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christmas gifts

The Uncommon Life

Creative Gift Wrapping Tips to Get You Excited to Give This Holiday Season

December 10, 2015

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Giving gifts can feel great, but wrapping them? Not so much. Finding the perfect box and wrapping paper to fit your present are often the beginning of a tiresome process that often intimidates even the most thoughtful of gift-givers. We get it, more often than not,  it is simpler to just throw the gift in a bag with some tissue paper and call it a day. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Wrapping gifts can feel just as great as giving gifts if you’re armed with the right supplies, tips, and attitude.

We’ve put together some creative and easy-to-follow tips for gift wrapping that will make even the least seasoned gift wrapper excited to pull out the paper and bows.

Basic Tools of the Trade

It’s ideal to have the following supplies on-hand while gift-wrapping:

  • Wrapping paper (depending on the size of the gift you can also use newspaper or another fun alternative)
  • Straight-edge ruler
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape (you can use decorative tape or Washi Tape if you don’t have any double-sided tape)

 Tips for Wrapping Gorgeous Gifts

Gift Wrapping Tips

  1. Use a straight-edge ruler to measure the dimensions of your gift box. It’s okay if your measurement are a little off. You’re still learning. It’s better to have a little too much paper than not enough because you can always cut off the excess if you need to.
  2. Make sure you cut your gift wrap so that you have double the width of wrapping as the width of your box.
  3. Cut along the edge of the ruler to keep your lines straight.
  4. Make sure you have just enough paper left on each end to go up the height of the box.
  5. Use double-sided tape to avoid unsightly tape lines. Place the tape right along the crease at the edge of the package. If you don’t have double-sided tape, you can use Washi tape, so the visible tape lines get a fun touch of design too.
  6. Smooth out the edges by pressing along the creases after closing the wrapping with your tape.

Now that your gift is wrapped, you can add some special touches to personalize your gift even more:

Origami Ornaments

We re-used pages from our 2015 holiday catalog to create these cute origami gift ornaments. For the origami heart in the video below get the folding instructions here, for other fun origami projects check out this site.

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Gift Tags

Print our free gift tags here: http://www.uncommongoods.com/fun/free-downloads/free-downloads

  • Bonus tip: Use a decorative hole-punch to add extra pizzazz to your present.

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Twine

Measure your twine so it is approximately six times the width of your gift box. Wrap the twine around the top of the package, cross it at the bottom of the package and then wrap it back around to the front to create the shape of a plus sign. Insert your gift tag or other origami ornament over the twine before tying it in a bow or a knot.

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We hope these tips help make your holiday preparation a little easier, and add a little extra twinkle to your giftees’ eyes before they rip open their perfect presents. Happy holidays–and happy wrapping!

Gift Guides

Tip: Use Socks to Disguise Your Christmas Gifts

December 21, 2011

When I was a kid, my brothers and I would love to try to guess what our folks got us for Christmas. With so many mysterious treasures under the tree, taunting us, we couldn’t help but lift, shake, and squeeze them in hopes of guessing their contents. Okay, the truth is, we still do it.

Cassie, Luke, and Beau, 1993
Much to our dismay, my mom is an expert at making sure that her gift selections stay under wraps until Christmas. She has put rocks in boxes to throw off the weight, stashed tiny gifts in giant boxes, wrapped notes explaining that the gifts were actually somewhere else (e.g. “Look in the closet for your real gift”), among many other tricks. One of the sneakiest ways she’s gotten me, and yes, I’ve been fooled by this more than once, was the good ol’ sock trick–with new socks, of course.

The sock trick is an easy way to disguise an easily guessable gift. It’s also a way to get away with giving kids socks for Christmas. You’ll just need a few pairs of socks, wrapping paper, tape, and ribbon.

First, figure out how many pairs of socks it will take to cover your gift. The 100 Shapes Stencil Book is pretty small, just over 7 x 7 inches and about 1/2 an inch thick, so I used four pairs of socks to make my gift package extra cushy.

Wrap the socks around the gift, making sure that the “padding” covers both sides. If you keep the pairs together, you’ll get a little extra cushion.

Once the gift is hidden in socks, you can continue wrapping as usual. I start by placing the gift on the paper, then cutting off the amount I’ll need. I tend to stick to a simple wrapping technique. I fold the sides of the paper over the gift, tape, and fold the ends up toward the middle before taping again. I also finish it off with a simple a bow.

If you’re looking to get fancy with your wrapping technique, you can get some tips from a pro by checking out our How to Wrap a Gift Box and How to Tie a Gift Bow videos.

When you’re finished, the present will be nice and squishy, so the recipient will probably think they’re getting a sweater, decorative holiday towels, or something else less fun than the awesome gift you really picked out for them. And they get some bonus socks.

What’s your favorite way to disguise a gift? Have you ever been tricked by a sneaky gifter? We’d love to hear how! Share your sneaking gifting stories in the comments below.

Gift Guides

How to Ask for Cash (or Gift Certificates) for Christmas

December 8, 2011

We’ve all been there. December 26: The carpet beneath the unlit tree is bare (except for those fallen, dried-out pine needles), the last of the holiday feast is confined to tinfoil in the fridge, and you’re stuck with an over-sized sweater, tube socks, and a pre-packaged Christmas cookie gift box. You’re wondering if you should have just asked for cash.

If you’re saving up for something special, have a store you’d love to shop from, or just know that your friends and family don’t really get your taste, the answer is yes. It’s okay to ask for cash, or gift certificates, as long as you do it with class and follow a few etiquette guidelines.

According to the Emily Post Etipedia, it’s fine to tell your family members and close friends that you want cash for your wedding. We figure the same goes for holiday gifts. If your mom asks what you want, and you really want cash or a gift certificate, tell her how you feel. This also helps word-of-mouth bloom. If your mom knows you want cash, and your grandma asks your mom what you want, then your grandma knows you want cash.

However, there are gift-givers who might not feel comfortable with this idea, or think that they aren’t giving a “real” gift unless it’s wrapped in shiny paper. You know your friends and family best, so it’s your call whether to outright ask for money. For those folks who usually give traditional gifts, you may need to drop extra hints to let them know that you’d actually prefer the dough.

Gift etiquette expert Sherri Athay suggests spreading the word subtly in her advice to CNN Living. For example, if your old-fashioned aunt asks what you want for Christmas, you could say, “Oh, I’ve been saving up for…” or “I love anything from [your favorite store].” This will help her feel better about giving you cash or a certificate to the store in question.

While asking outright is fine when it comes to your parents, best friend, or another close relation, and dropping hints isn’t an etiquette no-no in most other situations, remember that no one is required to give you what you want and it really is the thought that counts. If you do end up with another “Happy Holidays” mug or a DVD of a movie you just watched on Netflix last week, you can always save it for a re-gift next year.

Gift Guides

Quiz: What Does Your Favorite Ornament Say About You?

November 21, 2011

With Thanksgiving this week, it’s just about time to deck the halls and get jolly! That tree isn’t going to trim itself, but before you start stringing popcorn chains and throwing tinsel all over the place, take a moment to look through our ornament lineup for 2011. Pick the one that speaks to you, and read on to find out what that choice says about your personality. It might just help you plan a seasonal look as uncommon as you!

Have you got your favorite ornament in mind? Okay, read on to see what your ornament (listed clockwise from top) says about your personality:

Egg Ornament-
You appreciate the beauty in everyday objects; you always see the sunny side.

Penguin Knit Ornaments-
You like traditional décor with an uncommon twist. You aren’t afraid to take something iconic and make it your own!

Funky Fish Tagua Ornament-
You know that unusual can be beautiful! You love to express yourself and know there’s nothing fishy about being unique.

Felt Cat Finger Puppets/Ornaments-
You’re always looking for double-duty décor. When these cuddly kitties aren’t hanging from your tree, they’re fun finger puppets.

Porcelain Nail Ornament-
You like to keep things simple. Now that you’ve hammered out your own personal style, you stick to modern designs, sleek shapes, and bright whites.

Sheep Ornaments-
You’re not afraid to show your softer side—whether you’re decorating for a crowd of guests, or sprucing up a space to enjoy independently!

Candy Cane Scarf-
You think the holiday season is sweet, but you’d rather show off your style by decorating yourself instead of a tree.

Not seeing the your perfect ornament in the graphic above? Check out more uncommon ornaments and find something sure to fit your holiday decor style!

The Uncommon Life

Giveaway: Family Traditions Journal

November 4, 2011

Every family has traditions. Some of them are big, annual events, like that special meal on your favorite holiday. Others seem smaller, like bedtime stories and inside jokes, but even those daily details help build lasting memories.

Our new Family Traditions is the perfect way to celebrate those memories and we’re giving away three, just in time for the holidays.

Whether it’s a plump turkey on Thanksgiving, Goldilocks and the Three Bears at bedtime, or a funny nickname with a funnier story behind it, the Family Traditions Journal is a way to capture those moments and pass traditions on from generation to generation.

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