I’m done with boring wrapping paper. Santas, snowflakes, Christmas trees, on cheap crackly paper — I’m done with it. If it’s the thought that ultimately counts, maybe the first thing your loved one sees when they pick up your gift should indicate that some thought went into it.
One afternoon I wrapped a few presents, one with the Sunday comics, one in an old map, one in a beautiful silk scarf. I even cut the arm off an old sweater and up-cycled it into a gift bag for a bottle of vino. A quick stitch to the bottom of it and a festive bow around the top, and voila! Uncle John’s gift was done.
Then I moved on to brown kraft paper wrapping. I whipped up a batch of wrapping using the inside of brown paper Trader Joe’s bags. Some packages were adorned with lace ribbons, some with red plaid ribbon, some with twine and pine sprigs.
My daughter walked in amid my flurry of creativity and cut out some delicate paper snowflakes. “Use them in place of a ribbon on top of the kraft paper,” she suggested. Then she started on white paper swan origami for other packages instead of bows.
After I exhausted my homespun supplies, I headed out to find other wrapping options. My first stop was at Papyrus in Fashion Valley. “The embroidered sheet wrapping paper is a bit more expensive than the non-embroidered paper,” offered the saleslady as I pulled off a green sheet with gold-medallion embroidery from the wall of sheets ($9.95). I also took a sheet of brown kraft paper bedazzled with glittery silver flowers for my mother-in-law ($3.95). She loves a little bling in her holidays. Across the store I found a roll of Handmade Gold Thread wrap, white with scattered gold tinsel ($9.95 for 8.96 square feet). As I checked out, the saleslady offered some wrapping tips for the delicate handmade paper. “Use glue dots or thick double-sided tape,” she said, “or if you use regular tape, make sure to also wrap the package in ribbon to give it extra support so the paper doesn’t rip.”
Over at Cost Plus, in the seasonal section, I found some gift-wrapping for my animal-loving friend Carla: Woodland Creatures Gift Tissue and gift bag ($3.99 for four tissue-paper sheets; $4.99 for the matching bag). On the other side of the display hung Frosty Morning Mini gift bags with owls on them, perfect for my owl-loving teen ($3.99 for the two-pack of gift bags; $3.99 for the four-sheet of tissue paper). In the wrapping section, I found individual sheets: my favorite, a black sheet with gold medallions, a sharp wrapping for the man in my life ($3.99 per sheet).
For my humorous sister, I found a magenta gift bag with a photo of a hilariously dressed early 20th-century Vaudeville dancer ($3.99) with the Oscar Wilde quote, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”
Down at Blick Art Materials in Little Italy, there was a wall of interesting sheets of wrapping. I wish I could have bought a sheet of each, but I settled on a red sheet with gold Korean Hanji, perfect for my son who is studying Korean ($10.99 per sheet).
Other favorites included a Thai Embossed Ficus Leaves paper with a raised white texture begging to be touched ($6.99 a sheet), and a green sheet of Lokta dyed sun fern paper ($6.49 a sheet). On the other end of the room was a box full of rolls of recycled wrapping: Waste not Paper Wrap in assorted solid colors including brown kraft color ($5.99). As I walked to the checkout I spied a display of some smaller paper sheets, perfect for a jewelry-sized gift box, a few in Florentine designs ($1.39 per sheet). I also found some festive holiday foiled tape in red, green, and gold plaid ($3.99 for 16 yards).
The last stop of the afternoon was Hobby Lobby. I get dizzy when I walk into that store — the abundance of decorating and art-supply options overwhelms me. So, I put my head down and headed straight to the decorative tapes. Gold and silver glittery tape would work perfectly on some kraft paper ($4.99 for a two-pack, two yards each). Two other packages offered a striped and a polka-dotted tape in silver and white or gold and white.
As I drove home, the radio played Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”