I admit it. I'm a sucker for packaging. I toss items into my shopping cart at random when I see a well designed label or uniquely packaged item sitting amongst others on the grocery store shelf. I have a whole file of magazine tears displaying products with sleek, modern logos, throw back vintage fonts and unexpected containers. All this inspiration eventually surfaces in the tables I set, the parties I plan and the gifts I wrap up.
Birthdays offer a unique opportunity to go all out with special details- sewn elements, expensive papers and ribbons. But when you have mountains of Holiday gifts to wrap for family and friends, strategy is critical. Time and money spent on detailed wrapping can detract from time and money otherwise spent with family and friends and the purchased gift itself.
That's not to say I don't take my gift wrap to another level at this time of year. I think the packaging is a big part of the gift itself. Have you not squealed in anticipation when presented with a pretty package? Even if you didn't spend a fortune on the gift, thoughtful details go a long way in communicating to the recipient that you invested time on them, that you feel they are special.
I personally have a lot of folks I want to make feel special. So a small handful of wrapping strategies have served me well at Holiday time.
The run on wrapping paper begins in late November. Retailers are putting out the paper by October. Take it as an opportunity to get first pick and avoid rummaging through the mob's leftovers. It's not going to go on sale until the Holidays have passed- forget about it. Besides, you can get this expense out of the way early enough so that it doesn't feel like a big hit to the wallet right before gift giving time.
Is it not part of your home's holiday decorations as well? I'm not suggesting you match your ribbon to your couch, but complimentary papers present a polished, buttoned down look on your mantle or under your tree.
Estimate how much you'll need- and be a little liberal. You will run out if you picked up that one extra bulky gift you hadn't planned for at the local Club store. Pick up un-pattered paper so that any that leftovers can be used later in the year.
Most times, I'm not feeling it- the nostalgic patterns, the velvet embossing, the plethora of snowy paperscapes. My strategy typically involves either a single color or multiple hues of the same color with a similar assortment of ribbons. A snapshot of navy crocodile textured paper tied off with a cerulean blue satin ribbon in the December 2005 issue of Domino sort of set me on fire- and I have never looked back. I find it easier to mix and match and with a little embellishment, make each gift look somewhat unique.
Permanent gift wrapping stations are great, but you don't have to be a master of organization to make things easy on yourself. I usually go for two containers- perhaps a tall, cylinder glass vase to house my papers and a box or basket to contain my scissors, tape, tags and pen. I position them somewhere in the house where they'll be out and available for the duration of my wrapping. It helps me keep my head instead of tearing through the house looking for that lost roll of tape.
By this time, my paper has already been purchased and is at the ready for some serious gift wrapping fun. The look I went for this year- well you'll have to wait until every last gift is opened for me to share. But I had a lot of fun browsing through inspirational images like these while I was deciding.