Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Keep it simple.......sometimes

created by Karen Bartolomei ~ Grapevine Invitation NYC

I have a full confession to make. I am surprisingly low-key when it comes to holiday gift wrapping. It is only the rest of the year that I go crazy with gift wrapped detail. I am sure that this is such a preposterous statement, that you have a hard time believing me, right? Shouldn't this be the time of year when I personally go all out? Wouldn't my bows be bigger than usual, more opulent, shouldn't they just be drop-dead gorgeous? Not really and I will tell you why even before you ask me, because I have thought about this a great deal. I don't even buy holiday gift wrap, I use what I have and just re-work it with seasonal embellishments (which you shall see). Before I start explaining myself, all these lovely gifts were found on Country Living.........yes, it appears I completely missed their Gift Wrap section when I did yesterdays post. They asked paper experts to come up with novel holiday wrapping ideas and I impressed enough that I thought they were worth sharing. This particular favorite of mine was created using old "Jingle Bells" sheet music that was enlarged on a heavier weight copy paper, tied with beautiful gold ribbon and real jingle bells of course........simple but beautifully done.

created by Wrapagai author Jenn Playford - Victoria, BC

So now back to the gift wrap question. Why of all occasions would I think it best to keep it somewhat more understated? Two reasons actually, the first being it's a reciprocal occasion. This is the one time of year when I am giving a gift and then receiving one and to over-indulge my wrapping just doesn't feel right in many cases. I am much more comfortable when I am doing the giving, when I can indulge any gift-wrapping talent I have, all in the name of spoiling the recipient. I am all for that. Second reason, I think the holiday season upon us is fraught with stress for most people. It is the time of year when we are likely buying for multiple people, wrapping 10-20 gifts with any sort of detail really becomes just one more task for most people to say nothing of the time and cost. I am not suggesting that you go buy tacky store bows by bulk or anything (though most sensible for infant and kids gifts only) but to relax your expectations if time or budget demands it. The gift shown above is creative and easy ........take a closer look. Inspired by the Japanese furoshiki (fabric wrapping cloths) the author of Wrapagami used a thrift store shirt and brooch to wrap this shirt box in remarkable eco-style. You could maybe add a sprig of holly. Just one, ok maybe two.

created by MinLee Cho - Paper & Cup NYC
While you are still reeling from this revelation of mine, I will qualify this statement and say I still do pay particular attention to gift-wrapping with a few friends who share the same creative propensity. The exchange of gifts and wrapping techniques only adds to the holiday fun. But I am not going to suggest that every holiday gift should be gift-wrapped to the hilt and in this economy it is a time to be sensitive to the reciprocal budgets and efforts of other people. It is a time of giving, not competing in any way, shape, or form and that includes gift wrapping. There are clever ways to add style to holiday gift giving and wrapping and have some fun. Whimsical clip art images and personalized speech bubbes (no gift card needed) were glued to the affordable tissue paper wrap (use 3-4 stacked sheets to obscure bax) though it would just as clever if you lets the kids draw or write a message on the tissue. You can't see it well here, but a top cello layer gives it some extra gloss and polish and protects the artwork. We will come back to this idea in the future, it's a good one with lots of creative possibilities.

created by Joy D. Cho ~ graphic designer San Diego
Plain Kraft paper is ribbon layered with colourful masking tape ( I have a few of my own Kraft paper examples coming up) makes for a very festive package, especially when you fray the ends of striped drinking straws, and tie them together as a candy cane ornament topper. Kids could have fun with this idea. So this is what I think, when gift wrapping at this time of year always think of the other person. I am no way letting you off your wrapping effort, every gift conveys a thought and feeling and it does begin with it's packaging. If your gift wrapping effort will make the other person feel awkward or inept in the exchange then scale it back, keep it simple. If it is a family member, friend or relative that delights in your presentation efforts, , then go for it with all you got. You know exactly what I mean. Though if you ask me this any other time of year, I will totally deny ever have said any of this. That's a given.

All photos ~ Country Living


  1. Bonjour Sandi!
    I agree 100%, the holidays are filled with too much stress and it is so kind of you to think of the other person. The gingham shirt present is great, love the pin.

  2. Please, please come over to Paris to do my wrapping for me! If you don't, I'll have to give all my gifts wrapped in Ikea paper and bulk-bought bows!

    A seasonally overwhelmed
    La Mom
    An American Mom in Paris

  3. Dear One~
    I need your constant nudge about now to keep going on wrapping my gifts. Sometimes, I wish I were just normal and didn't make myself nutz to make everything beautiful! BUT I know it is all worth it to those who count.
    Great ideas as always. I am glad your feeling better...finaly because I know wrapping is hard work~
    Have a good good week little elf!

  4. I agree with keeping the wrapping stress-free. I actually find this is the time I can relax and breathe a little easier. I usually take a night or two to wrap my gifts once I have them all. I put some music on, close myself in our master bedroom with everything I need and just wrap at my leisure.

  5. I loved this post Sande. You had me at sheet music & bells. I love being creative with wrapping & think outside the box. We've always gotten a kick out of photo copying pics of everyone to use as gift tags. The kids get a good laugh (as I pick out the goofiest of them)& it makes their gift just a wee bit more special. If I were you, I'd take up La Mom in Paris' offer & hop on the next plane to Paris. On her franc of course. Thanks for the fun as always me dear x

  6. The one at the top is my favorite! I absolutely love it - very elegant, simple but also glamorous! :)

  7. You are so right, Sande and, I love the pictures of examples that you have shown us. I have been wrapping with fabric for a long time now but nowhere near as good as the gingham shirt wrapping. It looks brilliant and I love the jingle bell music and the little bells. Great ideas, giving us much inspiration. Thanks, Sande. XXXX

  8. I agree Sande, things do get hectic at this time of year. You are so clever to take that into consideration.

    I just love the jingle bell wrap, I can do that.

    So hope things are going better...
    ps I know all you gals are not happy about lack of menfolk, but music was there...I hope, The Verve it's a great piece!.

  9. These ideas are totally workable. Thanks for letting me off the hook for the Christmas season. I have a drawer full of brooches and love the idea of making that part of the wrapping.

  10. Sande ~ I totally agree with your theory. It is so hectic this time of the year anyway and I think we set such high standards for ourselves that it makes it even more stressful. I love the ideas, and good thoughts, you have shared. The first photo is fabulous, yet simple. I am glad that you have pointed out that we do not have to go over the top to have our packages presentable.
    xo ~ Dana

  11. This is so sweet - I adore the fact that you like to overindulge when you're the one doing the giving instead of reciprocal gifts! And I have to add that the first gift is wrapped so beautifully!

  12. Sande ~~ I LOVE the music notes :-)))
    You have got me in the spirit now.

    xo Noel

  13. inspirational gift wrapping- love your blog...


  14. Sande, I think if ever I were to received a gift wrapped by you I would just consider that my gift and never, ever open it.

    It's that so French ethic of taking just the tiniest bit more effort to make something beautiful because truly it does make all the difference.

    I have a little "off-the-record" request for you. Would you be so kind as to e-mail me at tishjett@yahoo.com (I promise you it's all on the up and up, it's something about Christmas)

    Merci par avance,

  15. thank you for your lovely comment! I added a new workpace Wednesday post today.


  16. Sande,

    I must say thank you for taking the pressure off! I was just in the diningroom attempting to make my sister-in-law's gift wrap extra special (She's the one who inspired me last Christmas to be a little more creative this year) and as I was whistpering expletives trying to control this slippery wired ribbon (yes, I know wired ribbon is chintzy...but I don't have the right color satin ribbon)I was thinking "This is only gift number 2 to wrap...How does Sande have the patience for this "crap"? I had to walk away...And, no, gift wrapping is not crap, it's wonderful. I just need to keep it simple as you stated. I will be posting my wrapping endeavors soon and hope that you will be merciful with me.

  17. THank you for this post, I love the Jingle Bells wrap. Do you have any suggestions for including kids in helping eg. this year they handprinted paper for me. I do like someone else's suggestion of photocopying faces for tags. I love the brooch idea as I like to have something in the wrapping/bow that can be kept (ornament etc) any suggestions?

  18. Thank yo for introducing these cool wrapping ideas! I especially like the musical notes package.

    I have a huge problem with gift wrapping. I enjoy lovely packages and want to make the effort of wrapping something up in an interesting way. However, I mostly feel like no one really appreaciates it! I know that wrapping is of course not the point of gift giving, but I don't know. The unique embellishments and the gorgeous wrapping paper mostly gets thrown away..

    I'm the kind of person who always saves everything I can think could be used for gift wrapping. But somehow I feel like nobody cares! Maybe I hang out with the wrong crowd.

  19. OH! Lucky me!! I just found your blog! I love to wrap gifts and think that those gift bags are from the devil...........altho in a crunch they can be made elegant.


Your comments are such a lovely addition to my day. Thank you.


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