Friday, February 18, 2011

birthday wrapping

As my darling 4-year-old gets older we are invited to more and more birthday parties.  Buying a present is one thing, but purchasing the wrapping can be an investment all by itself.  It also sneaks up on you.  Or it did me.  I typically would have a rough budget in mind for a gift, but rarely did I account for the cost of the wrapping in that price.  What I started noticing was that the card + wrapping (gift bag, tissue paper and bow/adornment) was easily adding an additional 20-40% more cost to the total gift and that adds up, especially when you attend several parties. 

So, I've decided to take matters into my own, or in this case, my kid's hands and make our own wrapping.  Rarely do I wrap birthday presents in wrapping paper.  Bags are so easy, and you can fit multiple goodies in one sack.  I've started to keep a stash of plain gift bags on hand.  I only buy them now when they are on sale, and I've only been purchasing white or brown (craft paper).   Sometimes, I'll have to get a bag that is a bit bigger than what I have, but if you buy a plain one you can usually find them for a $1 or less compared to the average price of $4 for a large, printed bag.  I think my mother-in-law's thriftiness is starting to wear off on me, because I've become a deal hunter and the Dollar Tree is becoming a regular haunt, where just a few years ago I wouldn't set foot in there.

Here's a bag that Emily and I recently put together for our friend, Zoe's birthday:
and a close-up of the z:

Here's how we did it:

1.  Ask Emily what color paper we should use.  This is a rhetorical question because she will always choose purple.
2.  Cut out the person/child's initial.  In this case, it was a 'z.'
3.  Give your child a tube of Elmer's glue and a bunch of junk stuff that she can glue on the paper.  My kid is particularly fond of sparkly things, pom poms and the random bits of my scrapbooking leftovers as evidenced by the photo.
4.  Allow yourself plenty of time between step 3 and the party in order to let the globs of glue dry.
5.  Glue or tape the letter to the bag.
6.  Optional step:  fill in the 'holes' with other bits and pieces that your child might not be privvy to.  In this case, I added a couple of stickers, buttons and polka dots around the z.
7.  Make card.  In this case I found some scrap paper that actually matched the tissue paper I had.  I scored the paper and wrote a little birthday love note inside.
8.  Go to the party and give your gift.

That's it.  The only other piece of advice that I'll offer is don't leave your kids unsupervised with all of the little pieces of stuff.  This was a lesson I learned the hard way as I used to keep an open bowl of all sorts of bits for Emily to glue on her desk.  The desk and the floor usually looked like this:
Now it looks more like this:

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