Monday, December 21, 2009

Wrapped in Mystery

This is going to seem specifically targeted towards the extreme fanatic of a certain ABC primetime program.  In a way it is, but it can be applied towards any number of items.  It's only as restricted as your imagination! 

As is the case every Christmas, my brother and I skip the idea of surprising one another with a gift and buy exactly what the other sibling has requested.  It is a foolproof method that eliminates both disappointment and curiosity simultaneously from our gift exchange. 

We both share a love for the TV show Lost, and the 5th Season was recently released on DVD.  It seemed the perfect gift for him to give me.  Due to a timing issue, I had to be the one to purchase it.  When it was delivered, I knew I would need to wrap it in order to have something to open from him on Christmas.  It felt a little silly to be wrapping my own gift, so I decided to have some fun with it. 

I've been trying to be green with my gift wrapping this year.  I have used gift bags from Christmas past, baskets, stockings and even newspaper.  With ribbons, bows, feathers and other eclectic scraps of material, it is possible to make any wrapping look festive.  As I was cutting my way through the local paper, an ad with a bunch of bold green numbers caught my eye, and the wheels started turning!  Only a Lost viewer would understand the significance of numbers to the show's plot, but it seemed "fated" for me to use them in my package presentation. ;) A green ribbon added the right amount of Christmas cheer to the finished product.   Lost may be full of mystery, but it's no mystery what's inside that box!  It is a little cheesey, but that seems to be what's called for when you are wrapping your own gift.

However this method could work in any situation.  If you want to give your loved one an inkling about what might be inside the box you've given them, include a hint in your wrapping.  If you bought them Desperate Housewives on DVD, design a snowwoman holding an apple on the gift tag.  Did you buy your little cousin his first Swiss Army Knife?  Use red wrapping paper and a white ribbon to cross the present.  There are a million ways to provide clues that can either whisper or shout the contents of any package.  Have fun with it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Wreath

I had a sad looking blank spot on my wall that was just screaming for a little holiday cheer.  I decided that I would have to use what was on hand since all the holiday money I had budgeted for the week went towards the Gingerbread House.  So, I went to the closet to rumage for something suitable.  I found some old shelf paper that was a green and blue plaid pattern.  I cut a few strips and went to work peeling and sticking it onto the floral ring I had.  I was not pleased with the outcome.  For one thing, the pattern just was not going to seem festive without some embellishment, and coming up with the embellishment would be a challenge in itself.  But even more disappointing was the way the paper kept puckering.  This was not going to work, so I went back to my closet for more inspiration.

I was going through my fabric bag and found the feather boa my friend bought for a Halloween costume this year.  It was the right color and would be super easy to attach to the ring.  I had my winner!  I simply wrapped the boa around the ring and tucked the ends to keep it in place.  The great thing about this is that I will be able to easily remove the boa when the wreath comes down, and it will survive to craft another day!  I wound some thick green ribbon around the top and secured it with a straight pin.  I had to use a thumb tack to hang it on the wall, but the ribbon does a perfect job of hiding that.  It was lacking a little oomph, so I went to my bow box, found the most glitzy of the bunch, and stuck it on the top with double sided tape.

I will admit that this wreath is not for everyone.  It is pretty dramatic; some might even say over the top.  But it was so easy to make and it makes me smile when I walk by it.  Who could have known that what adorned the devil from Halloween would be spreading cheer at Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

1st Annual Decorating of the Gingerbread

Long time, no post.  Seems time goes into warp speed in the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  There has been no shortage of inspiration at this time of the year, just a lack of time to write about it!  I think a new tradition was born today, however, and that deserves some attention.  Three friends and I got together to make gingerbread houses.  Though husbands wanted to participate we made it a girls only activity.  That gave us a chance to catch up as we created our masterpieces. 

We chose to focus most of our energies on decorating, so we used pre-made kits.  We have one baker in our group, and making all that gingerbread alone would have been too time consuming.  The kits worked just fine.  They came with candy, but we all pitched in our own sweet accessories.  The required gundrops, M&Ms, candy canes, marshmellows and Chiclets were present.  And just to be different I brought along pretzel sticks and golden puffed cereal.  I used the cereal for a roof, and my friend used the pretzel sticks to create a log cabin motif.  It's fascinating how using the exact same materials, everyone comes up with something different. 

As a general rule we all give each other a hard time, so when someone went outside the bounds of "eye pleasing" there was some good natured ribbing.  My house ended up looking "earthy" with a frightening snowman hanging out in the backyard.  But no one had a  perfect house, and that was what made it so fun.  It's about freeing yourself from the confinements of perfection and just enjoying time together.

The holidays are so stressful for adults because of all the responsibility that falls on us to make the perfect meal, the perfect centerpiece, find and perfectly wrap the perfect gift. It's exhausting.  Maybe we should embrace the spirit of playfulness with all the aspects of holiday preparation.  Then we could enjoy the season like we did as children.  I highly recommend a festive activity with loved ones to help capture the spirit!