Holiday Gift Wrapping Without Stress

Dec 15 2017

by Carrie Peeples

The Southern Coterie blog: "Holiday Gift Wrapping Without Stress" by Carrie Peeples (photo: Chanterelle Photography)
Beautifully–yet simply–wrapped presents adorn a display at Croghan’s Jewel Box in Charleston. (photo: Chanterelle Photography)

Yet another project on our to do lists this time of year, in addition to shopping for presents, writing and sending cards, attending and hosting parties is holiday gift wrapping. While I never want to treat a gift like a burden, sometimes this extra task can be the Grinch that tries to steal my Christmas. So I’ve perfected through years of practice some techniques and tips for holiday gift wrapping without stress and without sacrificing style or aesthetics.

Plain paper and pretty ribbon

Thanks to Maria Von Trapp, we can confidently wrap up “brown paper packages tied up with string” and know that our gifts are classically stylish. The beauty of kraft paper is that it can be for any occasion and you can get creative with the ribbon you use. I love a good grosgrain and keep a stash of pretty colors I can use at anytime. Nothing signals holiday like a red and green plaid ribbon which looks great on the brown paper. You can even tuck a sprig of holly or pine in the middle of the bow for an extra personal touch. For a more rustic look, use twine from the grocery store instead of ribbon.

While brown kraft paper is a great choice, you can also go with all white (sometimes called butcher paper) and use the same ribbons. The plain paper becomes a clean canvas for any artistic expression that you or your kids might create. Color or draw on the paper before wrapping to create a masterpiece to envelope the gift. My mom used art postcards on tops of gifts as part of the decoration. You can even forgo labels while writing pretty “to” and “from” directly on the box.

Select a color or paper scheme for all gifts

I like to select a couple of rolls of 2 different paper styles that coordinate and use these for the season. Buy a couple of rolls of each paper pattern and get coordinating ribbon. When you have only 2 options, it cuts down on the decision making time. You have confidence it will all look pretty under the tree or in the box to be shipped. There’s no running to the store at the last minute to find paper or ribbon because you planned ahead. 🙂

Don’t reuse ugly, wrinkled bags

Ditto for tissue paper. Taking the gift bag route is a super easy, last minute way to wrap a gift, especially an awkwardly sized one, but consider the bag’s condition first. These aren’t designed to last forever and they take a beating in transport.

I love using paper lunch bags or brown handled bags. Fold the top of the lunch bag and punch 2 holes off the center. Pull one ribbon 18″ long through each hole and tie a bow. Done! You can even do this with larger bags but I’d suggest using a larger ribbon and tie a huge bow!

Tie small brown or white handled bags closed with ribbons. These, once again, are usable for multiple occasions. You can draw on these with markers or paint or use rubber stamps to personalize them. For this very reason, I’m obsessed with Le Pens and Sharpies. 😉


Visual presentation is as important in gift giving as it is everywhere: food, decor, and clothing. It’s an extension of the gift and adds to its appeal and enjoyment. Why else would there be You Tube channels with millions of views of people opening gifts? Wrapping and presenting a gift doesn’t have to be an extra, painful chore if you plan a little ahead of time and get some basic supplies. It’s always the thought that counts most and presenting a beautifully wrapped gift is the cake plus icing & sprinkles!

Happy organizing!



Carrie Peeples View More Blog Posts from this Author

Carrie Peeples is a life saver for people who are too busy to get their homes organized. Her specialty is creating beautiful & functional organization systems that makes you feel like you’re in control again.
Through her proven process of evaluating how you function in your home and clearing clutter, she’s here to organize your home and teach you the steps to manage it on your own.

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