Fun and festive last-minute holiday wrapping ideas
Maps may become outdated and lose their value as navigational tools, but they never lose their color and visual interest. Gather up your old highway and travel maps to use as wrapping paper, or cut pages from a large world atlas you picked up at a used book store to give your holiday gifts international flair.
Two gifts in one
Wrap one gift inside another for a double treat that is sure to please. Dish towels, pillow shams or winter scarves make good holiday gift wrap, as do colorful shirts, blouses and sweaters (tie the sleeves in a loose bow for a more finished and festive look).
Make mine Thai
Those colorful take-out restaurant menus that are cluttering up your kitchen drawer provide an interesting alternative to traditional holiday wrapping paper. Stay with a single theme, such as Indian or Chinese, or mix cuisines to create a visual smorgasbord.
Waxed paper is a good starting point for a special kind of do-it-yourself gift wrap. Place colored ribbons, small scraps of fabric or paper, backyard leaves, feathers or other found objects between two sheets of waxed paper. Then use a warm iron to fuse the sheets together and create wrapping paper with a unique design.
Brown bag it
Remember when your teachers made you cut up grocery bags to cover your textbooks? You can do the same thing with your presents. To create a quick and easy holiday gift-wrap alternative, use marking pens or stickers to decorate the plain brown paper, and then add eye-catching yarn, ribbon or bows.
Reusable shopping bags are ideal for wrapping many small to medium-sized gifts. Using them as gift wrap reduces the amount of trash that ends up in landfills, and also gives the person receiving your gift an easy way to keep helping the environment all year long.
Break out the crayons and invite your kids to draw colorful holiday scenes on construction paper, butcher paper or deconstructed grocery bags. The kids will enjoy the project, and you can use their artwork as gift wrap that will have special meaning for grandparents and other family members.
To make your gifts stand out this year, try using simple objects you find around your house, yard or neighborhood to decorate your wrapped presents. Glue buttons of different sizes on one gift, a peacock feather on another, and perhaps moss and fern leaves on a third. Your keen eye and imagination can make your gifts memorable even before they’re opened.
Those boxes you’ve been saving, which once held everything from shoes to small appliances, can really come in handy at the holidays. Boxes that are plain, with no branding or labels, can be closed with tape and dressed up with a simple bow. Give other boxes a light coat of silver or gold spray paint, and decorate with ribbon in a complementary color or pattern.
Check your family game cupboard, and a few local thrift stores, for board games that are no longer all there. You can cut apart game boards and either use the sections to construct a one-of-a kind box, or simply glue them to an existing container for a unique gift box. Use game pieces—a knight or queen from a chess set, the dog or car from Monopoly—as decorations for some of your other wrapped gifts.