How to be creative and unique with gift wrapping


Sure, you can wrap a package with bows and wrapping paper from the card shop, but what do they say about you? Bruce Littlefield, author of Merry Christmas, America! will show you how to impress your friends and family with unique gift-wrapping.

How to be creative and unique with gift wrapping Bruce Littlefield has several unique gift wrapping ideas to make your gift-giving even more special and personalized.
  • Think beyond traditional holiday wrapping paper, curling ribbon, and white/red/green pre-made bows that peel and stick on your packages. Consider craft paper, fabric ribbon and bows made out of unusual, unique materials for special ways to wrap a gift.
  • Spend a little extra time and effort thinking about the person receiving the gift, and tailor the wrapping to that person.
  • A truly unique gift wrapping idea is the "double gift". For example, use the actual tie you are going to give to Dad as the ribbon on a gift package. Or the scarf for Mom as the ribbon, tied in a bow. Or, add an ornament to a gift package so that the recipient will have a gift, and something for their tree.
  • Explore your local dollar stores, flea markets and other craft supply stores for interesting objects, do-dads and sundries that add a little extra pizzazz to your package.
  • Be creative with name tags to label gifts. Old freight tags, shipping tags from your local stationery supply store, or even recycled holiday cards are great details that finish off a uniquely wrapped gift. If you use old cards, just punch a hole in the upper left corner and use a colorful ribbon to attach it to your gift wrap.
  • Use unusual wraps for unusual shapes. For example, use a hand puppet to wrap a bottle of wine instead of the traditional cloth bag.
  • Above all, have FUN with your gift wrap, and think about how your gift wrap packages can be the next conversation starter at this season's holiday party.

LISA: You can’t always tell a package from its wrapping. I’m Lisa Birnbach for and with us is the author of Merry Christmas, America, Bruce Littlefield. Bruce, thank you for this present. It’s really good-looking.

BRUCE: You like that? Yeah. I bet you do. No, this is the cheapest, grossest bow ever. You do not like this. I’ll show you. Now, imagine if I gave you that or if I gave you this.

LISA: Oh, much nicer.

BRUCE: You see, because I think that what this says is that I took a little extra time to say that you’re special.

LISA:And you knew I liked disco?


LISA: Now, I, on the other hand, have a theory that the better the wrapping, the worse the present. You’re overcompensating.

BRUCE: You know what, you’re wrong, because what it means is that I am thinking about you. I’m not overcompensating. I’m thinking that I guarantee that whatever is in this box is better than that box.


BRUCE: Absolutely. Because I’ve taken a little extra effort. I’ll give you a couple more examples. Now, I don’t like curling ribbon. This one is not using curling ribbon. This is a fabric ribbon, but it’s like shoelace. It’s a little lackluster, though.

LISA: Don’t you think you’d still be happy with this?

BRUCE: But what if this was on top of it? This is what I call the double present because you’re going to get this for your tree and obviously there would be something like fabulous gloves inside it for you. Now, I think you can do this with any package, no matter what you’re celebrating. Now, if it’s a birthday, if it’s a holiday, if it’s Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah. Whatever it is, you can do this as well. So this looks pretty good, right?

LISA: Yes. No, wait. Don’t tell me this isn’t good enough. Don’t tell me this doesn’t show I don’t care.

BRUCE: This is pretty good, but I would give this a nine. But let me make it a ten. If you add this to it, it gives it a little extra pizzazz. Now, all of the things that I’m showing you are things that you can do, too. You’re going to a lot of dinner parties over the holidays, right? And everybody brings it with silver, boring wrap on it and comes with a little bow and it isn’t really exciting. But what if you just add — this is a dollar store adventure — just a little fun to it. It adds a little something. You do this one on the [unknown word] and let’s see how easy it is.

LISA:Oh, and now it’s something the whole family can enjoy.

BRUCE: Exactly. The kids will drink this and Mom and Dad will play with the little sponge.


BRUCE: But when you walk into a dinner party with this, you’ve started a conversation. You’re going to have some fun. Now let me give you a few more examples. I’ve got something here for the whole family, right? So, this is a package for Dad — a great tie. And the great thing about the tie is this is the gift that keeps on giving. Come on, that’s fun. Well, you know what? I think it’s a great use of craft paper and it’s a great way to say this is for Dad without writing, “To Dad.”

LISA: Absolutely.

BRUCE: And you know one of the things about craft paper is that it’s entirely versatile. It’s really fun to be able to decorate with craft paper. I’ll show you something on that in a second. Look, for Mom.

LISA: Oh, and this is something she can wear as a scarf.

BRUCE: Absolutely. She can take this off after Christmas and use it as a scarf. That’s a great idea. And of course, this is for our favorite child — junior. And this is a mask.

LISA:It’s a mask. And you just quietly, stealthily collect little objects and little doodads all year.

BRUCE: I do and I want to tell you that all of the things that I just showed you were actually bought at the dollar store. And then the last step on wrapping a package is to put the name tags on them.

LISA:We’ve all seen the name tags that say, “To,” “From” and they’re a little sticker and you just stick it on there. How easy is that? And that’s why I like it.

BRUCE: I know, but this is also easy, too. Last year’s Christmas cards or Christmas cards that I’ve collected at various sales throughout the year. And I save these ... These are all vintage. They are vintage cards and with a little hole punch in the upper left hand corner and a little ribbon you can make these so that these can actually become your gift tag.

LISA: Oh, clever.

BRUCE: This is another example of old freight tags I found — “To” and “From” is on the back. Imagine getting a gift ... it adds a little extra something special. Now, talk about ease. Let’s say that you said you liked those stickers because they’re easy. Go to Staples or a store such as that — an office supply — and buy a shipping tag. Write on it, “To,” “From” with a little “xoxo” and you’ve got a great tag. That’s a great look.

LISA: Yeah, really fun.

BRUCE: Especially if you’re using the craft paper. And again, you can use hole punches, stickers, markers, cotton balls, and make it your own. It’s all about having fun.

LISA: Well, it’s fun talking to you.

BRUCE: Thanks, Lisa.

LISA: For, Happy Holidays. I’m Lisa Birnbach.

meet theexpert
  • Bruce Littlefield

    Bruce Littlefield Design and Lifestyle Guru Bruce Littlefield is a New York-based designer, writer, and restaurateur. Hailed as a "design and lifestyle guru" by Publisher's Weekly, he is the author of the recently published Merry Christmas, America!: Megawatt Displays Across the U.S.A. (HarperCollins 2007), Garage Sale America and Airstream Living (HarperCollins 2007), and co-writer of the best-selling Use What You've Got and Other Business Lessons I learned from My Mom (Penguin Group) with real-estate magnate Barbara Corcoran. The Today more about this expert »