Wrapper's Delight
December 10, 2014 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Inspired by this thread, I'd like to go all out wrapping Christmas gifts for my wife this year. What ideas, concepts, methods, etc. have you used in the past, or seen online that are sure to impress?

I'm looking for something stylish and elegant, while still including traditionally Christmassy elements like red/green colorways, standard iconography, paper & bow format. It doesn't have to have all of those things, but as she likes the traditional depiction of the holiday, I'm not looking for pink and blue cherry blossom motif Japanese wrapping cloths, if you know what I mean. I'm willing to spend a few bucks on this, but more on the order of $10-20, rather than $50-60.
posted by Rock Steady to Grab Bag (24 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Pictures of you with the person receiving the gift/ a nice picture of the person receiving the gift. Print it on black and white paper and use the paper as the wrapping OR wrap in a solid color and attach black and white photo to the gift. Red wrapping, black and white photo (not glossy so it doesn't sound out, best if its printed on paper but in good quality. Go to staples.), green bow.

Have seen others do this and I personally was very impressed.
posted by kmr at 11:24 AM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

This may work better with the silver-and-gold color scheme rather than the red-and-green one, but my aunt used to collect all sorts of natural things, like vines, milkweed pods, pine cones, etc. and then she would give them a light dusting of spray paint and use them as decorative elements when she wrapped presents. So you'd get the standard paper-and-bow thing, but there would be a silver-frosted milkweed pod on a branch tucked into the bow as well, or a couple of gold pine cones dangling from the bow or something.

(If you do that, you can also totally get away with using plain old tinfoil in place of the paper, the way she did one year - which actually looked really cool.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:27 AM on December 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Wrap the gift in a neutral plain paper, then cut out a paper snowflake in a colorful paper, lay it on top of the gift, and tie a ribbon around the whole thing. Like so or so.
posted by Liesl at 11:29 AM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is what Pinterest was made for!

Looks like brown craft paper is very in. I like the idea of brown paper with red, green, or gold splatter paint.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:34 AM on December 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'd hit a local high end department store and buy the heaviest gauge wrapping paper you can, if you are going to use a printed paper.

The thickest paper will produce the least crinkles and neatest creases.

When I worked as a giftwrappette, we measured the boxes long and short with a bit of ribbon (cheaper than measure tape) and ripped off the length we needed from the wrap carousel. One can duplicate this using a rolling cutter and a meterstick (on a protected surface).

Wrap the gift(s) the long way first, folding over the long raw edges to appear flat and even after centering the box in the paper. Tape folded edges shut. Box fold the ends, again folding and securing the edges with tape.

Go with fancy ribbons from the store, though a premade bow is easier with matching ribbon. If you use a premade bow, staple the ribbon in place, then stick the bow on.

Otherwise, use a wired ribbon to tie the bow, or a heavy cloth-like ribbon. Takes a bit of practice to find the right balance of length and poof. Finish the ends of hand-tied bows by folding in half and making a diagonal cut to unfold into a chevron shape.

Alternatives: use a heavy kraft paper, decorated with rolling seasonal stampings and tied with decorative matching ribbon.
posted by tilde at 11:34 AM on December 10, 2014

Best answer: Showbiz_liz beat me to it, but with a different set of search terms.

This may be beyond basic, but just quick shout out for using actual fabric ribbon instead of the plastic stuff you often see. Just that little difference makes a big step up, impression wise.
posted by librarianamy at 11:36 AM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Simple method to dress up a wrapping: buy two papers that coordinate and wrap the present half with one, half with the other, sort of like the second photo here. I usually just fold the edge of the paper on top back a couple of times before wrapping so that you get a white band at the transition instead of covering it up with a ribbon, but the ribbon idea works.
posted by telophase at 11:38 AM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, hey, finally a use for all those old Playboys I found at a garage sale
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:41 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Parker and Otis in Durham sells really cute wrapping paper near the front of the store, close to the wine. Check it out next time you're in town.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:43 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

My husband keeps a can of sparkly spray in the garage and sometimes sprays it on wrapped packages. So pretty. I'm also a fan of tucking gold or silver items like artificial acorns (craft and fabric stores have such things cheap) and wiring them into bows. Fabric stores are a great source for quality ribbon and other sparkly add one too. Lastly, pretty paper and quality ribbon is a huge bargain in post holiday sales -- stock up then.
posted by bearwife at 11:45 AM on December 10, 2014

Response by poster: This is all great, keep 'em coming. I'm not totally committed to red and green, silver and gold are probably traditional enough to work -- our Christmas tree decorations are mostly silver, for example.

I'm loving the black and white photo idea, as well as the spray painted decorative items. And I can't believe I didn't think of Pinterest for this, that is exactly what I needed.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:48 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I am one of those crazy people who is super into gift wrapping. Here's my Pinterest board with ideas.
posted by quaking fajita at 12:02 PM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Custom wrapping paper
Usable wrapping (tea towels, table runners, etc - what's better than gifts? gifts wrapped in more gifts!)
Learn various bow-tying techniques
Origami gift boxes

Also, think about the unwrapping experience as well. Maybe make a gift at the end of a mini scavenger hunt or, after the main unwrapping is done, put a wrapped gift in the place where it would typically be found (put a kitchen item in a drawer in the kitchen, put a wrapped book on the bookshelf), then wait for it to be discovered by the giftee.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:12 PM on December 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

My sister has a thing for Store Wrapped gifts. She once bought something for herself and had it store wrapped. She was 7.

I think a lot of it is the fancy papers and the gee-gaws that are attached to the bows.

To make your packages look luxe, use high end papers. World Market and Papyrus have pretty papers.

Decide on a couple of different colors. Red/gold, silver/blue, green/silver, black/silver. Then get papers in those colors that feel the same. Just so that all of your gifts don't look exactly the same.

Then use beautiful organza or grosgrain ribbons. Quality really matters.

Use pretty ornaments to complete the look.

This is the method for actual wrapping. It's a neat trick and the gifts look SO beautiful if you pay attention to this detail.

So, beautiful, thick papers, double-sided tape, luxe ribbons and Christmas ornaments.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:15 PM on December 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Ruthless Bunny: "Then use beautiful organza or grosgrain ribbons."

I think I tried to get fancy ribbons one year, but I couldn't find anything decent. I think I went to our local bog box craft store. Is there somewhere else I should be looking, or some other part of the store they keep the good stuff?
posted by Rock Steady at 12:29 PM on December 10, 2014

Best answer: Try a fabric store rather than a general crafts store. JoAnne Fabrics has an entire massive aisle for just fabric ribbons.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:32 PM on December 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Where to shop: The best place I know of for wrapping paper, bows, etc. is Raleigh's location of The Container Store. They have the highest quality paper and decorations. It's near the back left of the store (as you face in from the front).

You can get some lovely paper, and if you want, some sisal or other interesting/textured cord to wrap it in, or more traditional ribbons & bows - but better than what you'd find in even a Hallmark store.

If you want to really put some thought into it, maybe there are some particular storage boxes you need, and you can wrap some stuff inside those.

If you've never visited, you should probably go. It's much better than the other organizer-type stores that have been in this area.

The other places I know to shop in our area are Cameron's in Carrboro (interesting, more offbeat/whimsical/humorous wrappings + funny/useless gifts), Southern Season in Chapel Hill (they recently dropped the 'A', so they're not "A Southern Season" anymore), and JoAnn Fabrics. You can also sometimes find cool stuff at World Market (near Southpoint) if that area interests you at all.
posted by amtho at 12:51 PM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Maybe this isn't fancy, but it always goes down well. Get a few fancy looking wrapped chocolates (or even Hershey's kisses), glue gun a little ribbon to them, and tie them in a bundle dangling from the bow on the gift.
posted by lollusc at 1:07 PM on December 10, 2014

If you are at Michael's, they have all their fabric/nice ribbon by the Bridal stuff (at least in mine, they do). Joann's has the really nice fabric ribbon near the sewing notions (zippers, thread, etc).
posted by sarajane at 1:42 PM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I love wrapping things. The quality of the paper is really instrumental. I get TONS of compliments on the wrapping paper made out of stones (here, it looks like it's available at the Container Store too). It's just super, super thick and professional looking and if you happen to mis-tape, it's really easy to pull off without ripping the paper. Cheap paper wrinkles easily, rips easily, and has a less polished look. Target has some nicer wrapping papers, but they will be $5 for a tiny roll instead of $5 for a HUGE roll. It's worth getting the expensive, tiny roll.

For wrapping anything but the smallest gifts, you need a huge empty table to spread out on. It's hard to get nice crisp lines and corners in a cramped space. Lots of wrapping papers these days have a grid printed on the back, which is a huge help for cutting straight lines. And put EVERYTHING in a box. You can't have a beautifully wrapped beach ball or package of socks, right?

To finish the packages, real ribbon is nice (I got some I like at Target this year, any craft store will a selection as well) and I would suggest you not be afraid to use a glue gun to further adorn your packages with pine cones, greenery, wrapped candy or other toppers. Also, if you are debating between more ribbon and less ribbon the answer is definitely more ribbon. Christmas ornaments can make cute package embellishment too. Just string them on the bow or discretely tape the hanging string under the ribbon.

Give some thought to the To: From: labels -- either do great ones (Martha Stewart has a cute line of all-purpose office labels) or just skip them (if it's just you two and you don't have to keep a lot of presents for different people straight). But you don't want to throw a generic Christmas sticker/ballpoint pen TO HONEY on your perfect package.

Good luck! I hope you have a ton of fun with this.
posted by kate blank at 3:03 PM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Weirdly there are TONS of lovely ribbons at Wal-Mart in the knitting, embroidery, sewing and craft section.

I got a roll of grosgrain ribbon at Target in there Christmas section.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:13 PM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

The nicest traditional wrapping paper I've ever used was from Whimsy Press.
posted by Sibrax at 4:52 PM on December 10, 2014

Best answer: I have gotten a lot of compliments when I've used heavy paper with a cream background and a gold foil design. With a gold organdy ribbon, it looks elegant and it's really easy.

At home, I do a lot of gifts in this color scheme and mix in some boxes wrapped in plain gold paper. They look beautiful under the tree on top of a red tree skirt.
posted by islandeady at 3:57 PM on December 11, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all the help! I went to Jo-Anne and got some high-quality red and gold ribbon, used a very nice red Kraft paper, some adhesive chalkboard labels and black and white photos as gift tags. They were a huge success, and she actually took pictures of the wrapped gifts and is showing the pictures to everyone at our various Christmas parties. Thanks again everyone!
posted by Rock Steady at 4:50 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older Reasons that crazy is problematic.   |   Is This A Phone Scam? My Health Insurance Company... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.