Wrap It Up

I think my landscaping season will be wrapped up by December 15.  One recent project will be the last-a client who just closed on a new house November 15.  We are trying to get the property in shape for a new landscape come spring.    A lot of work got done last week, but there is another solid 10 days of holiday and winter projects to go. Then I will be involved in a wrapping up of a different sort.    

Every year, Buck in tow, I shop no end of places for wrapping paper and ribbon.  He rolls his eyes, as I sort through the choices-none of which I really like. That done, we outfit the laundry table with all the necessary items-paper, tape, scissors.  A big flat workspace-essential.  Wrapping  packages is one of the pleasures of the season.  A thoughtful gift to another is a gift to me.  What feels better than giving?  Giving your garden the compost it needs.  Giving a pot the water it needs.  Giving encouragement to a niece about to go to college. Giving your all to a garden or landscape, some cause, or someone you really care about-this is the pleasure of the holiday season.  The chance to express caring-this is in the air.  The time and effort I take to wrap up a three-pack of sport socks for Buck says I think he is worth my time and effort.     

That said, Buck is much better at wrapping a package than I.  Faced with a box that needs wrapping, he sizes the wrapping paper effortlessly.  He measures with his eye, and remeasures-no tape goes on the wrap until he imagines that the coat he is making will fit perfectly.   My holiday gifts to my best friends are standard fare. A rocking fry pan for one friend who has kids he is teaching to cook. A woolly handmade scarf for another who faces a winter just as cold as mine.  But I want my boxes to look beautiful.  The beautiful begins with persuading Buck to outfit the package with a wrap.  This paper could not be more pedestrian.  Heavy duty kraft paper is ordinarily used as packing material for industrial parts. Its heft makes it easy to work with; it shows no signs of the fumbling around it takes to get it positioned exactly where you want it.    

The bottom flap needs to cover the bottom half of the box-no mystery there. Unlike Buck, it will take me 3 or 4 tries to get this part right.  But having a paper that will patiently keep its unblemished shape until I am ready to commit to a crease helps to keep the wrapping session fun.  Flimsy holiday paper wrinkles on me every time I blink-so maddening.        

The bits and spots that do not work out get trimmed off.  I have been known to wad up the overage under the surface, but that will be noticeable with a paper this thick.  The heavily dimpled surface, meant to protect a fragile object, has a beautiful texture.  Packing material as ornament for a gift box has that element of surprise going for it. A sturdy and utilitarian material chosen for its surface, and not its ordinary use make for a charming and unusual look. 

Clean and crisp creases that meet just about perfectly in the middle-a little time and effort come to some good.  There are so many choices about how to take this look one step further.     

These materials represent some of Rob’s first foray into holiday wrap.  I really like his choices.  Grosgrain ribbon in cinnamon, brown and olive green is an old fashioned and low key material .  A single loop bow with split trimmed tails is simple, and surprisingly elegant.  A wide wired burlap ribbon makes the construction of a graceful bow easy. 

This bow is Jenny’s work-definitely not mine. She has a gift for constructing beautiful bows.  Though wired ribbon gives me a fighting chance, my method of construction usually involves a glue gun. The perforated paper you see under the ribbon-I found this at the hardware store.  Its natural color contrasts beautifully with the darker materials.  The perforations look great with the texture of the kraft paper.  Lots of ordinary and readily available materials shine when put to a special purpose. 

This slubbed gardener’s string is but one form of a material that is widely available.  From butcher’s twine to waxed jute landscape twine to paper thread-the choices are many.  A kitchen supply store, or a local nursery or garden center may have just the material you have been looking for. The ultimately easy to work with string-bark wire.  All of your loops will stay just where you place them.    

Materials different in every way than these may appeal to you. Finding them is a matter of letting your eyes do the choosing, no matter their intended purpose.  I remember a package wrapping session in college just before the holiday break.  Who could wrap the best package with brown paper grocery bags and school supplies?  I have no memory of the winning design-but I do remember it was great fun.