The making of a wrap star

As per my usual, I’m running on list-y mode via a checklist I started a few days ago with all of my pre-holiday to-dos: addressing Christmas cards, mailing Christmas cards, buying stamps for Christmas cards (as Clarice, Rudolph’s lady love, sang, “There’s always tomorrow…”). But last night, it was all about the wrapping.

Wrapping has always been a pretty big deal to me — ever since the days I’d pitch our primary-colored IKEA tent in our upstairs loft and make like Santa’s elf for a few days while my mom delivered packages in need of my services. When I went to college and my elfin workshop was no longer supplied by my mom’s endless stream of festive paper and ribbons, I decided to find a wrapping paper for my family’s Christmas gifts that really said, “This is from Katrina” (a.k.a. the year of the purple glitter). The presents looked beautiful; the purple glitter paper, however, covered everyone and everything in my parents’ house that year. The next year, I was kindly encouraged to leave the glitter paper behind.

Then last year, Jared really had his heart set on an old-fashioned look for the wrapping. So we grabbed a couple rolls of plain brown packing paper, wrapped up our gifts and tied them with red string. It was pretty cute, though the packing paper was really stiff, which made it tricky to work with.

So this year we wanted to stick with the brown paper theme, but instead of using the stiff packing paper, we found a few rolls of thinner brown paper at IKEA (for 50 cents a roll. Woot!). Then I bought some old-timey red and white plaid wire ribbon from Target (the wire stuff is great for making pretty bows that last until the big day) along with some sparkly snowflake tags (Christmas isn’t Christmas without at least a little glitter).

And now onto the year’s pièce de résistance: a hand-pressed wax seal on every gift to hold the gift tag in place. Eep! It was by far the most fun part of the whole wrapping ordeal (which actually turned into a two-hour affair. Yowza!). Jared was the melter, and I was the presser; we made quite the crackerjack team.

In case you’re looking for an extra splash of pizzazz for your holiday wrapping this year, here’s how we did it. And if you don’t have the seal wax or a press, no worries. You could use a red candle and a metal knob or drawer pull for the same effect.

Start by getting the wax all melty. The trick is rotating the wax to keep it from dripping before you have enough melty bits to make a nice blob for the seal (this tip brought to you by Jared, the melt expert).

Get your seal spot ready for action; then get those fingers out of the way!

Drip the wax onto the surface, and push the press into the melted wax. Hold for about 10 seconds, until wax begins to harden.

Slowly pull the press off the wax by tipping to the side (the press, not you, silly).

Voila! Fun, festive and downright impressive.

We finished the job with only two minor injuries (I sustained a small paper cut while wrapping the gifts; Jared dripped a burning hot glob of wax on his left middle finger and was left with a rather unsightly welt. No pain, no gain, right?).

Happy wrapping!




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