I am a gift wrapping novice. ‘Tis true. Recently a friend expressed great surprise when she learned that gift wrapping is not among my finest talents. While I love giving gifts and I enjoy looking at attractively wrapped packages, I have yet to express the artistic abilities that create a truly beautiful wrapped package. And I’m okay with that because the gifts I wrap are wrapped with love, and while they may not look like Martha Stewart wrapped them, they reflect good effort and look acceptable. Over the years, the following tips have helped me offer wrapped packages to those I love. And so I’m sharing these ideas today in the hopes that they’ll provide you with wrapping joy in the days ahead:

1. Gift bags and tissue paper are your friends. I can’t say enough good things about these gift wrapping options. Some of the many reasons why I love them:

  • Gift bags can be re-used by the recipient (yes, they can re-gift your gift wrap!). You’re green in other parts of your life. Why not go green with gift wrap, too?!
  • You can create soulful color combinations with purple and red tissue paper, or hunter green and silver.
  • If you’re traveling this holiday season and the TSA wants to unwrap Uncle Harold’s present, gift bags make the process super simple and Harold will never be the wiser on Christmas morning.
  • And if your recipient is an Alexandra Stoddard fan, come January they’ll be thrilled to tote their lunch to work in your gift bag.

2. Sharp scissors are a must. If you decide to wrap gifts with actual wrapping paper, sharp scissors will help ensure that your cutting is precise and as straight as possible. Sharp scissors are also helpful for curling ribbons beautifully.

3. Four hands are better than two. When it comes to wrapping large packages, four hands are hugely helpful. Grab a pal and some trusty tape, blast your favorite holiday tunes, and you’re good to go.

4. Want to get those corners even? Instructions (complete with photos) are just a click away. Gift wrapping experts understand that those of us who are novices need all the help we can get. I was shocked to find a number of Internet sites with step-by-step photos and tips on how to wrap the perfect gift. Who knew?!

5. Thought counts. During my childhood, my siblings and I used to create our own wrapping paper by drawing on butcher paper and cutting it to the size we needed. We had a ball decorating our wrapping paper, and the recipients enjoyed the original artwork. A former roommate loved using newspapers to wrap her gifts – especially when presenting gifts to news hounds and history buffs. You’ll find what works for you!

Enjoy your gift giving experiences this holiday season, and don’t put pressure on yourself. Truly, it’s the thoughtful factor that counts.

* Photo by Klaus Post