In stark contrast to last year’s week long extravaganza, I wrapped every single present in a few hours’ time yesterday (confession: there are still a few gifts that haven’t arrived yet. Eek!). Motherhood has increased my efficiency, methinks. I’ve been doing the brown paper thing for a few years now, but in the past have always mixed it up with white paper and lots of colorful ribbon or other embellishments. This year I just bought one truly giant roll of brown paper in the paint aisle at Home Depot for about $11 and a skein of natural cotton cord at Hobby Lobby for $5. Sure beats the nearly thirty bucks I used to spend on smaller rolls of kraft paper and fancy ribbon. And here’s a tip: hot glue is by far the easiest way of securing brown paper. It laughs in the face of tape.
I did get my ribbon and other supplies out, just in case I needed them, but ended up sticking almost exclusively to paper and cord. Do you like how I’ve got my ribbon organized? They’re threaded onto skewers poked through the already existing holes of a plastic storage basket. In the larger woven basket I’ve got tissue paper and gift bags that I’ve saved throughout the year, and apparently a scrap of navy ribbon. Also pictured below is a box of merchandise tags from Office Depot that has seen me through several Christmases now, as well as some burlap for cushioning any delicate items.
I got the idea this year to cut the strings off the merchandise tags and thread them directly onto the cotton cord. It’s a much simpler look.
Here they are all wrapped up. I had one item that was not practical to wrap so I cut a long rectangle of fabric, folded it in half, sewed the sides together, and used that navy ribbon to tie it closed at the top. Bam, charming gift bag. It was so easy that I may sew a few more small ones for those last minute gifts that I’m still waiting to arrive.
Notice how I’ve got some gifts stacked in a galvanized tub? I totally stole that idea from a Pottery Barn catalog. We open most of our presents at my parents’ house on Christmas morning and the rest are all scattered between my grandparents’ and Nick’s parents’ houses. To make things easy on myself when it comes time to unload the car I put all the presents that need to come into my mom’s in the tub. That way we can just grab it instead of standing at the back of the car sorting through which box goes where and trying to carry as many as possible in one trip. (I already had the tub and use it for gardening as a planter or water bucket for most of the year, but you can find them for cheap in the paint aisle)
Here’s something else I did this year that seemed to simplify things: I wrapped my gifts in batches. Before starting I wrote out all my gift tags, lined up my purchases, and placed the appropriate tag atop each one. Then I’d take one larger item and cut out the paper for it, use the scraps from that to cut paper for a few smaller gifts, and wrap them all at once. I think I was able to work faster this way than if I’d given my undivided attention to one present at a time from start to finish.
I am so glad to have all that wrapping knocked off my to-do list. Now the only thing I have left to finish is the dang Christmas cards. Everyone else’s cards keep arriving in the mail, taunting me, and I’ve gotten more than one inquiry from folks who apparently look forward to our cards every year (I think they enjoy seeing the pets forced to participate).