Living Space

Fast, fabulous Christmas gift-wrapping

Tribune Media ServicesDecember 21, 2012 

Using the "spotlight system," wrap all gifts "to go" in green paper.


When Dec. 25 looks like an approaching train, you know it’s because you’re overloaded with things to do. Just shopping for gifts can be a monumental task, much less wrapping them attractively. What you need is a fast-wrapping strategy that will reduce that gift pile quickly. By using some simple techniques, you can have beautifully wrapped presents and more time to tick off the rest of the things on your to-do list.

Color coding

Don’t spend time on your hands and knees trying to find the presents you stashed under the tree for your in-laws before heading out for their holiday bash. Instead, use the “stoplight” system: Wrap all presents you’ll be taking to outside gatherings in green paper (green for “go”). Wrap all presents to remain at home in red.

For maximum efficiency, wrap all the green presents with the same paper, and red gifts likewise. This will make your mountain of packages look more unified, simplify wrapping, and make those gifts look oh-so-designer-chic. Before wrapping, be sure to separate your to-stay and to-go piles to streamline the process.

Make tags

When the time comes to pass out all those presents, one of the most time-consuming tasks can be determining who gets what. What you need is a way to identify every present at a glance – while adding some holiday flair to each.

Hate flipping gifts over and over to find the tag? The solution is to make your own tags and attach them to the front of every present. You can even make the process a family affair. Grab the kids and sit them at a table to make gift tags. Supply them with holiday-printed scrapbooking paper, hole punches and a bag of pipe cleaners in assorted colors.

Have your crew cut the paper into various shapes, punch a hole in each, add a pipe cleaner and affix a tag to the front of every present. As a fun alternative, use scissors to make scalloped edges on the tags and add cut-out holiday shapes (available in craft stores). Attach these with adhesive foam dots to make the tags three-dimensional.

Assembly line

This last tip will really speed up your wrapping operations. Put all presents in boxes and affix a sticky note indicating the recipient and the giver. Separate gifts into “to-go” and “to-stay” piles. Grab your green paper and wrap all the “go” presents first, making sure to put the sticky note on the wrapped gift. When all the boxes are wrapped, add ribbons and bows, plus your tags.


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