It’s standard practice to put a lot of thought into a gift for a loved one. It’s sought out over time, selected with the warmest of intentions, and given with a smile. But the same can’t necessarily be said about wrapping that gift up. When the holidays are in full swing, papers and bows are often thought of as just a means to an end.
Trisha Sprouse, the founder of lifestyle site Vignette, thinks this step should never be overlooked. “Anyone can grab a gift card, or stash an item in a gift bag and call it a day. Heck, I’ve been guilty of it myself,” she says. “But have you ever received a gift that was packaged so well that you hesitated to open it because you wanted to stop to admire it? Think of that as your duty as gift-giver: to create a moment of pause, by adding a little something extra that lets the recipient know you care.”
But wouldn’t it be amazing if this “little something extra” didn’t take that much effort? After all, people’s schedules are pretty packed during the holidays. Sprouse understands, and has plenty of simple but effective ideas. Like stepping out in her yard to find a bit of greenery to tuck under a ribbon, or wrapping a present in a linen tea towel for unexpected texture (and an extra gift).
“The key to elegant gift wrapping is simplicity,” she says. “Gift giving should be a joyful experience, not a stressful one. So steer clear of embellishments that make it feel more like a dreaded task than an opportunity to have fun and be creative.” Here are five ideas for elevating your present-wrapping game, without breaking into a sweat.
1. An Ornament Keepsake
What you'll need: Ornament, Ribbon Time: 5 minutes
“Give two gifts in one by tying a small ornament to the top of the gift,” says Sprouse. “It adds a festive detail while also serving as a small keepsake to remember the occasion.” All it takes is tying an ornament to the ribbon that will then be wrapped around the present.
What you'll need: Chalkboard paper or chalkboard spray paint, chalk Time: 10 minutes
“By wrapping gifts with chalkboard paper, you can write a heartwarming sentiment directly on the package,” Sprouse says. “A handwritten message or small illustration is simple, but sweet.”
This process is blissfully straightforward: Buy chalkboard paper—not black kraft paper—and use it to wrap your gift. If you’d rather use what you have, Sprouse suggests spraying leftover wrapping paper with chalkboard paint instead. From there, illustrate the paper with a note or a doodle. “And if you mess up, just erase and start over,” she adds.
“A double-layer bow feels more buttoned up than a classic bow,” she continues. “It instantly gives off the vibes of a fancy department store, but it’s as easy to make as it is elegant.”
Start by cutting a length of ribbon and folding the ends to its center to form two loops. Glue those loops in place with a glue gun. Next, wrap the center with more ribbon to hide the seam. Finally, glue the bow onto a longer strip of ribbon, and cut v-shaped notches on each end. Glue it all to the center of a gift box.
“A black-and-white photo printed from the recipient’s Instagram feed makes for a really thoughtful gift tag,” says Sprouse. “It could be a portrait, a cool landscape, or perhaps their favorite vacation moment.”
To begin this project, take a screenshot of the Instagram picture. Apply a black-and-white filter to the photo, and then print it out on cardstock at a 20 percent scale. Leave a ¼-inch border on the sides and bottom of the cardstock and a 2-inch border at the top. Cut out the image and clip the top corners diagonally. And finally, punch a hole in the top center, and tie the image to the gift with a piece of twine.
5. Floral Gift Toppers
What you'll need: Mini grapevine wreath, dried florals, scissors, floral wire, twine Time: 20-30 minutes
“Dried floral wreaths bring some earthiness to pretty packages,” Sprouse says. “Plus, they can be saved and reused as decor afterward.”
This project gets underway by bundling three to four dried floral stems together, and then wrapping them with floral wire. Once you have two to three bundles, attach them to the grapevine wreath with wire. Next, conceal the wire by wrapping twine around it, and then use more twine to attach the wreath to the gift.