I think we're all familiar with the saying, "It's the thought that counts" as it relates to gift giving and the spirit behind it. But when the focus is only on the gift being given, it overlooks one important element of this ritual: the thought put into the way the gift is wrapped or presented to the recipient. 

In my opinion, wrapping a gift in a thoughtful manner is nearly as important as the gift itself. Nothing makes me shudder more than gifts presented in tattered, second hand gift bags (shockingly, sometimes with the last recipient's name still on it!). Or even worse, those "soft wrapped" -- lumpy disasters that weren't placed into a box before wrapping. 

Take for example a gift I gave to a close friend this weekend at her baby shower. Her favorite color happens to be cobalt blue, and coincidentally, her first child is a boy. Keeping this in mind, I selected a fun, graphic wrapping paper, in colors of acid green and shades of bright blue, complemented by a matching ribbon. Instead of going the cutsie diaper and pacifier-themed route, in this case I wanted something that celebrated her style, not her impending arrival's.   

A common misconception is that a beautifully wrapped gift comes with a hefty price tag. Sure, you can spend a lot of money on professional gift wrapping services. You can also drop a hefty sum on high-end paper and ribbon at stores like Paper Source. But typically I like to pick up paper as I see it, often on sale or in discount stores, and have a large selection available when the occasion arises. 

In fact, the baby shower gift shown above was wrapped in paper I picked up for just $1 from Target in their discount bins in the front of the store. And the beautiful ribbon was saved from a gift my in-laws sent us for Easter. For just pennies, I was able to create a look that appeared fancy and high-end, but without the fancy price tag. 

Staying Organized

To streamline my wrapping supplies and the process, I have one drawer in our office set aside for just this purpose. Inside are all my rolls of wrapping paper, scissors, tape, gift tags, rubber stamps and an ink pad. My ribbon, tissue paper, and gift bags are all kept in our hall closet. I know where everything is, and I don't have to waste time search for scissors or other items when it comes time to wrap a gift. 

What are some simple tips you can follow, to make your gift look beautiful, thoughtful, and unique?

Wrapping Dos:

  1. Wrap the gift in accordance with the recipient in mind. Think about the occasion, their style and favorite colors.
  2. Place gifts in boxes (if the item doesn't come in one) before wrapping so the finished gift is neat, and wrapping is a cinch.
  3. Use beautiful ribbon. Skip the cheesy 1980s plasticky ribbon and instead opt for grosgrain, fabric or satin ribbon, reused from gifts received or picked up at your local craft supply store on sale or with a coupon.
  4. Add something meaningful or interesting as an accent. This could be a floral pick, a hand stamped gift tag, or other item that makes the gift unique.

When giving several gifts at once, at Christmastime for example, I select two to three papers that complement one another, and several ribbon designs of varying widths. I then mix and match them for a cohesive, designer look. It seems Lulu approved of my wrapping scheme last Christmas.

In case you were wondering, this weekend's baby shower gift consisted of puppy-themed onsies, receiving blankets, booties, hat, and bib. I also included a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one of the mom-to-be's favorite children's stories. The baby shower gift was a big hit, and, I even received compliments from other women at the shower on the "beautiful wrapping job." 

Mission accomplished.

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