It’s easy to overlook gift wrap — or at least to treat it as an afterthought. After all, you have so much shopping to do this time of year, and all of it is more exciting to ponder than the indistinguishable rolls of red-and-green–printed paper that fill the discount-store shelves. For lack of advance planning, I’d bet that all of us, at some point or another, have given a gift propped awkwardly in a shopping bag or even simply handed over as-is, naked and unadorned.
While an amazing gift is an amazing gift no matter what it’s wrapped in, you can sweeten the gesture — and amp up anticipation — with an artful presentation that reflects your personal style. And if you stock up now, even eleventh-hour purchases can have the look of painstakingly researched and thoughtfully sourced symbols of love and friendship. Here are twelve unique options bound to be as special as the gifts themselves, and a selection of complementary cards to complete the look.
Modern and Monochrome
There’s no rule that says black and white is boring, that “simple” has to mean “stale,” or that clean can’t be just as festive as colorful. For those looking to break away from traditional red, green, and blue, we’ve got patterned paper decked in hand-drawn sequins, geometric zigzags, and illustrator Leah Goren’s signature solid-black cats.
Cheeky and Cheerful
The chaos of the holidays can be all-consuming, but don’t let your sense of humor get lost in the whirlwind. Add a little brightness to your gift-giving with electric pops of pink and gold, a Japanese wrap cloth with tomato-colored crescents, and customized sheets adorned with the dog breed of your choice.
For the Young at Heart
Nobody unwraps a gift with quite as much fervor (or as much joyful flinging of paper bits and bows) as an excited child. Make that experience even more thrilling with festive wraps and cute cards that would bring a smile to anyone’s face. Among several stellar choices for children (or those with a childlike spirit): kraft paper printed with safari stars; snowmen awaiting crayon embellishment; and a personalized canvas sack, just like Santa’s.
Inspired by Nature
Cold though it may be, there’s no denying the beauty of the natural world in winter. This season, pay tribute to earthly delights with picks that include painted mountains, lino-printed hedgehogs, and a field guide to pine cones. And for gifters in search of an eco-friendly alternative to disposable wrap: cotton drawstring bags with photographs of the great outdoors.