Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Art of the Parcel, revisited

Thanks for the lovely comments on my last post.  They brought comfort and cheer.  You are the bee's knees.  

And now it's already the weekend before Christmas, which means my kitchen table has been transformed into gift-wrap central, and everything on my holiday to-do list (cards, shopping, crafting, baking) is half done, or half undone, depending on my mood at any given moment.  But I love wrapping gifts, I truly do.  When I was a girl, I'd volunteer to wrap gifts for my mother and father, and I'd spend hours cutting the paper, folding over the edges, curling ribbons, and making gift tags out of Christmas cards from previous years.  I imagined being the woman at Filene's who got to wrap Christmas gifts for customers.  My dream job!  All these years later, I don't usually have has much time to linger over the gifts, but I still love to wrap them, especially for people like my sister-in-law Cate, who adore paper and ribbons and pretty boxes as much as I do.   

Last year, I crocheted little ornaments from the sparkly yarn above, and I attached one to each gift.  This year I've been making paper flowers.  I often save and reuse beautiful paper from the year before.  Or old pages of books . . . or old maps.  I even reuse tissue paper.  And, of course, I reuse ribbon.  A quick iron, and it's ready to go.  And I love creative reuse of containers.  All year I save the metal canisters that Republic of Tea tea bags come in and then I glue pretty paper on them and repurpose them as beautiful containers for small gifts.  I also love gifts that double as packaging, like a pretty vintage purse with smaller gifts tucked inside.

As far as opening gifts is concerned, I'm a sucker for Christmas stockings.  Bigger gifts are lovely, but the stocking has always been my favorite part of Christmas morning.  When we were kids there were certain stuffers we could always count on: a Lifesavers Storybook, a bag of M&M's, an orange, a pair of socks, and a quarter in the toe.  I loved those "regulars" just as much as the surprises.  As we grew older, Santa, always a hip guy, began to toss in scratch lottery tickets.

Okay, the sun's coming up, time to get cracking with that list.  Have a beautiful day, my friends!  


  1. lovely post Gigi, i feel like i am there at your kitchen table watching you wrap pretty packages.
    hope the day brings you lots of warmth, smiles and beauty.
    many hugs ♥

  2. Once again, Dear Gigi, I checked your blog soon after you posted. Why does that not suprise me. And yes, my "to do" list is growing instead of shrinking....but many of the items are great fun. In the meantime, I am taking off shortly for boys' basket ball game and that is Great Fun, indeed.
    The stocking memories are wonderful and I seem to remember new toothbrushes, as well, to go with all the candy.
    See you soon...Hugs, Mum

  3. May the sparkles find their way to your soul......

    Love that you are so present to the presentation:-)

    Merry Christmas, Gigi!


  4. I thought all the wrapping elves were supposed to love in one village together! Wouldn;t that be fun Gigi. We could all wrap, wear silly hats, sing and drink spiked drinks. Maybe next year-lol! I am sure they are beautful! Happy Holidays Gigi. And don't get paper cuts from wrapping too much like i did this year, that is defiantely un-elf like!. XO

  5. I so get this. And my first job (wait - I think I was a balloon maker girl first!) was, in fact, as a gift wrapper at a big department store, and really, Christmas wasn't too much fun because people were mean; I still carry the memory of being yelled at because we didn't have a perfectly sized box for a piece of luggage to be nestled into. LOL!

    And Chrismtas stockings! My favorite! Truly. Like an Easter Basket full of tiny treats and surprises.

    Have a wonderful time!!


  6. Love this post! I too get more excited about the presentation of the package these days rather than the contents. It seems to make that much more grande... Love the dream job! Sounds lovely. Hope your holiday cheer is coming back... I've had a few difficult days as well this season. But I remember to focus on the little things, so remember to think about what makes Gigi happy.

    Lots of love,

  7. Oh I love wrapping my presents too Gigi....and when I open the ones that I receive, I linger over them for ages. My whole family get really cross with me because I take so long !!
    I think that, as well as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the week before is just as special.
    Enjoy your Christmas preparations Gigi. XXXX

  8. Love your post. I wish I liked wrapping gifts, but not particularly. I do love stocking gifts better than anything else and love buying and thinking of those gifts for family members. I like them because it isn't necessarily something they asked for, but something they might love receiving. Love it!

  9. Oh those books of lifesavers!!! Not a year went by without getting and giving them...usually to school friends.

  10. Your Santa was very similar to mine - oranges, lifesaver books, lottery tickets, socks. The Stocking gifts are our faves in my house too!

    I also have been gift wrapping today and enjoying it immensely! Have a gorgeous weekend, Gigi!! Warm hugs to you! xxoo :)

  11. Stockings are the best, aren't they? I remember always getting one of those cardboard tubes of smarties every year. And the lifesavers storybooks...I forgot all about those!!

    I am leaving town tomorrow, but wanted to stop by and wish you a very Merry Christmas. I hope it is full of magic and sparkly things. And love...lot's and lot's of love. xoxo

  12. Always an orange in the toe! My favorite part of gift giving at Christmas is to put together my girls stockings...and they are now 33 and 28:) Thank you notes were always part of their stockings!

    What ever happened to Lifesaver books...they were my and my sister's favorite treat in our stockings and I can no longer find them...I loved the rolls of butterscotch:)

    Wish I had your love of gift wrapping Gigi! I am very thankful for the advent of gift bags!

  13. I love brown paper packages tied up with sparly spring. I hope you have a lovely holiday week.

  14. mmm...such a tasty post, Gigi! I love brown paper for package and us it a lot for the holidays an all year too. Our stocking are hung with care now. Stockings were the best as kids--orange in the toe, a lipgloss, a pair of earrings...*sigh*... I still have some baking to do, but most all is ready for the big Day. Just catching up on your recent posts... We have a good many gatherings & get-togethers in the next days, so visiting friends early this week in blogland. I hope to post again before the holiday break :o) Hoping you & yours have the happiest holiday season & wishing you all the best in 2011, my friend! ((HUGS))

  15. Gigi -

    Marideth from The Republic of Tea here.

    We would love to see image of some of the creations you make using out tea tins. If you don't mind, we might post them on our Facebook page.

    You can send image to me at:

    Thank you and be well,

    Marideth Post
    Minister of Enlightenment

  16. ok here's a plan :) - how about 'popping' over to tanzania to help me organise everything for christmas day - have so much to do, and absolutely no inspiration. except thinking of all your lovely wrapping ideas, makes me think about using big banana leaves as wrapping paper (couldn't find any in town yesterday!). so how about it? - i will lay on lovely lunches and suppers on the veranda, and the wine will be perfectly chilled!!!

  17. Lifesaver books were de rigeur in our stockings as well! I used to love all the little wrapped presents in our stockings and to this day I do the same. Sometimes what is wonderful about giving a gift isn't just the making or buying of it, it's the process of preparing it for presentation; it allows us to really think about the recipient, in a way that's different from how we think about them when we are doing the buying. We can focus more on who they are and what they will think, how they'll react, or memories of times past - all instead of "What would they like?".

  18. Gigi, what a wonderful post! I know I don't usually comment, but I got so excited about the wrapping and paper and ribbons...I couldn't help it. I'm even more excited to give you your gift now...after a certain comment you made about repurposed items.
    I recognized that magenta, sequined string right away...I still have the flower hanging from my rearview mirror!
    See you soon, ms. magpie, and safe travels!

  19. Yes, Jillayne! You have described it perfectly. It's a much different thought process than buying a gift. In fact, it's much closer to the feeling one gets when making a gift for someone.

    Oh, and Eliza, I would love to have supper on the veranda with you while we wrap gifts in banana leaves! What a fantastic idea!!!

    I love seeing how much everyone else loves stockings, too! Those Sweet Storybooks seemed to be important to a lot of us! :) Now I'm wondering what flavors people liked. I loved cherry and butter rum. I'd give the mint ones to my dad because he liked them and I couldn't stand them in those days!

  20. Cate! We were writing a comment at the same time. How like us!!!!

    I knew that YOU would TOTALLY get this post. Can't wait to see you at Christmas!!!!!

  21. Hi Gigi darling!
    I agree, Christmas stockings are wonderful...I always hoped that I could find a gift card or cash in them! haha...i prefer them you know...

    Merry Christmas to you & family!!

  22. I don't even know what to say here. I've been here two or three times and read and enjoyed the post each time. Still, I don't know what to say. Your post makes me happy, but wistful, too. I want - really, I need - to have a friend like you nearby. As in, just down the street. I love you, my friend. And, I love your sweet, tender heart.

  23. This is a really good read for me, must admit that you are one of the best blogger I ever saw. Thanks for posting this entertaining article.

  24. Many things in this lovely post strike a chord, but somehow the Lifesaver Story Book is what sticks with me. It was always one of our presents -- and we adored it in a way that makes me feel both sad and sentimental. Is it possible that children, now, can love such simple treats?
    Ribbon, paper and box saver: me, too!


Thank you so much for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment! I love hearing from you.