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Wrap 'em up 

Why use boring old wrapping paper to conceal those special gifts? There are many more creative and unusual ideas out there – ones that will make the wrapping just as memorable as the present inside. Some of them are better for the environment than traditional wrappings. Here are some suggestions to make your gift-giving a little more gorgeous this year.

  • Use plain brown paper to wrap gifts. Tie them with colorful strips of cloth, and stamp holiday patterns on the paper.
  • Wrap odd-shaped gifts in cylindrical boxes, such as empty oatmeal canisters. Use acrylic paints or construction paper to decorate the containers and lids. Sprinkle on glitter for extra sparkle.
  • Find old-fashioned hat boxes at antique or thrift stores. These are sometimes so unique they’re gifts in themselves.
  • Buy holiday-themed plasticware at dollar stores, and put baked goods, small gifts or candies in them. The recipients can reuse them next year.
  • Wrap a little present in something bigger and outrageous – try a ring or a piece of jewelry in the bottom of a box of cereal, or go all the way and place a new pair of gloves on the driver’s seat of a new car.
  • Dress up your ordinary wrapping paper with holiday cut-outs. Use last year’s holiday cards, cut out the images, and glue them onto this year’s packages.
  • Slip theater tickets, gift certificates or cash into holiday crackers. Tie them to the tree, or to other gifts.
  • Go for the recycled look, and wrap gifts in newspaper. Use the sports pages for a hockey fan, the comics for kids, the cover of the Metro Times for anyone especially cool. Make bows from torn strips of newspaper twisted around a pencil to make them curl.
  • Instead of using paper at all, wrap your gift in a festive scarf, towel, throw or tablecloth – the wrapping will become a gift in itself, and it can even be reused again and again.
  • Go retro! Instead of wrapping a gift box, cover it with stickers in the shapes of flowers, peace signs and smiley faces.
  • Make color photocopies of pictures of yourself, your kids, or the gift’s recipient. Use them to wrap smaller gifts, and make gift tags from matching prints.
  • If you have (or can borrow) some energetic kids, give them a roll of newsprint and a set of finger paints in holiday colors. Let them make all the designs they can for as much of the roll as they want. When the paint dries, you’ll have a unique and unusual roll of wrapping paper. If you don’t have access to kids, try letting your dog or cat walk in nontoxic paints across the paper. Ideal for animal lovers!

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