Welcome to a new feature called Simplify This, designed to make daily obligations easier so you can move on to more fun things. These quick, easy-to-implement suggestions make life run a little smoother.
Gifts and the Minimalist
Embracing minimalism doesn’t necessarily eliminate all gift-giving. Even when we give experiences, it’s fun to dress up those concert tickets or travel itineraries in a meaningful way—but the thought of excessive wrapping goes against our simpler values.
As much as we may dislike the notion of paper-and-ribbon packaging, it can add value for the recipient. Gift-wrapping bridges the gap between us and our less-minimalist loved ones, making those non-traditional gifts a little more palatable to those who haven’t jumped on the minimalism train. Since Christmas is right around the corner, let’s get those presents wrapped and ready!
That’s a Wrap
If you’ve come to terms with a little extra packaging, try simplifying the wrapping process this way:
Buy less. Self-explanatory, but worth saying.
Use in-store options. If a store or online source offers to gift wrap, let them. As long as you don’t have to wait in a long line or pay an exorbitant fee, the time and hassle it will save you later is worth it.
Eliminate bows. Seriously, these just fall off or get flattened, especially if you travel with gifts. If your present seems too bare, use bigger or fancier gift tags.
Use bags. Gift bags are much easier than wrapping paper for smaller items. Instead of sticking the name tag on the bag itself, put it on a corner of the tissue paper, or tie it to the bag handle. This way, it’s easy to reuse the bags. Smooth and reuse tissue paper that’s not too torn or crumpled.
Keep it monochromatic. Or choose just a a couple of complementary colors. Instead of multi-pack wrapping paper, consider getting several rolls of the same design and whatever coordinating trim you want. Then you don’t waste time trying to choose the perfect match. Even plain brown paper wrapping looks great with a little trim. You can buy recycled paper and then recycle it again to eliminate waste.
Set up a supply station. Figure out the best place in your home to do the wrapping, then gather your paper, bags, tissue, ribbons, name tags, scissors, and tape all in one spot nearby. Choose a place where these things can stay put all season long. Diligently return the items after each wrapping session.
Do a little all along. I like to wrap just a few things at the time, because I don’t have the stamina for hours of wrapping. Doing a little helps me feel accomplished but not overwhelmed.
Make a list and check it twice. If you do lots of online shopping, it’s easy to lose track of items as packages come in at different times. Invariably you’ll find yourself wondering at some point whether that sweater actually arrived…or was it the scarf you wrapped in that box? Make a running list of purchases so you can check off when you receive and wrap them. It eliminates confusion and makes it easy to see at a glance which few things you could wrap quickly in the time you have at hand.
Enlist help. As tempting as it can be to exclude the family for the sake of efficiency, bringing in helpers can make it more fun. Include the kids in writing name tags or placing tape, especially for any gifts they are giving.
Make it mindful. As you wrap those gifts, take a moment to savor the beautiful holiday papers and colorful ribbons. Include your kids and relish the magic of childhood at Christmas; try to see the wonder of the season through their eyes. Finally, as you wrap each gift, think of the person for whom you bought it. Really appreciate the relationships in your life.
Here’s to a simple holiday season! If you have any other simple wrapping ideas, please share them in the comments.