My kids have always enjoyed the outside package—that is, the gift wrapping—almost as much as the gift itself. So, through the years, I’ve had to come up with ways to be creative in the presentation of the gift. Here are a few of our favorites:
The Scavenger Hunt
My husband and I devised a series of clues (a riddle, a rhyme or a photo) to guide the gift recipient to the location of the next clue. We usually did this for a larger, or pricier, item, such as a bike. One year, in particular, we sent our youngest son Reese all over the house, searching in closets and cabinets, under rugs and furniture, even lifting the toilet lid, to find the next clue. The final clue included a string that he followed to the garage, where his new bike awaited him. He appreciated—and needed—the gift, but he liked getting to it just as much!
Our daughter Molly is particularly fond of this wrapping method. It was either Molly or Reese who complained that “whoever invented gift bags took half the fun out of Christmas.” While the percentage might be exaggerated, the sentiment isn’t. Kids enjoy the frenzy that accompanies pulling off bows, tearing off ribbons, and ripping wrapping paper. They like watching the pile of trash grow around them—a signal that it’s been a big haul. To that end, I wrap a box within a box (repeated!) until the outside gigantic box beckons my curious daughter for days. She loves the thrill of opening the smaller and smaller boxes until she reaches her prize!
When it comes to wrapping gifts for other friends and family, get the kids involved:
Label items—so there’s no confusion later on
Gather plenty gift wrapping tools (scissors, tape, labels, pens, bows or ribbon, glue gun)
Heat up some cider, turn on Christmas tunes and sing while you wrap
You may either wrap individually one item start to finish or set up an assembly line, where one person cuts the paper to the correct size, another wraps and tapes it in place, another adds bows and ribbons, and another writes and puts on the tag.
My sisters-in-law, Kendall and Claudia, have creativity oozing out of their pores. Some of their innovative, clever, and beautiful ideas for wrapping (and adornments) include:
Burlap, dishtowels, leftover wallpaper, the “funny” pages (Sunday comics), plain brown or white paper stamped with Christmas stamps or drawn on by the kids
Instead of plain ribbon, they’ve used raffia, silk flowers, pine cones, tiny ornaments, even craft scraps (fuzzy balls or googly eyes)
For gift tags, they’ve used the previous year’s Christmas cards or cut recycled paper bags with decorative edge scissors.
These are just a few things that have worked for the Wilson household. How do you do it in your family? Share your ideas for fun or time-saving gift-wrapping tips.