The holidays are hectic, and gift-wrapping may seem like a chore. Sure, you could cover the gifts in store-bought paper or slip them into gift bags, but think again. This is a great opportunity to get creative in wrapping your gifts.
"Creatively wrapping a holiday gift shows the recipient that you took time to prepare their gift, that this wasn't a last-minute gift," says Alyson Dias, consumer experience director for iLoveToCreate.
"With life so often running at warp-speed, it's nice to remind family and friends that you took time to carefully craft something just for them. It is often the wrapping that is more appreciated than the gift itself. If the gift inside is also hand-crafted, that just makes it even more special. Happiness is handmade."
Creative wrapping usually takes a little (or a lot) more time than traditional wrapping, but it's not always very expensive. Plus, you can involve the kids because many wrapping projects are family-friendly.
--Kid creations. For Malia Britton, an environmentally conscious mother of two young children, holiday gift wrap is as simple as recycling her children's artwork.
"That way, the recipient gets unique, one-of-a-kind gift wrap, my kids get to share their art, and I get to offload the ever-increasing stack of paintings. It's an all-around win!" says Britton, noting her solution is both green and a cost saver.
Gift recipients love the artwork-as-gift-wrap, too.
"By using my kids art on the outside of their gift, they get a little glimpse into my kids' creativity and can elect to save it for their walls or keepsake folder if they so choose," says Britton.
--Sweet inspiration. Add some holiday flair to your gift giving by adding some sweets to the top of the package. Tie different candies to the gifts' bows and ribbons. Candy choices include candy canes, lollipops, Pez dispensers or mesh bags filled with small chocolates or gummy bears.
--Cookie-cutter creations. While you don't want "cookie cutter" holiday wrap, it's fun and creative to make gift tags by tracing cookie cutter designs onto card stock or plain gift wrap. Consider using cookie cutter designs like stars, trees, snowmen and angels. Then cut, glue, layer and decorate the cutouts any way you want before affixing them to the present.
--Season's greetings. Got a stack of last year's used or unused Christmas cards? Give those festive designs a new purpose by trimming the wording, images or characters from the cards and turning them into gift tags. For example, cut out a card's sparkly tree and glue the cutout to the wrap. From the texture of the cardstock to the color of the images, this form of upcycling can really dress up a gift.
--Add some shine. Tie a Christmas ornament to the top of the gift or tuck one onto the handles of a gift bag. The ornaments can be standard fare or personalized. Either way, they'll look great on the gift and can be reused on the tree, year after year.
--Get scrappy. Use Christmas scrapbook paper and stickers to create your own gift labels or to decorate wrapping paper and gift bags. Since scrapbook paper is generally made of a thicker cardstock, it holds up well when used alone, or glued or taped to wrapping paper.
--Pick a theme. Choose one color, texture or pattern as a gift-wrap look with maximum impact. For example, wrap gifts in one color like festive red; focus on the feel of your wrap using smooth paper and satin ribbons; or choose a pattern such as snowmen or reindeer to unify your gifts.
--Get inspired online. Search craft websites for ideas on ways to create memorable holiday wrap. For example, you can make iLoveToCreate's "Glitter Gift Boxes" using gift boxes, glitter, foil, glue and a few other supplies.
Dana Byerwalter, editor of All Free Christmas Crafts, shares her holiday wrap ideas, including finger-painted gift wrap, which is easy for kids to create using their thumbprints as lights, and making gift boxes out of Christmas card boxes you already have at home.
--Eco-friendly. "Since I don't get to wrap gifts often, I like to be creative and eco-friendly by using either chic, reusable tote bags, colorful scarves or old, patterned shirts," says DIY fashion blogger Tanya Thamkruphat.
Use your own fabrics, or buy them from online retailers such as Wonderful Gift Wrap and http://www.bobowrap.com, which sell fabric wraps to easily and stylishly cover a gift.