19 December 2006

Brown Paper Packages Wrapped Up with String

I haven't posted much lately because I've been working on Super-Secret Christmas Projects. Yesterday, I finished wrapping all the presents and shipping them off to our family members. There are a few other little projects that I would still like to finish before Christmas but they are small things that can be sent Priority Mail instead of shipped with UPS.

It's quite a feeling of accomplishment to see the work of your hands wrapped up and ready to go. Nate and I personally handcrafted or altered about 50% of the gifts. After Christmas, I'll try to remember to post a few pictures of the projects.

Each year I consider wrapping paper very seriously. Much more seriously than it deserves considering. I LOVE LOVE LOVE fresh design patterns like these Snow & Graham papers.
But then I realize that I am:
a. too cheap to spend good money on...
b. a one-use product that will...
c. end up crumpled up in the trashcan in less than a week.

So I went back to my tried and true: newspaper with leftover yarn. It works great and doesn't look too bad either, if you're like me and love anything that has text on it.

I do have one rule that I generally follow. If there is more than one gift for a person, each gift get seperate wrapping. Why? Because 9/10ths of the fun of getting gifts is eye-ing all the packages under the tree and then unwrapping each little surprise. I don't like them all lumped together.

I have some tips for those who give gifts to those far away:

1. Consider the weight and bulk of your gift. If you are sending it, you will pay to ship large and unweildy gifts. If you are giving it to a traveller, he or she will have to pack it home in a suitcase or ship it to themselves. Last time the Wise and Bearded One and myself travelled for Christmas, we spent over $50 shipping home a box of gifts that we couldn't get into our suitcases.

2. Buy gifts that are worth shipping across the miles. If it's one of those small it's-the-thought-that-counts gifts don't just go to Walmart (ick) and buy a plastic thingamagig. Craft something with your own hands (even a computer-generated card is better than a plastic thingamagig). Burn a mix c.d. Buy something that the recipient can't get in their own town (Yoder popcorn, Strader pottery, or Stumptown coffee).

3. If you do find something in a big-box store that it perfect for the recipient, buy them a gift card and specify exactly what you'd like them to buy with it. Saves you the shipping fee, plus it lets him or her pick out something different if they so choose. And we Oregonians don't have to pay sales taxes so it even saves some money.

4. Amazon.com and many other websites will ship items for you and will often wave shipping fees if you spend more than X amount of dollars. From personal experience, it would be nice if they also gift wrapped for free (right now Amazon charges $2.99 and up) because it's terribly disappointing to open your Amazon package when it arrives in the mail only too late to realize you've spoiled your Christmas surprise. That is why under our tree there currently are 3 unopened mailers--I like the anticipation of the gift nearly as much as the actual gift.

Now that the gifts have been shipped the house is slowly being transformed from impoverished, dirty sweatshop to a cozy Christmasy home.

May your home be cozy and your packages arrive unharmed!


Anonymous said...

I love your reminder to use newspaper. Your gifts all look great! You also have very good tips for people who have far away friends and family. Thank you!

Lisa said...

I'm looking forward to the forthcoming (hint, hint) photos of your home-made Christmas gifts! You've got such great taste and great ideas. I try to make several of my gifts every year too, but this year I was running short on ideas, so I only got a few done. Happy New Year!

Deb said...

Thanks for the compliment, Lisa. I always have tons of ideas but the follow-through is lacking. I'll post my Christmas projects in the next couple of days.

I always remind myself that NOW would be the perfect time to start working on Christmas presents for next year. I've never managed to do that though!