Welcome December! December 1st marks the start of a tradition with my mom that goes back at least 10 year or so. Each year we exchange a pile of 23 little wrapped presents. We open one present every day leading up to Christmas Eve. The presents are small - handful of vintage stamps, little notebook, and such, but the time we spend together opening the gifts is some of the best of the holiday season.
As the years have gone on, we've started to spend more and more time on the packaging - trying to come up with a fun theme and looking for the perfect vessel to hold the gifts. We exchanged our gifts over the Thanksgiving weekend and think this year is the best yet.
My mom packaged all of my gifts in a stack of vintage cigar boxes tied up with the perfect green ribbon. I'll start with the top box and work my way down! At the end I'll have the empty vintage cigar boxes to store all of my new goodies.
I knew from talking with my mom and watching her Pinterest boards that she wanted to do a "simple Christmas" with lots of natural elements. I incorporated this into my wrapping by using two different kraft and white wrapping papers from Target and tied on sprigs of greenery and red berries with plain white string.
Most people seem intimidated when I tell them about our tradition. It might seem a little overwhelming to pull together 23 little presents, especially with the rest of your Christmas shopping coming up. However, if you get creative and give yourself a little time it's actually pretty easy! If you want to participate in a similar swap next year keep these tips in mind:
- Start early! Figure out who you want to swap gifts with and discuss it with them far in advance. Consider your mom, daughter, sister, partner, friend... If you have plenty of time to shop, you can hunt down unique and affordable gifts at thrift stores and flea markets, and take advantage of sales throughout the year. Plus you'll be able to spread out the cost rather than deal with it all at once during the holidays when budgets are always stretched.
- Think about sticking to a theme. If you don't know where to start with your gifts, consider presents that all relate to a shared hobby or passion. Vintage papers is an easy theme to follow if you both enjoy ephemera. Maybe an assortment of tasty treats for foodies, or fun office supplies for organization junkies.
- Want to participate, but just can't find room in the budget? Don't worry - your gifts don't have to be things! Some or all of your presents can be handmade gift certificates. Treat your husband to a stress busting back massage, let your kid skip their most hated chore, or invite a friend over for homemade dessert. This is the time to put all of your talents to work!
Don't Forget: Paper Pack Week #2 starts tomorrow! Be sure to check in every morning for a daily deal and every afternoon for a fun feature.