciate.”

You can also turn magazines, newspaper and old maps into gift wrap, giving the paper a second use while creating a uniquely wrapped package.

Gift bags can be reused as well and make wrapping easy – especially when you’re in a rush. Carefully fold up tissue paper from gifts you receive and reuse it as well. Purchase plain, inexpensive gift bags and let the kids decorate them with stickers or drawings, Crew says. Add a pop of color with the tissue paper and you have a one-of-a-kind present presentation.

Gift bags and baskets are also great options because they don’t require tape – which always seems to run out just when you need it.

Crew suggests decorative boxes or takeout-style boxes (available at www.container

store.com) for another tapeless option. Again, if the boxes are plain, kids can add their own decorations and grandparents or teachers will be delighted with their artwork.

It is possible to wrap gifts with wrapping paper in a traditional manner and use ribbon to instead of tape to hold it all together. It requires well-measured paper, tight creases and nimble fingers, but can be done. A search for “tapeless wrapping” on YouTube will provide countless video tutorials.

Another benefit to wrapping without tape is that is allows the recipient to open the gift without tearing the paper so it can be saved either as a keepsake or to be reused for another gift.

Use plain white or brown paper, measure it to the necessary size and then let your children paint a picture, trace their hands or write the recipient’s name. Use ribbon instead of tape so the paper can be saved and even framed as a memento.

“Personally, I love brown paper wrapping. You can buy a huge roll, have kids draw on it, use ink, stamps, stencils and personal creativity. Add ribbons and bows. Make it your own,” Crew says. “When I was a kid, we had a family member who wrapped everything in newspaper, but before he did, he spray-painted green and red very lightly on the newsprint. We always knew which gifts were from him.”

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