16 Genius Holiday Hacks So You're Not Up Wrapping Presents at 2 AM (Again)

16 Genius Holiday Hacks So You're Not Up Wrapping Presents at 2 AM (Again)
Image: iStock.com/RichLegg


We all dream about being the type of super-efficient and organized parent who has all her children's gifts purchased, wrapped, and hidden away long before the actual holiday, but more often than not we find ourselves up at 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve surrounded by a tsunami of paper and bows. But don't despair! This could be the year when you finally get this whole gift-buying and present-wrapping thing under control -- and we promise, it'll be a lot easier than you think!

We've put together a list of time-saving hacks that will make gift-giving a breeze, no matter how much of a procrastinator you've been in years past. Who needs Santa?

  • Build a Better Box


    Fed up with oddly shaped toy packages that prove impossible to wrap? Opt for Amazon's "Frustration-Free" packaging, which delivers items in boxes that are easier to both wrap and open, compared to what you'd find on store shelves (something you'll definitely appreciate on Christmas morning!).

  • Eliminate the Guesswork for Family Members


    Short for "What I Love," Whilo is a new app that allows users to curate endless wishlists of their favorite things -- and share those lists with family members and loved ones. Kids can easily create a holiday wish list and, with one click, Grandma who lives across the country can buy a present right from the list (and no, your kids won't know what items have been purchased). And you don't have to worry about sending lists and ideas! This app also allows you to create curated lists of your family members' interests, so it's great for organizing. 

  • Wrap as You Go


    Oh, this one is hard, but it's truly the most important. Wrap the presents as you buy them, even though it feels impossible to fit it in!

  • Comparison Shop & Bargain Hunt on Your Phone


    Flipp is a savings app that helps you organize and knock out your shopping list based on what's on sale. You can search for a particular product, retailer, coupon, or brand using the search feature and find the best deal. You can also take a photo of your paper shopping list, load it to the app, and search for deals based on what you've written! Flipp also lets you browse through hundreds of weekly local circulars, and there's a whole category just for Black Friday.

  • Streamline Your Wrapping Style


    This mesmerizing Japanese technique for wrapping a present in less than 15 seconds -- no, seriously, less than 15 seconds -- might just change your life (at least during the holiday season!). It's also proof that you've been doing this ALL WRONG. Hint: Think diagonal.

  • Roll With It


    No more chasing after runaway rolls of wrapping paper with this nifty trick: Cut open a toilet paper roll and use it as a cuff to keep your paper in one place. (Much better than using a piece of tape, which always leaves a mark.)

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  • Crack the Kid Code


    Parents of more than one kid all know the horror of wrapping up a bunch of gifts and then forgetting whose is whose before you get around to writing the tags. Avoid this stressful slip-up by wrapping each kid's stash in a different type of paper!

  • Bag It Up


    Gift bags are definitely the fastest way to wrap any present, and they're basically the only way to wrap some presents (like stuffed animals). Stock up in advance -- or, if you find yourself with a teddy bear and no bag at the last minute, make one out of wrapping paper!

  • Hide & Store Little Stocking Stuffers Together


    Keep all those little items you pick up along the way as stocking stuffers together in a safe place -- like a shoe box hidden among the rest of the shoe boxes in your closet! A small bag also works -- the key is to keep these little things from getting lost in the holiday chaos.

  • Stick It to 'Em


    Once you go double-stick, there's no going back! Not only is it faster, but it also makes for a much neater presentation. Martha Stewart would be proud!

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  • Enlist the Help of "Elves"


    As long as you're not shopping at the absolute last minute (when supplies are running low), most stores will happily gift-wrap your purchases. Make use of this amazingly helpful -- and usually free -- service as often as possible!

  • Hide Santa's Tracks


    Almost as bad as finding all of your presents from "Santa" in Mom's closet the week before Christmas is figuring out that your gifts on Christmas morning are wrapped in the same paper Dad used for Grandma's present. Be sure to hide whatever paper you're going to use on gifts from the North Pole where your little ones won't think to look!

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  • Don't Get Stuck


    We've all driven ourselves to the brink of madness trying to find the end of the tape on a roll (how does it just disappear like that?!). Get unstuck by using the tab from a loaf of bread to hold your spot!

  • See the Light


    Let's say you were super organized last year and saved all your extra ribbon -- except not that organized, because you just stuffed them all in a box and left them to get wrinkled. No worries: You can use a lightbulb to smooth and soften worn-out ribbons in no time! So much faster (and cheaper) than going to the store, again.

  • Lay a Firm Foundation


    Yes, it's much cozier to wrap gifts sitting on a big fluffy carpet (or your bed), but you'll get smoother, quicker results if you do your wrapping on a hard surface like a table or a tile floor!

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  • Stack for Success


    Spools of ribbon rolling all over the place make for a chaotic wrapping session, and the untangling process takes way too much time. Stack your bow supplies on a spool organizer (a paper towel holder will do in a pinch) for ultimate efficiency!

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