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It’s a Wrap: Gift Giving Pointers

My holiday routine seems to follow the same pattern every year. It starts well before thanksgiving, with me saving up coupons and compiling gift ideas, my sanity intact, and plenty of time to get things done. It’s quite the rosy picture. But then, somehow, my calendar fast-forwards to December 21st,  when I lose my coupons, misplace my sanity, and forget all about the great gift ideas I had.  What starts out as an easy-going season with the best of intentions ultimately results in “complete holiday system failure”. This is usually followed by a mad dash to wrap all of my presents and a rush to get my boxes shipped out the door right in the knick of time. This is also usually followed by a swift kick in my ass right around December 27th, when somewhere in my junk drawer I find those coupons I forgot I had, the list of fantastic gift ideas that I ignored, and, if I’m lucky, my sanity.

But not this year, my friends.  It’s December 20th, I’ve beaten the mall mosh-pit, I used my coupons like a smart cookie, and I am finished wrapping all of my gifts. And although my preparation is usually complete chaos, the one thing that I can say is that I truly do enjoy wrapping the presents. The unwrapping of a gift is half the fun of receiving one, and if you’re going to spend your money on a nice gift, I think it deserves to be wrapped just as nicely. Below are a few pointers and tips to think about when wrapping your gifts. They will help you save your resources and money, and even if you are one who can’t stand wrapping, this list will help you streamline the process and make it a little less painful.

  • Pick a theme. I usually stick to a particular theme every year when gift wrapping, and this year was no exception. This does not have to be anything elaborate. This year I chose to wrap all my gifts with brown kraft postal paper. Sound boring? Not when you add a few small details…
  • Never underestimate the dollar store. Last year I picked up a few spools of ribbon from the dollar store. Not only were they cheap, but they added the perfect accents against the simple wrapping paper. I personally love the fact that they are super easy to tie (if you can tie your shoe, you can make a bow), and once you fluff them up, they look like to much more then what they really are. They are casual, yet elegant looking at the same time.

  • Add a personal touch with a recycled gift tag. Regifting is tacky. But reusing an old christmas card? Savvy. Keep your Christmas cards and cut out the design, punch a hole through a corner, and voila! With just a scissor and a hole punch, you’ve added a personal touch at no cost to you.

  • Don’t skip the details. I purchased a tube filled with 100 of these jingle bells for $1.50 at a craft store, and simply threaded a ribbon through it to attach it to a gift. Finally, as a last touch, I snipped some sprigs from my Christmas tree and tucked them into the ribbons (again, no cost). Not only does the gift look nice, but now it sounds and smells like Christmas, too.

Once you start to see materials for what they can be, I guarantee you that you will no longer be making a mad dash to Target for wrapping paper or throwing your money away on gift tags and bows. If you’ve already wrapped your gifts, hopefully this will help you get a head start for next year. Happy Holidays!

*Also, give back this season with another holiday tidbit: Instead of tossing all the holiday cards you recieve, send them to St. Jude’s. “Operated by Kids, Corp., a program for the children at St. Jude’s Ranch to learn entrepreneurship skills, the children participate in making the new cards by removing the front and attaching a new back. The result is a beautiful new card made by the children and volunteers. The benefits are two-fold: customers receive “green” holiday cards for use and the children receive payment for their work and learn the benefits and importance of ‘going green’.” Just be sure to cut off the backs of the cards before you send. You can mail all of your cards to:

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Recycled Card Program
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005


Alessandra Macaluso is the author of What a Good Eater! , Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey, and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible. She’s also a Qigong and Tai Chi instructor, and overall wellness advocate. Her work has been featured in several anthologies which can all be found on her Amazon author page, and she has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, TODAY Parents, and many other online publications.

Alessandra is a northerner-turned-southerner, enjoying the south with her children, Penelope and Ciro, and her husband, Greg.

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I hate wrapping presents. I love the the brown paper and ribbon idea. The package looks so nice who cares what’s inside it!!


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