Gift-giving is one of the many beloved traditions of the Christmas season. But it’s certainly not done without time and effort. After all the lists and shopping, it might feel like one more burden to think of the details. Should you use wrapping paper or a gift bag? Do you have the time to add beautiful bows or gift tags? What about the stocking stuffers?
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to Christmas prep 101. We’ve included everything you need to know about gift-giving, from stocking stuffer ideas to Christmas gift-wrapping tips.
Preparing stockings for Christmas morning
According to legend (and Smithsonian Magazine), the tradition of Christmas stockings began with a widowed nobleman who had no money to marry his three daughters. To help the family, Saint Nicholas dropped three bags of coins down the chimney, where they landed in stockings the girls had hung to dry by the fire.
The tradition evolved from there, and hanging stockings for Santa became increasingly popular throughout the 1900s and still is today.
While you’re preparing for Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve, here are some tips for stocking stuffers and hanging your stockings with care.
The options are nearly endless for stocking stuffers, though we do have a few ideas.
- Useful gifts: Stuff your child’s stocking with socks, underwear, deodorant, shampoo, and toothpaste. Make it a little more fun with a bath bomb, nail polish, or grooming supplies.
- Edible gifts: Collect candy, gum, bags of chips, crackers, small oranges, fruit pouches, hot chocolate packets, and other age-appropriate treats so your child has a stash of snacks.
- Toy gifts: Small stuffed animals, action figures, cars, dolls, fidgets, slime, card games, or arts and craft supplies are perfect for stockings. Plus, you can usually find small “toys” for kids of any age.
Traditionally, stockings are hung from the chimney. Of course, not everyone has a chimney or fireplace, so you might need to be creative. A bookshelf, hooks on the wall, stair railing, or DIY mantle are good alternatives.
Many families get creative with the “evidence” that Santa has visited the home. Aside from filled stockings and consumed cookies, you can make “footprints” out of fireplace ashes to help keep the spirit of Santa alive.
Tips for the perfect Christmas gift wrap
If you walk down a gift wrap aisle at a store, you’ll see a few options for wrapping gifts so they are a surprise to the recipient: wrapping paper, gift bags of various sizes, and gift boxes.
However, if you have experience purchasing a variety of gifts for the people on your Christmas list, you’ll know that not every gift can be easily wrapped or put in a bag or box. Here are our tips for the perfect gift wrap.
There are several situations where wrapping paper is ideal:
- Gifts for kids: Little kids love to tear open presents on Christmas morning. Use wrapping paper so they’ll have tons of fun.
- “Box” shaped gifts: Anything that is shaped like a square or rectangle is easy to wrap in paper. Board games and books are good examples of this type of Christmas gift.
- Oddly shaped gifts: It might seem hard to use wrapping paper if gifts have unconventional shapes. But with a little help from Google or Instagram, you can wrap these gifts beautifully.
- Fun and creative wrapping inspiration: Wrapped gifts allow for innovative folds and wrapping paper designs, ribbons and bows, and attaching accessories like holly sprigs or cookie cutters.
Gift bags are easy to use for a variety of gifts. Keep them on hand for oddly shaped presents, clothing items, edible presents, and anything you buy last-minute.
One of the best parts of gift bags is that they are reusable and convenient. They also make the perfect place to put a collection of gifts so they don’t get mixed up in paper and other trash.
Ideas for presenting a Christmas gift card or cash
Gift cards and cash are convenient gifts, and while they seem less thoughtful than a carefully-selected present, they are actually quite generous. When you give a loved one a gift card or cash, you are letting them choose how to spend it.
If you’re looking for creative ideas for presenting a gift card or cash, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some ideas:
- A holiday card: Pick out a holiday card that is as humorous or sentimental as you want. They even make cards specifically for cash or gift cards. You can add your own handwritten greeting or holiday wish.
- Wrapping paper: Gift cards and cash are small, but you can wrap them in a small amount of wrapping paper. If they are gifts for Christmas morning, consider putting them in the tree instead of under it.
- A box: If the recipient has a sense of humor, you can put the gift card in a box, inside a box, inside of another box. It adds a little creativity to a card or cash.
Gifts for kids: do’s and don’ts
Christmas morning with kids can be a little crazy. After all, they’re excited to open their presents and play with all of their toys. To help parents out a little with all the holiday fun, here are some tips for presents for kids.
- Do take gifts out of complicated packaging: If you know the Christmas gift won’t be returned, take it out of the plastic and packaging before wrapping it. The child will be able to play with it right away.
- Do put together large gifts: Kids won’t have fun unwrapping a box to a toy that still has to be assembled. Put large gifts together so they’re ready on Christmas morning.
- Don’t give loud gifts without asking: Gifts with lots of sound and lights may not be welcome by the kid’s parents. Always ask before buying a noisy present.
- Don’t go off-list: Use the child’s wishlist when purchasing presents unless you’ve asked about a particular, original gift you have in mind. Giftster makes it easy to know exactly what a child or parent wants for Christmas.