Gift wrapping is either your favorite part of the holidays or your least favorite; there doesn’t seem to be much neutral ground. Whatever your feelings about gift wrapping, it needs to be done, and you can have fun while doing it.
Rather than shooing the kids out of the room while wrapping gifts that are not theirs, let them be involved. Of course, their level of involvement depends on their age, but kindergarten age kids should be able to pitch in.
A great, easy way to involve little kids is to use plain, sturdy paper, such as the brown postal used for wrapping packages before mailing. You can buy rolls of it at almost any store, making it easy to find and affordable to purchase. Younger kids can draw on the paper with crayons or markers. They can add glitter accents, stickers, or use stamps and ink pads. Kids of any age can add their own ribbons to the wrapped gifts, making them as simple or as extravagant as they like.
Older kids, or even younger kids with your help, can print pictures and glue them to the paper for an even more personal touch. This should be done after the gifts are wrapped to ensure that the photos don’t peel away from the paper. Use scrap-booking glue for a strong hold.
The photo method is also a unique replacement for name tags. You can use current pictures so names are not necessary, or you can finally dig those old pictures out of shoe boxes and create a fun guessing game. A toddler dressed as Shirley Temple could be Grandma and that handsome devil at the prom, Uncle Robert. Make sure to keep track of the names and pictures in case no one can guess or remember who belongs to what picture. This is a great idea not just for family gift exchanges; it makes work, school, or church exchanges a great deal of fun as well.
Don’t let the kids have all the fun. Leave your own mark on the family wrapping paper as well. Aside from ribbons, you can add charms, sprigs of holly and evergreen, whatever you feel corresponds with the paper.
A fun easy wrapping design is to use some of that leftover brown postal paper, wrap the gift, then draw reindeer antlers and eyes on the top. You can also cut the shapes from construction or card stock. For the nose, attach a large red pompom and you have Rudolf themed packages. You can also draw a regular nose to create the rest of Santa’s sleigh team.
You can always go for a shabby chic look, using, again the brown paper and old lace doilies for a lovely, vintage look. If you don’t have any old dollies at home, look through thrift stores or garage sales. Lace or pale colored ribbons also achieve the same look. You can also use twine to attach a name tag, by lacing it through the gaps in the doilies or around the lace and ribbons. Yellow or off white tags will correspond with the color scheme best, but don’t be afraid to look for other fun shades.
Of course you may not have time to make all the wrapping paper you need or your children may be too young for crafts. If this is the case, the kids can still have a hand in the wrapping process. Take them along to the store and let them pick out the rolls. Whether the paper features their favorite characters or colors, the kids will enjoy choosing the paper.
Whether you make all your own wrapping paper, or only decorate a few boxes and buy all the other wrappings, remember to have fun with it this holiday.