Click on photos to enlarge.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Gift Wrapping

If this makes you cringe, there's also the ever-popular gift bag
--not very creative but it serves the purpose.

By the time you read this, with any luck you will have wrapped up your Christmas gift wrapping. If, however, wrapping Christmas gifts is something you dread, come Christmas Eve you may still be wrestling with tissue-thin colored paper, yards of shiny ribbon, cellophane tape, and a whole box of machine-made bows you saved from last year...or the year before that. This is not just about disguising the contents of your gifts in order to enjoy the element of surprise and delight you see on a loved-one's face as they rip to shreds all your best efforts to make the gift attractive...or at least, presentable. Here I've culled outstanding examples of the gift-wrapper's art with the accent on the many different creative opportunities this peculiar artform has to offer. 

First of all, how NOT to wrap gifts.
Perhaps more important than how not to wrap gifts is when not to wrap gifts. Two factors are involved here--size and shape. If the cost of the giftwrap begins to rival that of the gift, STOP, find the biggest bow you can buy, placing it prominently on the object and forget about the element of surprise (below). Likewise if the gift does not come in a box--six sides, four corners--don't even try. Even the experts will sometimes bungle such items. In such a case, fall back on the old gift bag (some of which are HUGE) then let the recipient deal with all that paper or plastic. In such cases a white trash bag with an attractive ribbon and bow might be the answer.
Laugh if you wish, but such silly extravagance happens from time to time.
I once tried to giftwrap a football.
Thinking outside the box often results in some really memorable gifts. For instance, where is it written that wrapping a gift must hide the contents? One of the most difficult wrapping chores is that of wrapping clothing (without the store-bought box). However, if the item is quite attractive in its own right perhaps all that is needed is a little ribbon, some patience, and an attractive bow (homemade or one from a store). The white sweater below is a beautiful example.
Hassel-free, creative, and attractive--the perfect solution.
Very often your choice of giftwrap can create problems. If your paper has stripes, by all means see that they match up on the back of the gift. Otherwise, use something with a more random design. Likewise, keep in mind the age and gender of the recipient. Stores are full of paper loaded with whimsical Santas, reindeer, snowmen, etc, which is find for children's gift. Something a bit more conservative would be better suited to grandpa's new shirt and tie giftset.
A tidy little package with ribbon
well-proportioned to the stripes.

There's nothing subtle here.
In deciding the appearance of your gift, there is a broad range of possibilities, from a nearly monochromatic gold on white (below), for instance to the giant red bow fastened with a rhinestone pin (left). Here the personality and age of the recipient may be the most important factor. In general, the more expensive the gift, the more conservative one should be in designing the giftwrap presentation. If your recipient comments, "It's too pretty to unwrap," you know you've made an impression and have done your job well.
Silver and gold on white cries out
that you've spared no expense or
effort on your gift.

In recent years there has been a growing trend toward the use of evergreens as an integral part of sophisticated gift design. Such sprigs may be live or simulated, the effect is much the same. Using natural Christmas decorations often eliminates all but the simplest of bows and may, in fact, not involve ribbons at all but colorful yarn or simple pieces of twine in adding the finishing touches to your gift. 
Thinking outside the box is fun. Dare to be risky.
Nothing smells more like Christmas than
evergreens or cinnamon sticks.
When my wife was growing up back in the 1960s, the family lived on a dairy farm and con-sequently money was always in short supply. Her father con-sidered gift wrap to be hor-rendously wasteful. Actually, he was right about that. In any case, for several months before Christmas my mother-in-law be-gan to save the color comics section of the newspaper, using it to wrap gifts for my wife and her two younger sisters. The adults got their gifts wrapped in plain, ordinary newsprint. My own mother was almost equally frugal. She wrapped our gifts in multiple layers of plain, white tissue paper, sometimes with a little ribbon, but usually not. Today, we would call these tra-ditions "less is more." Later on, my mother would buy an economy roll of children's giftwrap. All our gifts were wrapped the same. We had to look carefully for our names on each present to make sure we weren't opening one another gifts. Examples below suggests that with a few colorful bows, ribbons, and ingenuity, newsprint has not gone out of style.

Today, I'm partial to bright, shiny, foil gift wraps,
perhaps as a reaction to my deprived childhood.
And finally, few things are more "Christmasy" than cookies and candy (below). For those household without pets, these items tied in with the bows. become tasty gifts upon gifts, great for ruining kids' appetites before the big Christmas day meal. Incidentally, a thoughtful pre-Christmas gift for neighborhood friends would be a "gift wrapping kit" (below) consisting of a few rolls of paper, lots of tape, and various bows and ribbons which don't look "used." Distributed in person at the front door, such thoughtfulness might result in a reciprocal gift of pumpkin or pecan pie. Gotta go now, I still have a few more items on my giftwrapping table to disguise and decorate.

A sweet, tasteful way to add an extra element of excitement to
the Christmas morning orgy of gift giving.

A thoughtful, relatively inexpensive
gift for friends next door.


No comments:

Post a Comment