tips for simple holiday gift wrapping

I love a beautifully wrapped package, but honestly, wrapping gifts can be stressful for me this time of year. The gifts pile up, I have grand plans for wrapping Pinterest-worthy packages, and then the day before we're heading out of town, I find myself searching for more tape while I wrap a couple dozen presents. Not exactly a recipe for holiday cheer. Over the last few years, I've kind of honed in on some tools and strategies for keeping gift wrapping simple, beautiful, inexpensive and fun. 

ONE / Pick a holiday-neutral color scheme.

I used to have wrapping paper for every possible occasion. Babies, weddings, birthdays (boy), birthdays (girl), and Christmas each had unique papers and bags. Ironically, I found that even with all this paper, I was constantly missing what I needed. So I streamlined my supplies by picking a color scheme that works for the entire year. For me, it's kraft, red and white. I use these papers for Christmas, weddings, birthdays and everything in between.

This year, I was running low so I added a holiday-specific paper to my collection. If I don't use it all this year, I know it'll work for next year, since it goes with all of my stuff. My ribbon (I use kitchen string) and bags (kraft) also go with the color scheme. Super simple. And if I'm running low on supplies, it takes me no time to go through those giant bins of wrapping paper at Target since I know exactly what I need: red, white, kraft or some combination of those colors.

TWO / Gather your supplies in one place.

This is a big one for me, and while it took me years to nail this one down, it's probably intuitive for most of you. I used to have wrapping stuff all over the place: scissors in a kitchen drawer, tissue here, paper there, tags who-knows-where. Last year I bought this organizational item and it seriously changed my approach to gift wrap. Why? Well, it's a standing easel-type thing that hangs in a closet, so it takes up like no room. And it corrals all of my wrapping supplies, which I love.

It also limits my supplies. I can't have 47 rolls of wrapping paper because there just isn't room! And when it's time to wrap, I pull my wrapping station out of the closet and it has everything I need: tape, scissors, paper, bags, tissue, boxes, everything. So my advice is to pick a spot, like a drawer or a plastic trash can in a closet, whatever, and store all of your supplies in that one spot. Also, limit your supplies so they fit in your one spot. You'll always have what you need and you'll always know when you're running low.

THREE / Pick your favorite supplies and make them wrapping-specific.

What I mean by this is that I have tape and scissors that live with my wrapping stuff. I don't use them for other things, so when it's time to wrap a gift, I know I'll have what I need. Here are my favorite wrapping supplies:

  • wrapping paper in small rolls (I don't use the giant rolls because they don't fit in my storage thing)
  • invisible tape
  • 2-sided tape
  • pretty (and heavy-duty) scissors
  • tissue in white and a color
  • kraft bags
  • a roll of washi tape and a Sharpie
  • kitchen string in my color scheme (I have two rolls: red + white and gold + white)
  • white boxes that come in flat packaging (I buy mine in packages from the dollar store)

FOUR / Keep it simple and inexpensive.

Honestly, I bought the kitchen string on clearance at Anthro several years ago and I'm still using it. The small kraft polka dot paper was $1 per roll at Target last year. And for tags? In a pinch, I write a note in Sharpie directly on the paper or a name on washi tape and call it good. It's not a coincidence that when I finally simplified our wrapping supplies, I actually started to enjoy the process of wrapping gifts. I wasn't hunting for supplies or running out of anything. And I think our packages look better than they ever have in the past. It doesn't cost a lot of money, just a little thought, to make wrapping presents less stressful and more beautiful!

How do you like to get your wrapping done? Do you have any tips or tricks? I'd love to hear them. Happy wrapping!