Archives For Christmas

This used to be my go-to move, but ribbon gets expensive and tying the perfect bow is time consuming so I only use it sparingly now. Impractical as it is, I still love the look of plain brown paper with a fancy ribbon and bow, especially if I’m looking to lend a girly touch. I used a spare piece of baker’s twine to attach the tag onto the ribbon.

brown paper and ribbon

If you’re not confident in your ribbon skills you can find tons of tips and and techniques on google and pinterest–here’s a pretty straightforward tutorial for a simple bow!

A couple notes in case you missed the last few posts:

  • I buy my paper from Home Depot–a huge roll is only $10 in the paint aisle. You can also buy it in smaller, more expensive quantities at craft stores or with the shipping materials in grocery or drug stores or you could even cut up paper grocery bags if you’re a total Martha.
  • This year I’m using free printable gift tags from here on all my packaging. I just printed them out on cardstock, cut them out, and punched a hole in each. Voila!
  • This particular type of brown paper does well with tape as long as I run my nail across it to create a good seal, but if tape just won’t stick to your paper try using hot glue instead.

PS: Click here to read all my posts about gift wrap (this one will be at the top but just scroll down to see them all)

Today’s gift wrap idea is a small variation on yesterday’s brown paper and string. In this case I used some pretty baker’s twine and a simple white button. I hoard crap like this all year long in the hopes that I can find some use for it. In this case the baker’s twine came as a freebie with something I ordered from Etsy and the button came from the mason jar in my laundry room where I put all those extra buttons that occasionally come with new clothes.

brown paper, baker's twine, and a button

I wrapped my twine around the gift leaving a tail to tie into a bow, slipped one of the tails through the hole in the tag, then used a needle to pull it back and forth through the buttonholes twice before pulling it back through the hole in the tag again. Then I just tied the two tails into a bow and the tag laid nice and flat on the gift with the button securing it. If you think that sounds confusing trust me when I say that it’s much easier in practice than it is to explain. The button idea was inspired by the recipient of this particular gift–she has a huge collection of vintage buttons that she crafts into beautiful and unique jewelry.

A couple notes in case you missed yesterday’s post:

  • I buy my paper from Home Depot–a huge roll is only $10 in the paint aisle. You can also buy it in smaller, more expensive quantities at craft stores or with the shipping materials in grocery or drug stores or you could even cut up paper grocery bags if you’re a total Martha.
  • This year I’m using free printable gift tags from here on all my packaging. I just printed them out on cardstock, cut them out, and punched a hole in each. Voila!
  • This particular type of brown paper does well with tape as long as I run my nail across it to create a good seal, but if tape just won’t stick to your paper try using hot glue instead.

PS: Click here to read all my posts about gift wrap (this one will be at the top but just scroll down to see them all)

I am kind of into wrapping gifts. I like to keep it simple, mostly just using brown paper and various embellishments that can be found around the house. And in the spirit of keeping my holidays simple, instead of craft projects or whatever else I usually write about I’ll be sharing a different idea for brown paper packages every weekday from now until Christmas Eve (wrapping gifts + blog content = two birds with one stone). A couple things:

  • I buy my paper from Home Depot–a huge roll is only $10 in the paint aisle. You can also buy it in smaller, more expensive quantities at craft stores or with the shipping materials in grocery or drug stores or you could even cut up paper grocery bags if you’re a total Martha.
  • This year I’m using free printable gift tags from here on all my packaging. I just printed them out on cardstock, cut them out, and punched a hole in each. Voila!
  • And one more tip: this particular type of brown paper does well with tape as long as I run my nail across it to create a good seal, but if tape just won’t stick to your paper try using hot glue instead.

So first up is my gift for Nick. Brown paper and simple cotton string is my go-to move. I just threaded a reindeer gift tag onto the string for a simple, masculine feel that’s easy as pie. You could say that this is one of my favorite things.

brown paper packages tied up with string

I can’t wait to show y’all what other easy ideas I have for wrapping gifts in brown paper. It’s really so versatile and somehow the small measure of wrapping all my gifts in one type of paper just makes things so much simpler. Are you noticing a theme here? I am all about simplicity during this hurried and overstimulating season! Somebody get me some peace and quiet, stat.

PS: Click here to read all my old posts about gift wrap for more ideas

Shopping for little ones can be confusing. They’re not old enough to ask for what they want (which is both a blessing and a curse) and because play is the work of childhood you want their toys to help, or at least not hinder, their healthy development. Often the toys that we think are great end up cast aside in favor of various household items (see this post for a hilarious take on a baby’s Christmas list). I’m still a relative newcomer to this thing called parenting, but after 18 months I’ve gained a few ideas on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to entertaining a tiny human. Without further adieu:

The Best Toys for Babies and Toddlers

  • Electronic toys are hugely entertaining, but can be annoying and batteries are a giant pain so I avoid them whenever possible. This is not to say that we don’t have any battery operated toys, but in the name of my own sanity I choose not to buy them and when the batteries finally run out on his most annoying toys I probably won’t replace them.
  • Musical instruments–always a winner. From the classic xylophone to baby maracas, the noise factor is nothing compared to what VTech puts out.
  • Cups, bowls, and blocks. Great for stacking, sorting, and pretend play. Also: balls. Jack is really into balls lately.
  • Activity cube. These things are great for a wide range of ages.
  • Baby doll and accoutrements–yes, even for boys! It’s fun for toddlers to reenact daily activities like feeding, bathing, and dressing.
  • Books–here’s a list of board books that are actually good for developing early literacy.
  • Play silks–these can be used for peekaboo, pretend play, and the ever popular toddler game of “put stuff into a container and take it back out again”
  • Push or ride-on toys that help develop gross motor skills–walkers and jumpers are actually not so great for this purpose according to physical therapists. Jack is getting this and this for Christmas from various relatives.
  • Play kitchen and/or pots, pans, play food, etc. for pretend play, not to mention noisemaking potential.
  • Wood puzzles.

For more ideas you can check out Baby Cheapskate’s lists of Toys that Get Played With: 6-12 Months and 13-24 Months. You can also see all the great stuff that I put on Jack’s wish list here–you can even view purchased items to see what kinds of things he received when he was younger. My favorite brands for toys are Lamaze, Sassy, Hape, and B. Toys. Another option is to shop on Etsy, especially for natural wooden or cloth toys that are pleasing to eyes of all ages (just search Waldorf or Montessori if you’re not sure where to start). Good luck choosing toys for the tiny people in your life this holiday season and beyond!