If you are staring at a pile of unwrapped gifts and dreading the next few weeks, here are some suggestions to “get your jolly back.” The first and best way to handle the wrapping is…
…get someone else to do it!
Some charities offer gift wrapping services as fundraisers. College kids hungry for cash might be more than willing to help. A babysitter might like to earn some extra $$ after the kids go to bed. Or maybe you have a friend who loves wrapping and would be willing to “swap” holiday chores. Try tossing an offer up on Facebook and see what happens!
If you can’t find someone else to lift the task from your shoulders, then make it as pleasant as possible for yourself. Here are the steps:
Having everything you need at your fingertips is going to streamline the whole process. You want to be able to leave these where you wrap, so don’t grab from the kitchen drawer – get some dedicated supplies. At a minimum, you will need:
- Gift bags
- Boxes (various sizes)
- Large shopping bags (with handles) for relocating gifts once wrapped
- Pens for labeling
Click here to see some ideas for how to store these items. If you struggle to wrap paper around a box, I recommend you use gift bags or pre-decorated boxes. The best place to stock up on these supplies in a Dollar store. Decorated boxes are so quick because all you need to do is stick a label and a bow on top and you are done! Likewise, if you have an extremely large object to wrap, you might want to invest in some large bags like these. While these supplies may represent the outlay of a little more money up front, they are reusable. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself what is more valuable to you – the time or the money?
Set up a “Wrapping Station”
While not everyone can have a room dedicated solely to wrapping gifts, all of us need to dedicate some space to this activity during the holiday season. Ideally, this is a place where you can:
- keep your supplies;
- work on a flat surface; and
- close the door.
Nothing is more frustrating that hauling out all the gear, only to be interrupted by curious eyes! Since most of us can snatch only short periods of time to wrap, we need to be able to start and stop our wrapping without having to clear everything up and put it away. For these reasons, I recommend against using the kitchen table – it is simply too public. A better place would be a laundry room, basement, office or master bedroom. Whichever room you pick, don’t work on the floor. If you don’t have a table in the room, set up a large flat surface at waist height, such as a card table, piece of plywood set on two stools/sawhorses, or even a large, cleared-off dresser. Remember, if you are setting this up for the holidays, it is temporary. Make it functional… you can tear it down in January.
Set The Ambiance
Few people long to spend time in a space that is dark and dreary. If you want to enjoy the process this year, make sure your wrapping station is a place you like to be. Have a radio or your phone nearby to play music. If you love holiday movies, perhaps bring your laptop or a portable DVD player in. Be sure to have great lighting. Maybe light a scented candle, or have a TV turned to ESPN. Whatever YOU love is what is important. See this as “me time” to escape from the chaos.
Organize Before Wrapping:
Once gifts start disappearing into boxes and paper, it is easy to lose track of what you have. Before you begin, group gifts by recipient and put together a quick “cheat sheet” overview. Then, in addition to the “to/from” label, put a post-it note on the outside of each wrapped gift saying what is inside. This is particularly helpful if you wrap in small snippets of time throughout the month. When the time comes to give the gift, simply remove the post-it.
Designate Gift Storage.
Some people put wrapped gifts right under the tree, which is easy. If your tradition is to hold them until Christmas Eve, you need to think about where to keep them until the big night. Some simple solutions include:
- large plastic bins in a garage/attic/locked porch
- in a closet
- in the trunk of a car or cargo storage area of an SUV (if the car is in a safe area and locked)
- inside an empty cooler
- under a bed
- at the bottom of a pop up hamper filled with “dirty” clothes
- in suitcases
- in a cardboard box labeled with boring items (e.g. “tax records 2016” or “study guides”)
- an extra garbage can in the garage or basement (make sure no one accidentally puts it out for pick-up!)
- in a bag behind a treadmill or other exercise equipment
- at someone else’s house (e.g. a friend or relative)
Decide ahead of time where you will put the wrapped gifts so you can transport them immediately to their secret hiding spot.
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Giving gifts should bring you joy, so do what you can to minimize any part of the process that you don’t enjoy. What tips do you have for making wrapping easier?