Decorating, shopping, planning menus, hosting get-togethers … the holiday to-do list is always the longest one of the year. But what if there were a way to check off your tasks and catch up with friends all in one night? To the rescue: a holiday gift-wrapping party! Your guests will love spending an afternoon enjoying treats and cozy sips while packaging presents in a merry setting — and you’ll love how quickly it all comes together. Here, we asked event pros for their best tips on setting up a gift-wrapping party. Keep reading for the easy how-to’s.
“Every holiday season, I like gathering my girlfriends together and doing something fun, so I am always on the hunt for Christmas party ideas,” says party and design pro Tammy Mitchell, founder of PinkPeppermintDesign.com. “This year, I’m going to put the fun in function and gather my friends for a last-minute wrapping party. We are celebrating with a girls night in — it’s the perfect time to wrap gifts, address cards, chat, eat yummy treats and be productive!”
To get the look of Mitchell’s party, above, simply top a long table with sweet treats, bottled drinks and jars of wrapping supplies like scissors, bows and washi tape. Stow larger items, like gift boxes and bins of wrapping paper under or near the table. (Stow wrapping paper rolls in laundry baskets for grab-and-go convenience.)
Charm them with adorable cupcake toppers
To make treats that double as tabletop decor, bake a batch of vanilla cupcakes; let cool and pipe on vanilla frosting. Add holly-shaped candies from the craft store to half of cupcakes and make tree toppers for the others. To make tree toppers: Melt green candy wafers as instructed, pour into a zip-top bag, snip corner and pipe tree shapes on wax paper; decorate with sprinkles and press into frosting.
Cast a warm glow with a twinkling focal point
Add sparkling ambiance to any corner of your party with a lovely rustic candlescape. To do: Simply place three red battery-run votive candles (Buy at Amazon, $19 for 3) on a wooden tray or trivet. Then, gather small handfuls of faux or real (from your yard) berries, pinecones and greenery snippets and place around candles onto tray. For extra flair, weave a gold-hued ribbon around battery-run candles and add faux snow for an iridescent touch.
Stock up on wrapping supplies — on a shoestring
The amount of gift wrap each guest will need depends on the size of their gifts. On average, plan for each person to use 2 to 3 rolls. For picture-perfect results, avoid glossy paper (tape won’t stick to the slick surface as well) and patterns with glitter, which can get messy as they shed. Keep plenty of tape, ribbon, gift tags and markers from the dollar store at the ready. Want luxe paper on a dime? Stock up on thick, gorgeous gift wrap for as little as $3 a roll at HomeGoods or Marshalls stores.
Tip: If you or your fellow wrappers have trouble peeling off price stickers from presents, keep a hair dryer nearby and instruct guests to blast the tag with high heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute (this should soften the glue), then peel off the sticker. Still having trouble? Cut a rectangular blank address label to fit over the price sticker to conceal it.
Also smart: Avoid gift mix-ups by assigning each guest their own colored pack of sticky notes. Have guests put one of their sticky notes on each of their presents after they’ve finished wrapping them up so everyone can tell which ones belong to whom.
Pretty up gifts with personalized paper
Perk up plain gift wrap or brown kraft paper with holiday stamps! You can either pick up a variety of holiday stamps from the craft store or make your own. To make homemade tree stamps, use a marker to trace a small tree shape onto a dry sponge. Then cut out the tree and carefully carve out designs on the tree using scissors or a crafting knife. Line up sponge stamps and saucers of green paint, then encourage everyone to stamp plain Kraft paper. Once dried, add details with markers, ribbon and the like.
Refresh guests with bubbly jingle-bell punch
Raise a glass to fun and friendship with a holiday party cocktail that’ll get everyone in a merry mood. To do: Stir 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water and a few sprigs of rosemary in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves; chill. Pour 2 oz. of cranberry juice and 1⁄2 oz. of the syrup into a cocktail glass; top with Prosecco. Garnish with rosemary and cranberries.
Wrap presents faster with this ‘fold and flip’ trick
Wrap square and rectangular boxes in seconds with this simple trick: Center your gift diagonally on a sheet of wrapping paper large enough to cover the gift. Fold two opposite corners of the paper toward each other, overlapping, and tape to secure. Make a crease in the paper on all four corners, then fold the remaining corners over the gift, taping to secure.
For a step-by-step video tutorial, check out the instructional video from Justin’s Toys – Toys, Parenting and Crafts:
Fuel up party guests with scrumptious cookies
These festively frosted cookies are sure to wow everyone and keep them energized as they wrap! Before your party, just roll out gingerbread dough (from boxed mix), then cut out shapes using Christmas cookie cutters; bake and let cool. For icing: Beat 4 cups of powdered sugar, 5 Tbs. of water and 3 Tbs. of meringue powder until peaks form; divide into bowls; tint with gel food coloring. Spoon icing into squeeze bottles and use to decorate cookies; set near a fan to speed icing dry time.
Make merry memories with a fun on-theme game
If you wind up with extra wrapping paper or kraft paper, you can always use the extra for games that’ll get everyone giggling! To play the “Oven Mitt” game, cut lengths of paper that are large enough to wrap small jewelry gift boxes. Then instruct guests to slip on a pair of dollar-store oven mitts and see who can wrap the prettiest present in 2 minutes. Award the winners with scratch-off lottery tickets or Christmas ornaments.
Click through for more inspiring DIY Christmas ideas:
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