When I was younger, I didn't really get the whole "preparing" for Christmas thing. You buy a gift, wrap it, and call it a day. However, now that I'm older, I'm realizing it doesn't always go like that, and to be honest, I don't always want to go like that. I want Christmas to be special, which involves some time and effort to make it that way. Then add in trying to do special on a budget, and whoa, the time and effort involved now triple. Not having the money or not wanting to spend tons of money is totally understandable (that's definitely me this holiday season), and you shouldn't have to sacrifice sharing Christmas magic with your loved ones because of this. Thankfully, I've started to master this partnership of special and on a budget. However, you have to be willing to put in some extra time and energy and most of all, start early!
Stores prey on people who wait to the last minute then rush out and buy a full price gift, a last minute card, and last minute wrapping supplies. These people (i.e. my husband) don't have a lot of leverage, they're in a pinch, so they'll pay the money whether it's a crappy deal or not. So the take home message here (and for the next couple of weeks) is start now, start early! The first place I'm suggesting to start (and the first place I have started this year) is gift wrap. Now, I could write an entire post on the power of a beautifully wrapped, present, but I'll keep it short. Presentation is important. It's a first impression, and we all how many chances you get to redo a first impression. Beautifully wrapped gifts say, "You are special, you deserve beautiful things, and I care about you enough to take the time to put that big bow and gift tag on the package." And while I love a beautiful gift wrapped package, I don't love the price tag that can come with all the wrappings and trimmings. If by some chance you won the lottery or don't care about price, you should head over to The Container Store right now for their to die for gift wrap. However, for those who of us who haven't won the lottery, lets chat about some ideas for making a gift look extra special without the extra price tag.
1. Put the bags down. That's right people, gift bags are a cop out. Now, as I say that, I recognize that some gifts just don't work in a box. In those cases, a bag is warranted, given that it has a beautiful bow, gift tag, etc. etc., but when you can use a box, use one! It has a better shape, allows for big bows and beautiful wrapping paper, and most of all, shows you took the extra time for the gift recipient. Boxes are available in bulk at Target, Walmart, etc., but for a more budget friendly option, make sure you ask for a box when you buy the gift. Stores won't ask you if you want one, you have to ask them nicely and then they'll pull out a box from below the magic counter. Since some stores don't offer boxes or if you're giving a homemade gift and still want a box, I have gotten in the habit of asking for a box whenever I buy anything during the months of November and December. Even if I'm just shopping for me, I'll ask for a box so that I have one when gift time rolls around.
2. Make pretty paper a priority. Wrapping paper is a priority for me, but it's often way pricier than it should be. Luckily, Target has stocked their dollar bin this year with lots of mini wrapping paper rolls. Not only are these rolls a dollar, but they're minisized so they can be easily stored in your home or in your suitcase if you're wrapping upon arrival. They're 40 square feet of paper, which is the same size as the full price rolls back in the holiday section which range from 2 to 7 dollars. A roll of holiday paper at the Container Store or the Hallmark Store can cost up to $10.99 per roll (yikes!) So I'm telling you, these dollar bin rolls at Target are a steal! Stock up now because they sell out quick. And if you live in the same small town as me, good luck getting them because I emptied one of the Targets out already :)
5. Add an embellishment. Forgo the traditional big bow, and instead, add a sweet and unexpected embellishment. Add a candy cane, a lollipop, or some pink bracelets for the little princess in your life. Christmas ornaments also make great embellishments for your gifts; just make sure they're not glass. The Dollar Store, Dollar Bin, and the candy aisle are all great places to find these little treasures. Keep the embellishment small in price so the gift inside is still the main focus, but watch people squeal over receiving a gift on the outside of the package.
I could go on and on about my affair with gift wrap, but I think I should stop here. (If you read to this point, I am impressed!) So don’t delay, get out and start searching for deals on boxes, paper, bows, gift tags, and embellishments. The good stuff goes early. And with all of these tips, remember, it’s not about having perfectly wrapped package. Many of my boxes still have gaps or bulges of paper, but it’s the thought that counts and makes your loved ones smile. Besides, I’m pretty sure that giant red tulle bow hides most of my mistakes :) Happy wrapping yall!