Beyond Wrapping Paper

By Kristen Castillo

September 29, 2017 4 min read

Make a statement when you give the perfect holiday gift. Sure a gift bag, wrapping paper and a bow are nice, but with a little thought and creativity, gift giving can be a present, too. Check out these ways to make the process of receiving the gift as memorable as the gift itself.

*Leave Notes

In a time of text messaging, how nice is it to actually receive a handwritten note in the mail. Now imagine receiving a note (or a series of notes!) previewing or teasing a holiday gift.

The Punkpost app, available on iOS and Android, lets you pick a card, type a message and send it in the mail within 24 hours.

"For gifting, you can send notes leading up to the holidays with clues," says Alexis Monson, Punkpost's co-founder. "Or you could have all the cards sent to you and then you hide in various places to continue the scavenger hunt."

The message is crafted by one of the company's "handwriting artists." The cards are $6, and the first card is free.

*Rock It!

Kids (and adults) can have fun teasing holiday gifts by coloring and decorating rocks. Go on a family walk, collect stones big and small, and then wash them with soap and water. Or purchase a bag of ready-to-decorate rocks from a home improvement store. Whether you collect rocks or buy them, be sure to prime them with acrylic paint, followed by colored paint and patterns. Use thin brushes or paint pens to write messages like "Naughty or Nice?" The festive stones can be keepsakes after the holiday. A gifting win-win.


Give the gift recipient clues via puzzle pieces. Make your own puzzle or buy a blank one at a hobby or craft store. You can decorate it with drawings, photos or simply words written on the puzzle. Break it into pieces and give the clues one day at a time.

The recipient needs to collect the pieces to solve the puzzle. Say the gift is movie tickets. Each piece holds a clue, such as a photo of a chocolate bar, popcorn, the Hollywood sign, or a picture of the recipient's favorite actors or films.

*Collecting Clues

Here's a fun idea for the family: Host a Christmas scavenger hunt for the kids. On her blog Stuffed Suitcase, Kimberly Tate describes how she creates a holiday scavenger hunt for her children.

She starts by wrapping the clue as a gift. The child unwraps the present and reads the first clue, such as, "Christmas games for fun for all, especially for kids so small. On the PC, they'll put in a CD, I type in my name on the QWERTY."

Then go room to room, finding clues. You can write your own clues or borrow Tate's -- she has a printable link on her website. She suggests creating as many clues as you want, provided they rhyme! Just remember the last one should lead the child to the present.

Want to customize the scavenger hunt for multiple kids? Designate a specific color or envelope pattern for each child. Then the kids can search the house for their specific clues and, ultimately, their Christmas gifts.

*Building Anticipation

Opening a present doesn't last long. But it lasts longer if you dole out the present in installments. For example, if you're giving your spouse a spa day for Christmas, give a small nail polish one day, bath salts the next, and then, on the holiday, present him or her a robe with the spa gift certificate tucked in the pocket.

*Check List

You're giving the gift, so make the recipient earn it! Give them a list of things they have to do to get the gift, such as sing a Christmas song, compliment someone in the room or share a favorite Christmas memory.

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