It’s a Wrap!

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DIY wrapping paper is just as good as the store-bought alternative and is easily affordable on a student's budget. Photo by Brittney Muir.

Wrapping presents is a big part of the holidays, whether people like it or not. For college students, it’s not usually the highest priority in our three week break, but you can still put a little effort into it. It doesn’t even have to be that difficult.

My aunts and uncles sometimes give me a couple of bucks under the table to go to my grandma’s basement and wrap some of their presents. Here are some tips and tricks to have the best-looking presents under the tree.

Let’s start with a little secret: Plain brown butcher paper is your best friend. It may sound boring, but it can be easily decorated to make a one-of-a-kind gift that anyone will appreciate opening. The simplest idea is to wrap the present, put a ribbon around it and write the recipient’s name on it. This can be done with sharpies, stamps, stickers—anything you can think of.

Butcher paper is also good for decorating with some other fancier papers. Put one strip of nicer holiday wrapping around the box and you’ve got a creative, beautiful present. You can also cut shapes out of the wrapping and put them on the paper, or snag some paint chips from your local store and cut shapes to decorate the present with.

Even just buying one roll of nice ribbon can spruce up a number of presents and make a big impact, as can wrapping different colored yarns around the box. Remember, any color goes with brown, and you can pick the favorite color of the person who’s getting the gift. It’s all about having fun and keeping in the spirit of the holidays.

Aside from butcher paper, there’s an infinite number of other things to wrap presents in: newspaper, comics, magazines, maps, calendars, sheet music—you name it! This is where you can really personalize presents. Is someone in your family traveling later in the year? You can wrap their box in a map of the place they’re going and maybe circle some possible stops they should make.

Finally, wrapping presents in other knick-knacks is a really easy way to make a gift special. You can go to Goodwill or another thrift store and find a box or container that your gift will fit in. Using jars, empty oatmeal or Pringles containers and even cereal boxes can be a cheap container for gifts.

For those of you who may not be the best at wrapping, there’s something you should keep in mind. The thinner the paper, the more easily it tears and the harder it is to wrap. Butcher paper is a good fix for this, but even just spending a couple of extra dollars and avoiding the cheap Dollar Tree wrapping will really make your life easier while wrapping presents.

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