Back to Archives

Beating the holiday wrap

This year, folding your gifts in the Weekly Volcano just isn’t going to cut it

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

I have decided that this year is going to be different. I will not try to stretch the rolls of generic Christmas wrap and tidy, single color bows I’ve bought over the years at Hallmark and Rite Aid. This year I will break the mold. This year I will wrap in elegance and style.

One way I can beat the Hallmark paper “wrap” is to choose handled gift bags with tissue paper positioned strategically across the top opening to hide the treasure I’ve placed inside. But these drugstore/card store bags have become almost as ubiquitous as the “cheaper by the dozen” packets of snowman and candy cane-filled rolls upon which many gift givers continue to rely. It turns out, however, that I have alternatives.

This year my journey toward freedom from the commonly-wrapped gift began at the only paper products specialty store I’ve ever been to: Paper Zone, off Highway 16 and Union at 3304 S. 23rd St. (in the Target, Office Depot and Top Food complex). Yes, the dreaded generics are there, but so are some refreshing wrapping alternatives. For example, Paper Zone stocks an assortment of “designer papers” — simply, but tastefully patterned papers, usually in 20x30-inch sheets. Also available are some even more distinctive handmade papers, many with delicately patterned images ranging from plant leaves to animals to Asian calligraphy. The designer papers are priced at about $3.50 per sheet, while the handmade, textured sheets cost some $4.50.

There are still more supplies for the more individualistic gift wrapper. Paper Zone stocks, for example, not just common-style gift bags, but also a line of plain, single-colored gift bags, as well as reams of plain paper that range from white butcher paper to grocery bag-colored paper and colored craft papers. These are sold in rolls and priced between 29 and 49 cents a yard.

Why would I want to buy blank bags or lengths of paper? Because of what I can add to them in the way of custom design elements, that’s why.

The choices for gift wrap accents are many. Area gift shops sell an impressive array of Christmas ornaments, many of which can be incorporated into a package’s entwined length of string or ribbon. Selections of small ornaments are everywhere: I found them at the Washington State History Museum gift shop and Grassis Fine Gifts and Collectibles in Tacoma’s Museum District, as well as at the gift shops of Tacoma’s Proctor District — Giardini’s, the Pacific Northwest Shop and the Old House Mercantile shop. But I found the greatest number of wrapping and accenting options at the Tacoma area’s art and craft supply stores — Artco on 6th Avenue across from K-Mart and Michael’s at South 38th and Pine and in Lakewood.

Ideas for alternative yet elegant gift wrapping are scattered throughout these large-scale stores. Both currently feature Holiday décor and decorations 30- to 50- or even 60-percent off. These include artificial berry sprays and garlands, plus handmade ribbon bows and discounted rolls of ribbons, from narrow to wide. Also offered are tastefully illustrated decorated gift boxes and themed gift baskets in various colors and themes, as well as some studded with miniature Holiday balls and animal figures.

In the end, then, I found no shortage of ideas or supplies for creating unique, personalized coverings for the gifts I so carefully choose and buy. Rather than limit myself to common, overused rolls of paper and ribbon this year, I will fill the spaces under the trees of my family and friends with a blend of unique, self-decorated bags and packages, accented with colorful sprays and garlands. I will place my carefully chosen gifts in colorfully designed, printed gift boxes. I will present friends and loved ones with little bonus gifts (Christmas ornaments) affixed to my already intriguing boxes and basket containers. My gifts will rock.

comments powered by Disqus