I've always been kind of terrible at gift wrapping. I'd like to be one of those people who consistently folds perfect corners and doesn't resort to pre-printed bags every time a gift is oddly shaped and can wrap one medium-sized box without using, like, an entire roll of tape. But sometimes you just have to acknowledge your weaknesses along with your strengths, you know?
That said, I feel like I have been doing a somewhat better job during the last couple years, and that's because I stopped buying themed wrapping paper. It seems like wrapping paper mainly comes in two varieties: cheap and flimsy and tears whenever you look at it, or gorgeous and durable and just $57 per roll.
There are so many creative ways to make gifts pretty without using traditional holiday paper (not that I have a thing against wrapping paper -- that would be a really weird thing to have). Here's a quick rundown of some of the easiest, least expensive, most awesomest gift-wrapping ideas I've come across:
Use plain paper, add bling
This is my preferred method. I buy a roll or two of sturdy brown paper (Target has a great one that has subtle pinstripes on it, which makes even cutting a breeze). Then for decorations I add a ribbon and a holiday-themed craft sticker of some kind. Instead of tags, I use letter stickers for the recipient's name. Aaaaand DONE. So, so easy, and they always turn out great. (FINE, I use bags for certain things, too, but YOU tell me how to wrap a damn stuffed wallaby.)
Pre-decorated holiday boxes
Thrift stores always have a ton of holiday stuff this time of year, and that includes a billion festive boxes. (Or if you have a Tuesday Morning store in your area, they have a wonderful selection of cheap-but-gorgeous boxes.) It can't get any easier than a wrapping concept that involves 1) putting a gift in a box, and 2) there is no step two.
Decorate with letters
I love this idea, which basically involves creating big graphic letters to use as a name-tag or a holiday message. The process of cutting out the letters might be a bit of a PITA, but there's so much you could do with this -- one of the examples uses sheet music letters for a music-loving friend's name.
Use noodles for bows
Tying on farfalle pasta to make adorable little pasta bows? WHAT THIS IS SO CUTE I CAN'T EVEN. Perfect for your foodie friend, don't you think?
Or, as the author of this post puts it, "Give 'em the bird." Her examples are fairly ornate and amazing, but you could keep it simple with plain paper and one gorgeous craft-store feather.
Popsicle stick presents
Super cute way to use Popsicle sticks and red yarn to create a unique gift design. I love how it looks, and you can write the recipient's name on the sticks.
Puzzle gift toppers
Here's one the kids might have fun with -- tie a pretty puzzle piece on the top of your package with colorful twine or ribbon. You could use an existing piece from the 829 wooden puzzles in your house that are already missing pieces, probably because they became permanently embedded in your foot in the spring of 2008 (just me?), or you could find a thrift store puzzle (or just a small toy or decoration). Easy assembly, great results!
Do you have any unique gift-wrapping ideas to share?
Images via Linda Sharps, Bugs and Fishes, The Kitchn, Older and Wisor, A Little Hut, Creature Comforts