Whether you simply love wrapping tons of presents during the holidays or you see this task of the season as a real drag, it can not be denied that the annual wrapping of the holiday gifts is very time consuming. If you wish to dole out some of the work this year, consider designating one evening for family gift wrapping. An easy and engaging way to get all the hands of the house involved is to turn the activity into a fun and lighthearted gift wrapping competition. Here are some tips and suggestions on how to start this new family tradition and create a cherished memory for the entire family.
Set the Date with Cute Invitations. A great way to ignite interest in this family activity is to use your computer to run off fun and festive invitations. Use clip art images of gifts, Christmas trees, bows and gift wrapping supplies such as decorative paper, spools of ribbon and rolls of tape. Include the details on the inside such as the date, the start and finish times and the fact that prizes will be awarded for the best efforts. End the invitation with a message such as “Are You Up for the Challenge?” or “Happy Gift Wrappers Only.” Over the years I have often created my own invitations for various family activities and slipped them in my daughters’ backpacks, under their breakfast bowls or in between the soap and toothbrush holder in the bathroom. It adds a playful touch to the festivities and really creates a buzz of excitement for the upcoming activity.
Choose Gift Wrapping Materials Wisely. Keep in mind that young children are not as adept at the mechanics of wrapping gifts, so be sure you have plenty of kid friendly materials on hand. Wrapping paper that is too thick or tape dispensers that are difficult for little hands to work may frustrate the little wrappers and slow them down significantly during the competition. Have a variety of materials on hand that will be easy for all the family members to work with during the evening. My girls have enjoyed wrapping holiday gifts from the time they were in preschool. I learned very early on that not providing them with kid friendly scissors or with wrapping paper that they have to wrestle with, really frustrates them and sucks all the joy out of the task.
Gather the Gifts and Get the Party Started. Place all the gifts that need to be wrapped into a large laundry basket or box. Be sure you have an equal number of gifts to dole out among the family members. Use a scarf to blindfold each member of the family as they choose their gifts to wrap. Once all the gifts have been distributed, assign each family member a room in which to wrap their presents. Use a white poster board to list the different categories in which prizes will be awarded. Make up fun gift wrapping categories such as Fastest Time, Neatest Wrapping Job, Most Colorful Wrapping, Best Use of Ribbon and Bow, Most Creative Wrapping, and Most Use of Tape. Keep your digital camera on hand to take pictures of the winners and their gifts to add to the poster board when the competition is over. This will become a great holiday decoration item that can be displayed throughout the season.
Offer Token Prizes to the Winners. Small bags of candy, makeup and bath products, dollar bills or little gifts from the discount store can be given to the participants. If you have young children who tend to get upset when they don’t win at a game, you may want to designate enough categories so that each child can win in at least one category. The object of this activity is to get the holiday wrapping out of the way, spend some together as a family and have a little bit of fun during the holiday season. It is simply not the time to teach and enforce the lesson that not everyone can win every time. Everyone should walk away from this activity happy and feeling more connected to their loved ones. Tears and sulking at the end of the evening because someone did not win a prize will spoil the fun and leave a lasting memory that is less than joyful.
Don’t Forget the Holiday Snacks. After all the gifts have been wrapped and the prizes have been awarded, sit around the table or the family room enjoying sugar cookies or gingerbread men with hot chocolate. Consider making your signature holiday snack or dessert a bit early this year to have on hand for the competition. My daughters love when I make their Nana’s chocolate chip cookies and know that I always bake a few batches during the holidays. I try to time the baking of this special treat to coincide with a special evening at home for just the family. The addition of a home made treat that the kids associate with the warmth and special fun of the holidays just adds a little bit of magic to cozy nights at home during the season. Pop in a favorite DVD of a holiday film that is loved by the entire family and grab the popcorn to end the evening in a cozy and happy mood.
Enjoying a gift wrapping competition with the entire family will take a bit of the burden off of you this holiday season and create another happy family memory for all.