Tuesday, December 21, 2010

21 December 1956 “Wrapping Gifts: Another Homemaker’s Art”

womanwrapping I think the presentation of gifts once had as much import as what the package contained. Be it the higher cost of things, the almost non-existent use of credit or simply the time allowed the homemaker, gift wrapping was an art.
This shows another aspect of the homemaker that is something I have come to hold dear: time. Many today might say, ‘Well, the little dear, she just had all the time in the world. And nothing to challenge her mind, so no wonder she spent so much time on making gift decoration”. Yet, consider giving less, taking more time in the wrapping and having the time at home to enjoy that process. Even if one were a working woman, wouldn’t you rather be at home, humming along happily to some Bing Crosby while snipping bows and fastening toilet paper rolls into little soldiers than out rushing through the mall, swiping that card over and over? I know I would.
womanhelpingsoldierwrapHere we see a woman helping a wounded soldier with his wrapping.(Image from HERE) It is of interest to note that though scotch/cello tape was available, many suggestions show that glue as well as string were also used to hold paper on packages. In some cases, we are told in lieu of paper (think of during the war when there was little paper and little to give, one had to decorate as best they could and make the package as nice as the gift)to decorate the plain box with what was on hand.wrapping8 Here we see plastic spoons on plain boxes and even cutting out images from other paper to make a theatre mask.
The idea that the package can be as fun or as important as the gift is shown wonderfully here.penguinpackageThis Penguin would do lovely over a bottle of wine or even, for the cook, some fine quality first press olive oil. I know I am always appreciative of fine cooking supplies and you might get a chance at a fine meal in return for your thoughtfulness to the chef.
funwrappingThis darling and kookie little guy is going to show up under our tree this year. How adorable and what a great way to make use of paper toweling rolls, toilet roll tubes or simply making a tube with scrap paper. We always save mis-printed or mistake computer paper. Sometimes that printer doesn’t want to behave or there it gets jammed, don’t throw that out. Not only can you cut it and staple it to make a fine grocery list notebook, it can go with the crafts for just such times as this, wrapping fun!
wrapping7These three examples are fun ways to decorate that package. The last is ingenious and very green. They have taken a wishbone from a chicken or turkey (why throw it out!) and decorated it with sequins. Then, on Christmas day, the recipient and a partner can make a wish, ingenious.
I also love this idea where one takes one item and arranges it to look like another.wrappingdishclothsHere it is dishtowels/tea towels arranged to look like baby clothes. Wouldn’t this be a lovely idea for a baby shower? You could fold cloth diapers to resemble this little outfit. Or men’s handkerchiefs could be used and see Father’s eyes when he looks to mother with that questioning look “Mother? Is the stork coming?”
These remaining images show some fun ways to make bows. What is interesting is the color range of Christmas paper, it isn’t all red and green. I have decided to do some pink and green this year, as I rather like it together and it makes me think of Spring. I found some plain green paper and pink ribbon.
wrapping1  Following these images are the ‘How-to’ for these bows.wrapping2wrapping3wrapping4wrapping5Here are the instructions. All images are clickable to become larger.
    ribbon1 ribbon2
roseribbon2I adore these roses and here are the step by step guides. I might have to make a pretty pink nose gay atop my green packages.roseribbon1 roseribbon3  wrapping6    I like this idea as well, because the little seed packages atop a gardener’s gift (a book or garden gloves or little metal row markers) would be much appreciated. Especially since I will be starting seeds in January, it makes a Gardner’s heart beat quickly to get thinking about getting back to that soil.
So, I hope these ideas are not too late (many may have all their wrapping done) but they certainly could be added to gifts already wrapped. Enjoy and Happy Homemaking.


  1. What a fun post!! I have always struggled with wrapping gifts! If they are not in a square box I gravitate towards the gift bag... I just get so frustrated! But maybe I should just relax and take my time. :)

    I also love that in the tv shows and the movies you always see the stores offering to wrap for you. Some of the department stores offer that service now but I don't think many use it... Macy's does give you boxes for free but I don't think most stores do.

  2. I hate it when people say things like "wow you have a lot of time on your hands" whenever I put any effort into a project beyond the bare minimum. It's so insulting. Especially when the project was ridiculously easy and really took little effort, just initiative and creativity. I've run into that a lot now that I stay home with my baby girl. People ask what I do all day and if I share any of my latest projects or new organization efforts, they usually say something derogatory or sarcastic about how "that must be nice to have all that time on my hands". It's ironic when it comes from someone who I know hates their job and has said on multiple occasions how they wish they could stay at home too.

    Anyways sorry to hijack your comments for my venting!! Beautiful wrapping ideas- thanks for sharing!

  3. Amy-Wonderful, if you get free boxes then you could incorporate some of these ideas, no wrapping paper just decorate the box with fun items (unless it reads Macys though you could cut out paper in a star or fun shape and glue or tape over that part).
    Sarah-hijack away! I love it when we go off on tangients because then we always open up the conversation more. I do know what you mean, it took awhile for my friends to accept that my at home time IS a job and not sitting about and eating bon bons all day watching 'my stories'. It sounds, most likely, as if jealously is the reason for such comments. It makes me sad, because they probably cannot find it in their income/money management to stay home so are bitter. I understand as that can be a bad place to be in. I do know it seems there is something to buy for everything. I saw countless wrapping 'kits' with bows made and various decorations, just buy it and slap it together, instant creativity, only it isn't really. More fun to use what you have and of course it uses up what you have so you make less garbage, spend less. Again, more 1950's green living that was simply being frugal.

  4. Oh, I love wrapping gifts! Or "making things pretty" as I call it :) It doesn't take much time to dress even the simplest of gifts up. Recently for work, I bought in some homemade peppermint bark. I took one of my small baskets, lined it with some leftover red toile fabric, tied a burlap bow on the basket handle with a monogram gift tag. The presentation got as many compliments as the peppermint bark!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  5. I don't have room on my gifts for bows and ribbons for all of the Christmas quotes I wrote on them! These are all lovely!

  6. I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

    God Bless You :-)


  7. Wonderful ideas, very inspiring. Thank you for sharing. I have downloaded all the images and will put them in my idea-folder, since the guides are also great for birthday and all other kinds of gifts. If I haven’t time to visit your blog or your website before Christmas Eve, I’ll wish you both a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Joyful New Year. :) I’ve taken the day off tomorrow and will make marzipan figurines and other kinds of homemade candy with son. I love it, and will post some photos at my blog soonest.

  8. Beautiful and such a lovely idea. Sadly I don't have folk to buy for and if I wrap the cats presents up like that they just wouldn't appreciate it. Maybe next year!

  9. One of the things my mother taught me when I was young was how to wrap packages. As I became older I worked at the decorative bows, etc, also learning to make many kinds of ribbon flowers. All the nicer stores always gave boxes with your purchases, as well as having gift wrapping departments. I don't do much shopping if I can help it, but do know that one store down here - Beall's - wraps gifts. It used to be no added charge for the service, but I expect by now they have had to start charging.

  10. Darling post. For many decades our Christmas tree topper was an angel made from a toilet roll tube...it finally disintegrated. It was made by my son in Grade 1. Seasons Greetings!.

  11. I tried the ribbon rosette with a strip of fabric instead as I had no soft ribbon. It still made a sweet rose, although somewhat smaller than what is suggested by the picture. Increasing the width of the ribbon may remedy that problem. Thank you for posting these great ideas.


  12. Hope you keep up the good work into next year. ( what ever year)I love the tips you gave for gift wrapping. Sometimes, for fun we used to wrap the kid's gifts in the colorful Sunday comics.Fabric is another great way to wrap boxes. Tulle tied up with a beautiful bow . Add holly,pine ,candy canes or even feathers embellish a package.
    Merry Christmas to all. Best wishes, MRs. Tailleur

  13. Just found your blog. Love the wrapping tips, hehe. Merry Xmas!
    Miss K


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