Relieving the Wrapping Responsibility

Wrapping gifts. 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.”
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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:

Gather Supplies

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:

  • Paper
  • Ribbon/Bows
  • Gift bags
  • Tissue
  • Tape
  • Tags
  • Boxes (various sizes)
  • Scissors
  • 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?

30 thoughts on “Relieving the Wrapping Responsibility”

    1. Lucky you, having a husband who will do it! My father does all the wrapping, but my in my house we split it up. Always good to have a teenager or college student on speed dial in case it gets down to the last minute!

  1. I like to wrap a little here and a little there and trickle out the gifts. I come from a family of early shoppers so I have plenty of time. I love your point about setting the ambiance. I like wrapping, but there are other dreaded tasks where setting the ambiance is all that gets me through.

    1. I need ambiance to get the beds made. For some reason, that is my least favorite task. So I try and get some music or an audiobook to distract me while I go at it!

    1. I enjoy it more now that I have the luxury of time. I used to find it stressful when I had a small window between dropping off and picking up children and I had to quickly haul everything out and try and wrap and then shove it all into invisible spaces. Seasons of life, I suppose. YOU are a beautiful gift wrapper and gift giver. Your love for showering others with this talent is evident, and I’m sure much appreciated:)

  2. I’m with Jamie.. I wrap as I go. I keep a master list of my purchases so I don’t loose track of what I have bought and for whom. I store my ribbons, wrapping paper, gift tags and scotch tape in a chest of drawers with very wide drawers. I love this system as I know exactly where to find my wrapping supplies any time I need to wrap a gift.

    1. I love the idea of a chest of drawers. Many people have one of these in an attic or basement that no one wants. It is perfect because it has all the storage, and a built-in flat surface on top to get the work done. Wonderful solution!

  3. I was wrapping presents yesterday and was just talking about wrapping paper services to my daughter. She said that would something she would do. So, I had her help A LOT with wrapping the presents for family and friends. LOL We have two bins that hold all our “holiday wrapping paper supplies”. This is separate from the wrapping paper station I have hanging from the door that I constructed from The Container Store Elfa product. We have wrapping paper in our house. Great way to be creative. =)

    1. So great that your daughter hopped in. Being able to wrap gifts is a good life skill, so why not involve the kids? i love the Elfa product as well. There are so many solutions for wrapping supplies, but it is important to intentionally designate some space because these things take up space!

    1. I think it is so smart to take advantage of the gift wrapping services offered in the store. If you are worried you will forget what it is, just add a post-it when you get home. It can free up a few moments that you may want to spend doing some other festive activity that you enjoy more!

  4. I’m a big fan of the sneaky gift storage locations. I usually store them in my empty moving boxes (I keep about 3-4 empty boxes for projects). I need to get started wrapping soon so it’s not all left to the end. . Thanks for reminding me.
    Susan recently posted…DIY Wintry Epsom Salt JarsMy Profile

    1. Moving boxes are a great solution because (as we organizers know!), they really conceal what is inside. I actually have two of them in my attic right now, full of wrapped gifts. Makes it easy when Christmas Eve rolls around to carry the boxes down and spread out the gifts.

  5. I love that you recommend using gift bags if you struggle with wrapping boxes! I’m a little gift wrapped challenged when it comes to having crisp corners and using minimal tape so gift bags suit me just fine! And I try to make it a point to put the to/from stickers (if the bag doesn’t come with a tag) on the inner tissue paper instead of the bag itself so the recipient can reuse it.

  6. I HATE wrapping presents – it’s the bane of my Christmas existence. My Mom used to wait until like 10:00 on Christmas Eve and then stay up most of the night wrapping all our gifts. I’m with you, I go with the wrapping station. I like having all my supplies right at hand. I bring my tablet downstairs and binge watch movies.

    Sometimes, I can bribe the menfolk to wrap each other’s gifts – they aren’t pretty, but they end up getting covered. I may try the college kid idea. I do take some time off work – I call it my “Christmas Sanity” week. I’m actually taking Wed through Fri this week to get the tree up, wrap a few gifts and get a headstart on the Amazon blitzkrieg! Black Friday is always way too early for me – I never know what I’m getting people that early on.

    I do have to hide the presents though. The kids have always been really good about not snooping through the presents, it’s the darn CAT I have to worry about. It’s worse than having a toddler around, he can’t leave anything alone!
    Adrian | AdriansCrazyLife recently posted…7 Terrific Tech Gifts for the Men in Your LifeMy Profile

    1. The cat is a whole thing unto itself. Saw a funny meme of a christmas tree hung upside down from the ceiling with the line, “Cat owners will understand”… too funny! I also love to watch movies while I wrap. Before the ipad, I used to drag the portable DVD player into the laundry room (where I wrap) and just go at it!

    1. There are a couple of groups where high school students donate time to wrap gifts for a donation of any amount. It works so well… you just drop a bag of gifts and come back later to pick them up! It is an easy event for any charity to run, especially with a couple of large rolls of gift wrap and bows from Costco!

    1. Wrapping as you purchase works so well if you can pull it off. In addition to alleviating the last minute burden, it helps keep spying eyes from stumbling upon their surprise too early!

    1. I cannot believe you wrapped your own gifts – that’s hilarious! It seems like people either love wrapping or hate it. It’s been interesting to read the responses and see who fits in which category. Either way, it’s nice to have the supplies on hand and ready to go.

    1. I have that rule about my sewing scissors. Not that I sew very often, but no one is allowed to touch them, because they are the only scissors that I know won’t get ruined by trimming a branch or cutting pizza:) If we wanted to be fancy, we could make a sign that says “Santa’s Workshop – Keep Out” and post it on Pinterest:)

  7. Great tips Seana! Never thought of these before. However this year, I’m not packing or wrapping many gifts unlike when I was still working in an office. I remember there was a Christmas Party with exchange of gifts every week. LOL. Now that I’m just home, my gifts aren’t even wrapped. I just give them right away. 🙂
    Rea recently posted…Canton King: Where Happy Place & Comfort Food MeetMy Profile

    1. Sounds like you were able to let go of quite a task. My office wasn’t nearly as fun as yours, with gifts every week! Gift giving is about showing love, so wrapped or unwrapped, it is all good:)

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