Pretty Packages

By Kristen Castillo

November 15, 2016 6 min read

You've got the perfect Christmas gift; now all you need is the right wrap. Sure, you could put it in a gift bag, add some tissue and be done. But why not do a little more to make your holiday presents stand out?

Simple yet joyful gift wrapping is perfect for the holiday season, says Jasmine Chung, who works with Paper Mart, an online packaging supply company. She says, "Minimalism is key, and these wraps really take the cake while also boasting a festive flare."

From simple touches to creative designs, sprucing up your gift gifting is a jolly experience. Plus, you can personalize each package, making sure it's a merry match for the recipient.

*Hitting the Right Note

Because Christmas is a musical time of year, consider using vintage sheet music as wrapping paper.

"I stock up on vintage sheet music books from thrift stores and garage sales and use it to wrap smaller gifts," says craft blogger Jeanine Boiko of Okio B Designs. "I finish up by tying on some twine and adding a homemade gift tag."

*Hot Off the Press

Newspaper is another simple yet stylish alternative to traditional wrapping paper. Keep the look streamlined by just using black and white pages. Avoid colorful newspaper sections, unless the recipient loves jokes. In that case, use the Sunday comics. Finish the newsprint package with a bow or ribbons and, of course, a gift tag.

You can even buy holiday-themed newsprint wrapping paper that's good for the environment.

Tired of "wrapping paper guilt" because traditional gift wrap isn't recyclable, Sara Smith founded Wrappily in 2013. The company uses 100 percent recyclable and compostable newsprint with soy-based inks to make stylish, reversible wrapping paper.

"Newsprint can be recycled up to seven times," says Smith, whose customers "love the double win of great patterns and sustainability."

*Get Artsy

Remember how much fun it was to draw with chalk as a kid? Now you can do the same thing on your holiday presents. Boiko says you can buy a roll of chalk paper online.

"No gift tag needed," she says. "Just write the recipient's name in chalk -- or use a chalk pen -- right on the package."

Your inner-kid can have even more fun prepping presents.

"Adult coloring books that have been colored in make a great wrapping paper," says etiquette expert, author and blogger Lisa Grotts, noting the coloring pages are extra special "if your kids did the artwork."

*Map It

Here's another colorful and personalized paper idea. Grotts recommends wrapping presents in maps, saying it's "very fun to highlight a neighborhood for a city where you are giving the gift or are from."

As an extra, considering adding a souvenir key chain with a gift tag.

*Sacks of Gifts

Glassine sacks are an easy, yet impressive way to present small gifts, especially homemade craft items or fresh baked treats.

"I dress mine up with holiday stickers," says Boiko, who buys the air, water and grease-resistant bags online.

"If you punch holes at the top of the bag, make sure the top piece is folded down so the hole puncher goes through top and bottom," she says. "You can string through some tea-stained seam binding and tie a sweet bow."

*Get Krafty

Use smooth brown wrapping paper known as kraft paper for a low-maintenance wrap.

"All you need to make it Christmas-esque, is to pop on some rustic twine and add a vibrant green herb branch to it," says Chung. Add "lace and glitter for a more glitz and glam look."

*Picture Perfect

Customize your holiday paper with this tip from Grotts: "Photocopy and blow up a photo of the person you are giving the gift to and use that as wrapping paper."

This creative wrap idea is simple and affordable. Local copy shops can print your personalized paper for pennies.

*Seasonal Swatches

One of Grotts' favorite ways to personalize her presents starts with a trip to the fabric store.

"You can get remnants that are so very inexpensive," she says of substituting the colorful fabrics for paper. Finish the look with a solid red or green grosgrain ribbon.

Don't have a lot of time for wrapping presents? Consider fabric wrapping paper with a four-way stretch. Wrapeez, an all-in-one reusable gift wrap available in a variety of sizes and designs, comes with a bow and best of all, doesn't require scissors or tape. While the gift looks traditionally wrapped, it's actually a fabric design stretched over the present. Wrapping is finished in seconds.

*Tag Time

Creating your own gift tags is easy, too. Boiko uses PicMonkey to turn color photos into black and white images. Another idea? Crafting DIY tags featuring vintage images. She suggests finding copyright-free holiday images on The Graphics Fairy blog.

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