Tis the season to go shopping, fa la la la . . . well, you know how it goes. Now that you're gearing up to cross off a few names on your holiday shopping list, might I suggest going 100 percent geek and covering your gifts in some nerd-friendly wrapping paper? I can't guarantee that the recipient will appreciate the nod to robots and aliens, but hey — it's the thought that counts, right?
Interior stylist Selina Lake, author of Bazaar Style, never ceases to impress with her design skills. So it's no surprise that her Christmas presents look like works of art. For a December feature in BBC Homes & Antiques, she wrapped these gifts in rich, jewel-toned paper, and finished them off by tying ornaments to ribbon to make them extra special. It's a simple trick that's easy and affordable (drugstore ornaments will do), but it really makes an impact. I also love that despite an alternative palette, the boxes couldn't look more festive.
Photo by Debi Treloar
My pal Eddie Ross never ceases to impress me with his creative styling skills. Earlier this week he was making ornaments out of thrifted men's plaid shirts for Kathie Lee's house which took preppy chic to the next level, and now he's moved on to Christmas wrapping paper.
His latest project is spray-painted lace wrapping paper, made from simple and affordable white wrapping paper (or kraft paper), spray paint, and sheets of inexpensive lace fabric. Check out this video of Eddie giving the full DIY instructions to a crowd at the Virginia Historical Society, and read his post for more tips on the project. Still stumped on what gifts to put inside those pretty boxes? Check out Eddie's go-to holiday gift ideas.
Short on confetti for your New Year's Eve party? Don't toss that holiday wrapping paper! Cut each sheet into a few small squares and send them through a paper shredder, and then send the shredded pieces through once more if necessary. Not only will you have festive confetti, but you can re-purpose your wrapping paper! Don't have a paper shredder? Try these shredding scissors. And of course, once the party's over, don't forget to vacuum thoroughly!
Whether we're talking about Christmas or birthday parties, tags and cards inevitably fall off gifts. To avoid this in the past, I've selected one paper pattern and bought roll upon roll of it. When our family arrived at festivities with bags of goodies in hand, it was easy for everyone to realize that we were responsible for the striped packages.
We usually choose a wrapping paper that is appropriate for all occasions, so we can continue to use our signature wrap for the rest of the year.
The stockings may have been hung by the chimney with care, and all of your carefully chosen presents may have been perfectly wrapped, but when gift-opening time starts, you're sure to be left with a mound of paper. But don't throw it away! Here are some ways to make sure that the holiday paper doesn't go to waste this morning.
- Ask a family member to gather all of the reusable paper, bows, ribbons, and boxes while the presents are being unwrapped. Stack these items in a neat pile, and then save them in a sturdy box, so they can be used again next year.
- Save any packaging materials, such as packaging peanuts or foam, for mailing future packages. Alternately, you can take them to a packaging store.
- Save paper for future projects, such as paper-making with children. You can also stock children's craft boxes with paper. You can iron the paper at a very low heat to get the wrinkles out.
- Recycle any gift wrap that's too damaged to be reused.
- Make sure to use recycled-content wrapping paper next holiday season!
Did you run out of wrapping paper? Maybe you're looking for a less environmentally taxing way to give this holiday season? Here's an idea: Wrap a gift with another gift. I love the graphic pattern of this typographical tea towel ($18), which would definitely be a showstopper under the tree. Include another kitchen-related gift, such as a teapot or some green cleaners, and you're set. For nine other ideas, check out the slideshow.
As much as I love making my own wrapping paper, I can't resist manufactured wrapping paper with a beautiful design. Such is the case with the Snow & Graham Winter Tweets Paper ($7 for two sheets). Featuring small, vibrant red birds perched on brown and green branches, the paper is festive and seasonal. But its clean lines and unfussy shapes give it a hip, mid-century modern vibe — an infinitely better choice than kitschy Santa Claus and reindeer designs. Of course, your Walgreens-variety wrapping paper will come at much more manageable price, but the look of these sweet birds under your tree is oh-so-worth it, and hard to resist. Would you splurge on this gift wrap?
Newspapers normally end up stacked in the recycle bin so send your child on a lil mission to recover the black and white printed sheets and help wrap their holiday gifts. Simply pull a page, cut it to size and cover the present. Once that is finished, using their steady lil hand, some eco-friendly paint in the color of their choice (I like red for the contrast) and their own inspiration, have them "tie" a bow around the package. If they want more colorful paper choose the comics section. To add more pizzazz, use a glitter glue pen to create the ribbon.
If you've got a preschooler excited about printing or a child in elementary perfecting their cursive, use their new skills to create the colorful homemade wrapping paper for the holidays. Simply take a piece of newsprint or butcher paper and write across it using a marker. Give your child a lil creative license to come up with a family slogan like, "Warmest Wishes From the Wilsons" and "Seasons Greetings Love The Smiths" or snag the favorite line of a seasonal song — "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" — or holiday movie. It's a wonderful and ecomomical way to teach kids that practice makes perfect!