Christmas Morning

12 Cute & Crafty Ways to Dress Up Gifts

Send in the animals: This is charming and witty and abundantly delightful! If a total stranger proposed to me this way, I would probably accept.

Raid your baking drawer: I cannot lie. I was skeptical of "cupcake liner bows." Like, what next, are we going to start giving each other macaroni necklaces now? But it turns out I'm wrong: these floral puffs are adorable.

Do your own dots: I am not saying there is anything shame in traditional, store-bought wrapping paper. I am saying that this DIY polka dot paper is low-key whimsical in the best possible way.

Embrace the season: Simple. Cheerful. Exceedingly seasonal. Baker's twine and jingle bells are a winning combination.

Consult a vintage map: This is great on a purely aesthetic level, and it's easy to personalize, demonstrating both your thoughtfulness and your sensitivity. Does your niece dream of California? Are you married to a Francophile? There is a map out there for all of us.

Go schoolhouse chic: Use black paper and white pens to create a chalkboard effect, for a stand-out look that's stylish, playful, and super easy.

Experiment with trims: Do not be limited by the tyranny that is ribbon! Instead, try subbing in fun and festive trims, by which I mean, whatever trims you happen to have on hand, or are on clearance at the craft store.

Make a mouse: This idea seems to be targeted toward children, but who among us does not appreciate a good mouse? Or maybe it's a rabbit? It's all in the ears.

Put a bird on it: As presented on the Free People blog, this project is among the more labor-intensive, but even if you're not up for the going all out with the color-coordinated floss-wrapped twig, the basic idea — use a bird instead of a bow — still stands.

Or put something else on it: Are we sensing a trend here? Anything can be a "bow," as long as it's fun.

Try a potato print: Nick Morley is a pro and it shows — his designs are spectacular — but there's a reason potato prints are a staple of elementary school art classes: you don't have to have A+ fine motor skills to come up with something reasonably snappy.

Add some sparkle: There are few things in this world more festive than gold tinsel. There are a whole bunch of ideas here, but they all boil down to some version of this: buy one of those gold fringe door curtain at a party store; destroy it; and glue/tie/tape the pieces to your presents in random but attractive configurations.

An exceptionally well-wrapped gift is a double present. You are giving the gift of whatever your gift is, but you are also giving the gift of joy. All presents are fun, but a beautifully packaged present is even more fun. Isn't it nice, in a warm, sappy way, to let someone know that you care enough not only to give them something, but also to wrap it with little jingle bells on top? That is thoughtfulness; that is love.

And (on a less warm, sappy note), while it is true that gift-giving is not technically "a competition" (I mean, I guess), there is no denying that all else being equal, the prettier package always wins.

So, with peak present season upon us, here are 12 of our favorite tips for turning regular-ol' wrapping jobs into Martha-level masterpieces.

  1. Send in the animals: This is charming and witty and abundantly delightful! If a total stranger proposed to me this way, I would probably accept.
  2. Raid your baking drawer: Admittedly, I was skeptical of "cupcake liner bows." Like, what next, are we going to start giving each other macaroni necklaces now? But it turns out I'm wrong; these floral puffs are adorable.
  3. Do your own dots: I am not saying there is shame in traditional, store-bought wrapping paper. I am saying that this DIY polka dot paper is low-key whimsical in the best possible way.
  4. Embrace the season: Simple, cheerful, and exceedingly seasonal, baker's twine and jingle bells are a winning combination.
  5. Consult a vintage map: This is great on a purely aesthetic level, and it's easy to personalize, demonstrating both your thoughtfulness and your sensitivity. Does your niece dream of California? Are you married to a Francophile? There is a map out there for all of us.
  6. Go schoolhouse chic: Use black paper and white pens to create a chalkboard effect for a standout look that's stylish, playful, and super-easy.
  7. Experiment with trims: Do not be limited by the tyranny that is ribbon! Instead, try subbing in fun and festive trims (by which I mean, whatever trims you happen to have on hand or are on clearance at the craft store).
  8. Make a mouse: This idea seems to be targeted toward children, but who among us does not appreciate a good mouse? Or maybe it's a rabbit? It's all in the ears.
  9. Put a bird on it: As presented on the Free People blog, this project is among the more labor-intensive, but even if you're not up for going all out with the color-coordinated floss-wrapped twig, the basic idea — use a bird instead of a bow — still stands.
  10. Or put something else on it: Are we sensing a trend here? Anything can be a "bow," as long as it's fun.
  11. Try a potato print: Nick Morley is a pro and it shows (his designs are spectacular), but there's a reason potato prints are a staple of elementary school art classes: You don't have to have A+ fine motor skills to come up with something reasonably snappy.
  12. Add some sparkle: There are few things in this world more festive than gold tinsel. There are a whole bunch of ideas here, but they all boil down to some version of this: Buy one of those gold fringe door curtains at a party store, destroy it, and glue/tie/tape the pieces to your presents in random but attractive configurations.
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