RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Christmas

Holiday Help Part 4: Gift Wrapping and Presentation

Posted on

gift_wrapping_w

Hard to believe but we’ve been working on our plan for a calmer holiday season since September.  Are you more in control, more intentional?

Now is NOT the time to panic but rather to look back and see how well you’ve thought through your gifting and budget and consider how you’ve managed time and holiday stress.  If you’re not as ‘together’ as you’d like to be, don’t beat yourself up.  Life gets in the way of our neat, clinical plans and we just adjust as we go.  I personally strive to live in a state of continuous improvement in every aspect of life – never really disappointed but never completely meeting all those idealistic goals.  And, if you’re more ‘together’ than ever, give yourself some well-earned credit.   After all, next year is yet another opportunity to become that the fine tuned organization maverick you’ve always wanted to be!

This month we’re going to tackle what can be the least favorite part of gifting – wrapping and presenting those special items.  Unfortunately, this is also often a source of cost over-runs.  The tips I share here are intended to get your packages wrapped in an attractive, cost and time effective manner.  This post will not land you a spot on your local morning news show as a ‘gifted wrapper’; best to you if that’s the notoriety you seek and please share your tips with our readers if that’s where your skill level lies, we’d love to hear from you.

Color Scheme

Save money by purchasing two large rolls of  sturdy weight, coordinating reversible paper.  I use rolls of Hallmark paper available at Sam’s Club.  Don’t be lured by multiple roll boxes of paper at low prices.  Often these are thin papers which easily tear and many only contain enough paper to wrap one-two boxes each.

Keep in mind the individuals whose gifts you’re wrapping as you’re selecting paper – are you wrapping children’s packages? men’s? co-workers?

Add variety to your packages by selecting two or three different rolls of ribbons that work with your reversible papers.  Again, Sam’s Club is a great source of ribbon at Christmas time.  Their rolls are well-priced, 50 yards and available in many coordinating patterns.  Plus most are wire-edged making it easier to tie a pretty bow and making the 50 yard roll a good investment as bows can be re-shaped and re-used for a couple years if properly stored.  But at the price of Sam’s Club ribbons, I don’t feel bad throwing them out each year when the unwrapping is done.

Will you need tissue paper?  For the inside of garment boxes? Or, to wrap around those odd-shaped gifts that are ‘un-boxable’?  If so, select a sufficent size package of a color that coordinates with those reversible rolls.

Tools Needed

In addition to the paper and ribbon, you will want boxes, tape, scissors and a large flat surface at a comfortable height such as kitchen table or counter.  An often forgotten wrapping space is the folding table/counter in the laundry room. A bed can also serve as a good surface if you first place a large cardboard box on top of it.

Appropriate boxes are available at dollar stores, drugstores and big box stores in a wide variety of size combinations.

Neatness Counts

The simplest step to achieving stunning packages is to be neat – cut straight lines, fold and crease paper; use small, strategically placed pieces of invisible tape.

I recommend you also keep your wrapping space neat so you don’t spend time searching for the tape, scissors, gift tags, etc.

Strategy

Some like to wrap as they buy gifts.  To me this means repeatedlygetting all the supplies out and cleaning up, having to remember what’s inside each box (this dilemma can be solved by writing the package contents on a post it note and attaching the note to the box).

I prefer to do as much wrapping at one time as possible by grouping each person’s gifts together.  I take a moment to assess how I’m going to use those two rolls of reversible paper and colored ribbons to create a wrapping ‘style’ for each person.  Sometimes I wrap all of one individual’s gifts in the same print; sometimes I use all the patterns.  My favorite way to personalize a set of packages for one person is to create a tower.  I affix the components of the tower with two pieces of tape rolled into continuous pieces so as to form two-side tape without the expense. I then tie a pretty ribbon around the tower with the bow at the very top.

A good solution for several smaller items is to wrap each in tissue paper and put them all in one box for final wrapping.  Makes a fun gift for the recipient to unwrap as well.

Ribbons and Bows

Tie ribbons and bows as you’re comfortable.  If you’re seeking a higher level of ‘bow-dom’ consider the tips  in this bow making video. The demonstrated bow making technique can be used with any width ribbon as you most likely won’t want the size bow make in the video.

If this wrapping stuff is not for you or there’s just no time this year, don’t hesitate to find a teen-ager or gift shop that will be happy to do your wrapping for you.  Teens generally work for gas money or rides; gift shops generally charge anywhere from $3 to $9 depending on package size and complexity.

When the wrapping is done regardless of who does it, be sure to take a well-earned break and kick back knowing you’re ready for Santa’s arrival! Have a Merry Christmas!

Holiday Help: Getting Started – Part 1 of a 4 Part Series

Posted on
Holiday Help: Getting Started  –             Part 1 of a 4 Part Series

This is the time when we cling to the last glimmer of summer. The kids are back in school. The big box stores have, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas merchandise available.  But why do ‘they’ rush the holidays so much?  It’s time to start thinking about the holiday season you think.  Why can’t Thanksgiving goodies not appear on shelves until October 31st? Why can’t the Christmas and Hanukkah season kick off on Black Friday?  After all there is the better part of four months to do all that needs to be done to make the holidays special and create memories.   Why rush life away?  Why all the commercialism? Why be a pawn of some number crunching merchandiser tucked away in a big box home office?

Being relatively new to retail sales, I initially held firm to the thought that the end of one fall holiday signaled and actually permitted the next fall holiday to appear on shelves. During my first few years, I had a new shop in an developing area and witnessed people came in starting the last week in August ‘to just look’.  They indicated they’d ‘be back.’  Didn’t see them until the New Year.

I slowly came to realize that ‘just looking’ in August is code for ‘I-want-to-get-my-holiday-gift-giving-shopping-done-but-I’m-not-admitting-that-to-anyone-yet’ and their lives really did get so busy where they didn’t have time to come back until the Christmas wrapping papers had been recycled.

The truth is both retailers and consumers have pushed and pulled one another to the current reality where you can (and should) do your fourth quarter shopping by early September.

The 100 days will fly by and be filled with lots of “to-do’s” including those that get added to your list at the last minute by other people.  Gifts To Go has developed a four part approach to helping you stay sane by pacing yourself looking at the entire holiday season and developing your personal plan of attack. We’ll publish one of the four parts each month now through early December.

The series posts will appear as follows:

  • September 2016 – Holiday Help: Getting Started
  • October 2016 -Holiday Help:  Budgeting, Shopping and Traveling
  • November 2016 –   Holiday Help: Shipping and Packing
  • December 2016 – Holiday Help:  Gift Wrapping and Presentation

And now, let’s get started .   This month’s task is to sit quietly with a pen/paper or iPad and think through each of the bullet points we raise below. Once you have your responses sit with your significant other (and anyone else with the clout to alter your plans) to combine your thoughts and resolve any differences.  Here goes:

  • To whom will you be giving gifts?  Immediate family/household? Extended family within an hour’s drive?  Extended family living more than an hour away? Friends? Kids’ friends? Co-workers? Teachers? Service providers such as hair stylists, delivery persons, landscapers, drivers?

It’s too early to be overly-concerned about what those gifts will be, you want to determine who gets gifts first and then work on Budgeting and Shopping in Part Two.

  • Where will you be spending the holidays (consider Thanksgiving and Christmas or Hanukkah)? Will your significant other and other immediate family members be with you? Will you be the host? Will you be traveling? Will you need a pet-sitter? Do you need extra chairs for the dining room table?  Do you have sufficient place settings? Will you want to repaint the living room?  If you’re not at home, will you be staying with friends or family or hotel? Will inclement weather possibly affect your plans?  Do you have a celebratory back up plan if so?

It’s important to iron out the ‘where’ and ‘who’ question with everyone who might have an opinion that could impact you (spouse, college aged children, in-laws, close friends).  Don’t wait for them to start the conversation with you.  We recommend getting this one settled early as we’ve seen too many holiday plans turned upside down and budgets blown when a sister and her new husband decide at the last minute they were joining you at your home.

  • Will you participate in multiple celebrations?  In different locales?  Are you aware of all the people involved in each festivity?  When will each occur? Will you need a ‘divide and conquer’ plan where you and your significant other are in different locations on the holiday due to family/friends in different areas? Will you then celebrate again when you reunite?

When you’re comfortable you have identified and resolved the ‘who, where and when’ questions, start to tackle the ‘what’ question before we take your holiday planning one step further next month by establishing a budget and creating the to-do lists.