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It's a Wrap

Everyone loves to receive a gift — especially a personalized one. You get that warm fuzzy feeling knowing that someone has thought of you and purchased something specifically with you in mind.

This year, take your giving to the next level with these tips for gift wrapping that is almost too pretty to open … almost.

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Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

Maria from “The Sound of Music” had the right idea when she listed brown paper packages as some of her favorite things. Brown postal paper can be bought on huge rolls for much less than the average roll of wrapping paper, but can be easily dressed up with a vintage brooch, colorful ribbon or rubber stamps.

Too Cute to Recycle

If your child’s artwork is precious, but isn’t quite brilliant enough to pay for their college tuition some day, don’t resolve to throw it in the recycling bin or let it pile up in the closet just yet. Use your overflow of refrigerator drawings to wrap gifts for family members and friends. For smaller works of art, use a bit of glue to affix them to a piece of card stock for a personalized — and inexpensive — card for future special occasions.

Bow-Dazzled

Rather than slapping on a store-bought sticker and calling it a day, pump up the volume by covering the entire top of a gift box in monochromatic bows. Natural Wonders

If you need a quick way to make your gift special, look to Mother Nature to give you the perfect accent pieces for plain gift wrap like berries and leaves. For a more modern look, spray paint a magnolia leaf or mistletoe and coat in glitter before attaching to your packaging. Wrap ribbon or yarn around the package to cover up the stems.

Think Green

Vintage and re-purposed papers can set your gift apart from the rest, while still looking polished and well thought out. Some interesting options for gift wrap can be recycled maps, calendar pages or vintage wallpaper — giving new life to things that might have otherwise been thrown away.

Get Into the Game

Having trouble with your children sneaking a peek at their gifts? Get rid of the gift tags and instead come up with a secret code so you know which gifts belong to whom, making it a game for Christmas morning. Whether two bows signify a gift for one child or the packages with shiny paper are meant for another, your kids won’t spoil the surprise by opening too soon and will enjoy the fun new holiday tradition.

Woah Woah Woven

Weaving ribbons of complementary colors and attaching them to a wrapped gift can give a sassy touch to plain solid-colored paper. For ribbon weaving, you will start by wrapping three lengths of ribbon around your present and securing them to the underside with double-sided tape. Take another length of ribbon and weave it perpendicular to the first three ribbons in an under, over, under pattern. Use one or two more lengths of ribbon and weave those on either side of the previous ribbon. Turn the gift over and weave the ribbon ends on the other side and secure with double-sided tape.