But come Christmas, I've come full circle back to wrapping paper. And not just any wrapping paper. My paper of choice is Hallmark, partly because it's sturdy, which is important in a household of cats. The patterns are wonderful, too, but the big selling point for me is the grid on the back.
I'm going to blame this particular fetish on my brother-in-law, Rick. In Tom's family, his mom and siblings have always said they can tell if a gift is from Rick because of how beautifully wrapped it is, homemade bows and all.
I don't consider myself especially competitive (except when it comes to my kids), but I'd hate for our gifts to be an embarrassment either. When I discovered gorgeous, sturdy holiday paper with grid lines on the back, I thought I'd hit pay dirt! If my gift wrapped packages weren't the most lavish, at least they could be neat.
Tom used to be the gift wrapper in the family. Somehow that task has moved to me. (Don't worry, that meant he's had to take over the Christmas cards. Wait a minute, we've gradually had more gifts to wrap and fewer cards to send. Maybe I need to rethink this.) Our dining room table grows to its full seven foot length for Thanksgiving and stays there until New Year's. From the first of December until Christmas week, there's paper and tissue and bows and tags and even a few gift bags perched on the extra chairs and the table so I can wrap whenever I have a few minutes.
Just to cinch the deal that I tend to be a tad OCD, when we changed our living room to a blue and brown palette, I thought the packages under the tree should match. Easier said than done. I even tried using rolls of mail wrapping paper, you know, the stiff nondescript brown stuff. With blue ribbon, they looked fine, but without the grid, it just wasn't worth it.
After getting the living room tree, with all it's coordinated bulbs and ornaments, going with the color coordinated gifts, I get to relax and wrap for the dining room tree. I briefly thought having two full sized trees was extravagant, until I thought about our friends who put up seven trees each year! Our dining room tree is the family tree, with homemade, hand-me-down, collector ornaments. After the kids took their growing up ornaments, I started filling the holes with apples and red plaid ribbons. All-in-all, it's quite colorful, which means there's no coordinating of packages. The only thing they have in common is grid lines.
With all the planning and preparation, gatherings and goodies to make, anything that saves time and effort is aces with me. As crazy as it sounds, wrapping paper grid lines help me feel a bit more in control during a hectic time of year. What are some of the ways you've discovered or tried to save time, effort, or money to make the holiday season more enjoyable for you?