Making Packages Bright

OK, raise your hand if you think wrapping gifts is a chore.  Yeah, I thought so!  Many view it as a necessary thing, not a creative thing, but I have a different view.  Each gift represents someone in my life that is still here, and with the loss of my parents, a special cousin, and some of my friends, it is felt keenly when I only have a few to do.  So, finding a way to be creative with wrapping shows my appreciation for family and friends still in my life.  First, I got out some plain bags I am recycling to new gifts, and dressed them up a bit.

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This green shiny bag got a recycled card front from a card received last year.  I added stickers (found at the thrift store) to give it some dimension.

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Next, I wrapped a box with Christmas wrap, and took a look at all the ribbons in the stash for inspiration.

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I could just add a bow like this, but just another minute is all it takes to step it up a bit.

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Start with gold ribbon, and wrap one around the box, taping it in the middle of the top of the box.  Using a wire garland, tape a length to the box and twist the ends around your finger to form curlicues.

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Now put the bow back, and see what a difference just a little bit can do.

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I like a lot of different papers under the tree, so I keep several rolls going at a time.  My mother used this trash can to keep her wraps, so when I got it, I just added mine.

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Plaid wire edge ribbon is fun, but what if you don’t have enough to make a bow?  Here’s another idea for you, tie the ribbon around the box, crimping the ends in a ripple effect.

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Now add a holiday pick with greenery, red berries and a pine cone.  Tape it to the underside.  The added benefit of a decoration like this is it packs well.  No bow to crush.

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Wire edge ribbon makes great bows, and can be re-worked at the destination if they get mushed in shipping.  Adding a sticker makes it clear that this gift is to wait for Christmas day for opening.

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The thrift store can yield some fun things for packages too, like these ornaments.

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Tied onto a gift bag with wire garland, they hold the handles closed to keep peeking to a minimum.  Plus, they add another sweet dimension to the gift when placed on the tree the next year.  You could use some paint pens to write the year on the bottom.

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Here’s another idea for a bow-less package.  Using the curling ribbon, wrap it around the package three times, and tie a firm knot at the crossover point on the top.  Spread out the three ribbons.  Pull a scissor edge along the ends to curl them.

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Add something fun, like a light bulb (also a thrift store find) to the crossover point with a bit more curling ribbon.  Or, if you are shipping this one, use a plastic or cardboard ornament.  It still looks like it is missing something.

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Texture and dimension add interest, so a tiny bit of artificial greenery finishes it nicely.  This one will sit under the tree, so I don’t worry about shipping it with the glass bulb.

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One last sticker, and it is done.

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Using several bows and some red berries, I made a focal point on top of gold ribbon on this package.

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It looked a bit static, so I added more wired star garland, twisted around on the ends into curlicues.

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Works of art for under the tree.  I’ll enjoy seeing them and anticipating the happy expressions of the recipients through the rest of the month.

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Do you like wrapping or is it a chore?

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24 thoughts on “Making Packages Bright

  1. Jennifer Rauch

    Well I like wrapping, but my sil is very quick to pitch everything, while I smooth & re-use large pieces of pretty paper on pkgs. I receive (& a few nearby I salvage!) We travel there, so I generally do not put bows, per se, but use fabric bags I’ve made over the years. So easy! During the earlier years of after-Christmas blahs, I’d use up some holiday remnants &happily sew away very productively. Do re-use these over & over! Sil does NOT pitch these! Also bought some mylar bags in different sizes, which travel well & don’t take much “real estate” (his words), so can be saved. So far this year I’ve not bought wrapping paper, nor have I broken into the rolls (for bigger pkgs), but used scraps & salvaged, for a nice variety that makes me happy!

  2. Patricia

    It is a chore! Years ago my family asked me to not wrap their gifts. Stated they are ugly. And it is true. My husband does a beautiful job.

  3. Sylvia Anderson

    Ah, the fun of wrapping each present differently, I remember it well. There was a time, in another life, when I had about 70 or so presents to wrap, and there were no ready made bows or gift cards from every store available. I used to buy bolts of ribbon from the floral supply store and make my own pom pom type bows. It’s so much easier and faster today, but still creative when adding the decorative touches like you do.


    I have always enjoyed making presents look very special. It is fun for me and I think it makes the receiver feel very special. I love what you have done with your gifts. Hope Santa will leave you something as beautifully wrapped.

  5. Rosemaryflower

    I like wrapping gifts, and I do add a lot of frippy frills and bows.
    I like making the tags myself, they are not fancy, just “cute”
    This year I have been storing all of my wrapped gifts in two large rubbermaid tubs bc Princess and Miles love nibbling ribbon.And, no, we do not have a tree this year, just lots of string lights out of reach of certain babies and kitties

  6. It depends on the number and size of the gifts and the amount of time I have. I usually enjoy doing it, but when energy is low and stress is high, it has felt like a chore from time to time.

  7. Lovely wrapping. You sure have some great embellishments. I also like a variety of wrapping papers under the tree. I found some double sided paper last year, and that gives you two designs in one roll! Can’t remember where I got it though!

    I think wrapping is fun enough so long as I am not in a hurry. I like the idea of adding stickers or recycled cards.

  8. It’s a chore. I used to make the packages all decorative, and then I realized one year that no one paid any attention. They just ripped it open. So I quit with all the extra. Now I just wrap it and add a label. I do, however, make fancy wrapping for gifts I give friends. They are much more appreciative. You have some fun ideas in your post, so thanks for some new things to look for!

  9. BJ

    When I lived close enough to friends and family to exchange gifts in person, I decorated packages to the hilt and loved it! Now that I have to ship everything, I wrap only, adding maybe flat ribbon. Shipping is now too expensive to use over-sized boxes to allow for enough protection around fussy embellishments. Your ideas make the presents look so festive – I’m sure they look like a party under the tree! I ship early, but I wrap empty boxes so our tree doesn’t look naked. I’ll be trying a few of your ideas this year 😉. Thanks for sharing your very creative talents!

  10. Sharon Schipper

    Love to wrap, but I admit the last few years I hit the dollar store for gift bags, and expect to see them reused many times! And so much is being mailed, I have bows that I’ve had several years and not used. I can see I need to get them out and put loads of them on the packages here! I try to have neutral papers I can use for other occasions, but also rolls that represent the kids (one is a Grinch… one has taken on Wonder Woman, and some other themes! still fun even when they’re grown) Looks like granddaughter is going to be Snoopy…

  11. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole, I do not mind wrapping gifts at all. Like you, it is fun to create a variety of styles with bows and ribbons. Although, I have always been teased by my family about not being a good wrapper or bow maker. Thank you for sharing some of your ideas! Have a fabulous day!

  12. Phyllis Smith

    Holiday Greetings Carole,

    Thanks for some package decorating ideas. I happen to have the very items to decorate my friends Christmas gif. Bought her an umbrella with the peacock print on it and I really wanted a special way to wrap it so I chose the Pre-made metallic bows with a pretty pick and a peacock ornament. Both she and me are into peacocks and have been for a good while. Thanks for sharing your ideas with all of us this past year.

    I KNOW YOU HAVE A LOT OF KNOWLEDGE TO SHARE AND WE ALL APPRECIATE IT SO MUCH. Wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Phyllis Smith

  13. Nancy Myers

    I truly enjoy seeing how you make cards and now to see such fun ways to make a gift special. I have loads of things that I was thinking of donating to thrift stores, etc. but think I will save to wrap gifts next year. (I wish I had time to spruce up the gifts I have already wrapped, but that will not fit into my schedule in the week before Christmas.
    Merry Christmas to you.

  14. I do like wrapping presents, but this year due to having new kittens, my options for wrapping are limited. No bows, ribbon, or do-dads, the kittens think those are their new toys 🙂

  15. Melanie

    I love wrapping. It’s the fun part of giving a special gift to someone special. Like you, I have lost parents and special relatives, including my best friend of 50 years. :o( But I enjoy thinking about those still here when wrapping gifts for them and making it special.

  16. What a wonderful thought Carole! Although I don’t hate gift wrapping, I always manage to put it off until last…and I do love the ease of pretty bags! Your packages are so lovely, I love the one with the red Christmas bulb! Merry Christmas Carole!

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