Crisp ribbons perfectly coordinated with elegant wrapping paper. Sharp, even corners. Edges of the paper perfectly trimmed and turned under. Tiny bits of invisible tape discreetly applied in precisely the right places. Some Christmas packages are so beautiful that you hesitate to even mar their perfection by opening them. The givers of these gifts are so skillful that they make gift wrapping into fine art.
I am not one of these people.
(Let's pause for just a minute to let all of you who know me get over your surprise.) Okay, that didn't take long.
I do, actually, have a piece of paper stashed in a closet somewhere certifying that I graduated from college with a major in art. It might seem logical, then, that I would be the artistic type when it comes to packages. Nope. I must have registered late the semester they offered Gift Wrapping 101.
My packages tend to come out lopsided. True, this may be partly because I never seem to have boxes the right size for the gifts. I tend to roll things up in several layers of paper or recycled plastic bags, creating odd-sized, lumpy parcels that I then try to camouflage with wrapping paper.
Even when I do use boxes, though, I never quite achieve that professional designer look. The wrong side of the paper always peeks out somewhere. The tape always shows. I never quite manage to cut the paper perfectly straight, even though my primary objective when I buy wrapping paper is to get a design with straight lines on it. And let's not even talk about ribbons. I think I used to have a bag of used bows somewhere, but I haven't been able to find it for several years.
I was intrigued, then, to read an article in this week's paper about decorator who teaches a class on creative gift wrapping. This woman makes her own boxes. She makes bows out of scrap ribbons. She creatively recycles materials from around the house. Among her suggestions for wrapping homemade canned goods was to use a hollowed-out piece of birch log. On her list of essential gift-wrapping supplies is something called "raffia ribbon."
I have no clue what raffia ribbon even is. I suspect from some of her suggested uses for it, however, that if I did encounter some I might commit a decorating faux pas by calling it "twine."
Obviously, this woman takes her gift-wrapping seriously. It's a good thing I didn't know about her class in time to sign up. I'd probably have flunked.
Or maybe not. She did have kind words for recycling by using the same gift bags year after year. And she said a popular style for wrapping this year is "shabby chic."
I don't know about "chic." "Shabby," though? That part, I can certainly do.
And we all have a hollowed out birch log handy, right?
Oh Kathleen, raffia is only paper ribbon…not to scary, cheap and looks great, I think even you could handle that. I enjoyed your post, and look forward to the “odd-sized, lumpy parcels’ which reminds me, I sent you a package on Wednesday so be looking for it. Love you.
I need some large gift bags and am considering sewing them out of my recycled dog food bags. We can compare packaging this weekend!
I go to a dollar store and get those big colorful bags, staple a tag on them and dump in the gift or gifts. Re-usable too. See?
I was losing sleep wondering where I was going to find all those hollowed-out birch logs. Raffia, now, actually might be my kind of ribbon. But if I wanted to have recycled dog food bags, I suppose I’d have to get a dog.