For a holiday look that lasts the season, go for gifts wrapped in traditional red and green. Decked in festive adornments, these sturdy cardboard craft boxes will look as lovely under the tree as they will displayed tabletop on cake stands.
Look no further than the holiday section in your local crafts store for embellishments. We chose tinsel, peppermints, and silk flower petals. We cut individual petals off of a large blossom, and then adhered them with a glue gun. Choose coordinating ribbon and voluptuous bows to finish off this eye-catching arrangement.
Revisit the glamorous days of travel with a vintage train case. Search antiques stores, flea markets, or eBay for the durable luggage. Chic and practical, the fashionable icon is a perfect size for carry-on. And wrapped with a 4-inch-wide pale chartreuse ribbon it brings to mind movie star scarves and oversized sunglasses.
To sass up the inside of this slate-blue Samsonite case, we used double-sided tape and lined the accessory tray with a map of Paris. Fill it with luxurious bath products and traveler's delights such as a hand-bound journal and stationery (don't forget the stamps!), and it might just prompt a well-deserved holiday getaway.
Attached to a vintage train case, a gift card or tag printed with the Eiffel Tower and a harlequin-patterned luggage tag beg for a trip abroad.
Not willing to stand in lines or pay fuel costs? Use the case at home to store cosmetics or mementos.
Let friends and family know you've listened well. Present a manifestation of this coy phrase with a still life.
Perched on a nest, a bird ornament delivers a small but universally delightful present: the gift card. Under a glass cloche, the arrangement is curiously elegant.
For a simpler -- and more portable -- presentation, build a nest with shredded raffia, place it in a small basket, and add the same sentiments.
For gift-giving and decoration, fill a small basket with a raffia nest and glittery bird ornament, and then tuck it into a Christmas tree. Add a gift card from a much-wanted store, and the recipient will quickly know that a little birdie told you so ...
Remember Max the Dog? After pulling a sled to Whoville and back, it's time the Grinch's obedient companion received his due.
Treats presented in a see-through canister (perfect for storing treats later) and wrapped in festive red and green collars, this gift will surely swell even the Grinch's cold heart.
Personalize your gift with a handmade gift tag.
For our tag, we used a bone-shaped cookie cutter as a template and traced it off on polka-dotted card stock. Stick-on letters here spell out the recipient's name.
Dress up hard-to-box items with a BOBO scarf. Here, the flowy wrap caresses bottles of wine.
With such an array of attractive fabrics, vibrant colors, and one-size-fits-all designs, we wish they came people-sized.
Inspired by the Korean tradition of wrapping gifts in fabric, designer Patricia Lee created the BOBO scarf. Here, a green-and-gold wrap trimmed in fuchsia (embellished with a glass flower ornament) shows its flair on a wine bottle.
An eco-friendly tote transports a variety of packages wrapped in recycled papers. Companies such as Whimsy Press, Eco-Friendly Papers, and Night Owl Paper Goods give good ol' newsprint some stiff competition.
Look for companies that proclaim themselves tree- and chlorine-free, use alternative fibers, such as cotton or hemp, print with soy or vegetable-based inks, and, of course, recycle. Our favorite go-to green sourcebook? World Changing: A Users Guide For The 21st Century.
To learn (a lot) more, visit the Environmental Paper Network.
To add more of the green stuff to this earth-friendly tote, we crafted a wreath from rosemary. The simple-to-make ringlet only requires a few long stems of the fragrant herb.
Tip: Choose lengths of new growth for flexibility.
Bend stems into a circle and secure with floral wire. Tie it with a pretty ribbon, and this holiday symbol will look good drying in a window long after gifts are opened.
The holiday season is notorious for drop-in guests. This year, give your friends a break and bring the party with you.
We've assembled a picnic basket with all the essentials for a cheery, impromptu celebration. Must-haves include wine, sweet and salty snacks, napkins, candles for ambience, and a couple of liquor bottle minis -- just in case someone starts talking religion or politics.
Give everyday items gift status with new packaging. Votives defy their mundane store display when presented in a confectioner's box lined with white tissue. A 10¢ matchbox becomes a decorative accent when wrapped with a bit of holiday paper.
No green thumb? No problem! Forced bulbs are an easy-to-grow gift that even novice gardeners can enjoy. Better yet, they're inexpensive.
We purchased daffodil bulbs in bulk and divided them to fill each container. Set atop river rock purchased at a garden shop, packaged in cellophane wrap, and plopped in a pot or pail, the nubby bulbs bring the promise of spring.
Holidays and romance go hand-in-hand. Whether you're shopping for perfume, pretties, or bling, think foreplay when it comes to gift wrap.
A pale pink and chocolate brown Parisian print pays homage to the City of Lights. Tied with a brown grosgrain ribbon and secured with a vintage pearl broach, this little package is ready for date night.
Honor a friend or family member this holiday with a gift that's wrapped for a good cause. We took inspiration from the international symbol for breast cancer awareness.
A pink satin ribbon tied in a loop provides instant recognition while stick-on pink rhinestone letters spell out the recipient's name. Add a sparkly pink broach as a keepsake. For more information on breast cancer awareness and to make a donation, visit Komen.org.
Red mitten gift tags warm hearts and brighten hopes for a white Christmas. Cut from construction paper, stuffed with tissue, and stitched with a zigzag, these pint-sized tags will look just as adorable hung on the tree.
Use sheer ribbon to reveal the handprints beneath. For more wishful thinking, add snowflake stickers.
Cooped up with kids? Try this child-friendly project to make your own gift wrap and keep your sanity. All you need is white butcher paper, washable red paint, and willing hands.
This should hold those short attention spans for at least 15 minutes. But their artwork will last forever when you cut out a print and date it.
Gather all your essentials before you sit down to wrap presents, and you won't be up and down running for scissors and tape and ribbon, oh my.
Gift Wrap Checklist
• Wrapping paper
• Tissue paper
• Scotch tape
• Hole punch
• Red or green pen
• Gift tags
• Address book
The kids are in bed. It's almost midnight, and the gifts sit -- unwrapped. No worries. Forward thinking and a little organization lets you stock up on everything you'll need to get those presents under the tree and still get some Z's before the big day.
To keep everything in one place, begin with a clear plastic under-the-bed container. It's the perfect size for long rolls of wrapping paper. Fill it with all the essentials, and you'll have everything wrapped and ready in no time.
We also added a pre-wrapped ornament -- just in case you need to reciprocate an unexpected gift.
By Cathy Still Johnson