Saturday, November 24, 2007

twigghugger's Guide to Surviving the Holiday Season - Part 2: The Art of Wrapping "Nothing!"

So! You've decided that transitioning away from giving and getting stuff that will contribute to clutter, is for you. However, at the same time, perhaps you are also a little concerned that the actual giving experience could be a little underwhelming and impersonal.

Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Because you won't be frantically running around shopping, that should leave you with more time and energy to take a more creative approach to "wrapping" or presenting your intangible gifts. With a little imagination, you can have a lot of fun doing it. You can also put all those little "couldn't bear to part with" snippets of wrapping paper, old greeting cards, bits of ribbon, small gift boxes and other baubles you have stowed away to good use.

Imagine, de-cluttering and giving gifts at the same time! If I'm not mistaken, that's a two-fer right there!

Printer Prowess

If you've got a laser or ink-jet, color printer, NOW is the perfect time to take a moment to actually check out some of those e-newsletters you've probably been receiving but ignoring, from your printer vendor each month! Or, to take a second look at those inserts that accompany your ink-cartridges. Both often describe all sorts of fun, exciting and hopefully simple projects you too can make with your very own printer.

For our purposes, this will mostly involve designing and creating unique certificates or note cards in order to inject a little something special into your "personal favors" or gift card exchanges. I'm sure you will be quite amazed at what you can come up with and that your printer can gracefully jump through your artistic hoops.

In The Ultimate Cardmaker: 180 Card Ideas & 20 Essential Techniques" edited by Sarah Crosland (ISBN-13: 978-0-7153-2596-4), there's a wealth of card ideas that you could probably adapt for non-tangible gift presentations. I picked it up last week (ah yes...craft books are one of my weaknesses!)

That's a Wrap!

As hinted above, wrapping intangibles can provide excellent opportunities for making use of the odd bit of wrapping paper and various other gewgaws. In "Simply Green Giving: Create Beautiful and Organic Wrapping, Tags, and Gifts From Everyday Materials" (ISBN-13: 978-0-06-112277-4), Danny Seo has a variety of clever gift wrapping ideas that make use of items you might find around the house (for you or I they’re clut-ter-ing the house) or which can be picked up inexpensively at flea markets or thrift stores.

It's a small book with only four chapters, but I think it packs quite a wallop:

  • Chapter 1: Cards and Tags
  • Chapter 2: Boxes
  • Chapter 3: Gift Wrap and Bows
  • Chapter 4: Handmade Giving
Check out Chapter 4, p.102 for a cute way to gussy up that otherwise, innocuous little gift card.

In addition to his book, Seo has a blog with a never-ending parade of creative and innovative, but inexpensive gift or reuse ideas.

Another website with fun wrapping ideas is WrapArt, but, I'm sure there are plenty of other sites like it out there.

Below are some examples of my Inner Krafty Kat in action. Be forwarned! The pix ain't fancy, but they should give a more visual idea of what I'm talking about. These are a few items from my very own wrapping stash: ribbon, tissue paper, bows, and a box! And then, what I did with those items (MacGyver eat your heart out!)

Here is another gift that I wrapped using a technique from the Wrap Art site:

Now, Tag IT!

Old greeting cards are a great alternative to those drab, store bought gift tags so go through that stash (and I know you've got one!) and see what you can come up with. Colorful, shiny, or sparkly cards are good choices. With a hole punch and some ribbon you'll be good to go. You can cut them up into rectangles and take advantage of the random, colorful patterns that emerge, or cut out elements of the card itself, which might lend themselves to making unique or decorative tags. There will probably be snowman, ornaments and other holiday icons a-plenty to get the job done.

If you're feeling particularly ambitious you might have a go at re-using....are you ready for this one....? Old business cards to make a more elaborate gift tag! Because you and I both know, you can't seem to order less than 10,000 of them at a time and invariably the information will probably change before you can possibly use them all. Head right over to Chapter 1 , p. 2 of Seo's "Simply Green Giving" to get the low down on making these tags, as well as a host of other innovative gift tag ideas.

Anyway! That should keep you busy (and clutter free) for the moment!

Happy Wrapping!

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