You may have already noticed, but CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!! Agh! The dinner, the shopping, the gifts, the.... wrapping! The holidays can be such a packed time schedule-wise that it's easy to leave the otherwise-enjoyable task of wrapping presents to the last minute, where it becomes an it's-almost-dawn-on-Christmas-day-how-did-I-let-this-happen-again-this-ribbon-is-made-of-pure-evil nightmare. If you'd rather take a different route this year, consider getting it done ahead of time by gathering your friends together for a gift wrapping party.
When in doubt, keep it simple: the whole point is to help you and your friends avoid last-minute stress by spending some proactive (and fun!) time wrapping gifts together ahead of time, not to throw a holiday extravaganza that will make you want to tear your hair out. With this in mind, think about doing the invitations via text, Facebook, Evite, or another e-service like Minted rather than creating paper ones. Remember that you'll also need a lot of space to accommodate everyone's wrapping activities, so keep the guest list on the smaller side (or have two get-togethers.... double the fun!)
As part of your invitation, ask everyone to bring whatever supplies you'd like them to share. If you want them to contribute food or drinks (more on that below), make sure to communicate that as well. You may also consider encouraging guests to wear their favorite sweats / pjs / "comfies"; there will be people all over the floor with lots of kneeling / bending / squatting, and you want everyone to be comfortable (plus any photos you take will be so cute!)
Ideas on what to ask guests to bring:
- a couple of rolls of wrapping paper
- a bag of bows or a couple of rolls of ribbon
- any extra boxes they can contribute (often we forget about boxes until we’re sitting on the floor facing little Timmy’s new plastic dinosaur and wondering how the heck to wrap the prehistoric lizard.)
As the host, it's nice if you provide enough scissors and tape for everyone to have their own (and you may want to get a couple extra rolls of tape just in case someone runs out). You can get both items inexpensively at Wal-mart or the dollar store, or if you want scissors with a more comfortable grip you can grab some of these for around $2.75 per pair on Amazon. It's also a good idea to visit your local dollar / thrift stores for some inexpensive but fun gift toppers to add to the mix (flowers, berry twigs, holly leaves, snowflakes, etc) and invite guests to do the same.
Remember that you'll need lots of floor space (consider the approximate amount of square footage you take up yourself when wrapping and multiply that by how many guests you’re thinking of having... is it time to move some furniture?)
It's also a good idea to pre-choose a particular area of the house for the finished presents to be stacked to keep them organized and out of the way of all that paper and ribbon flying around in the wrapping space. Also just a reminder that since everyone is sharing gift wrap, lots of the finished presents may look the same, so it's probably time to invest in a packet of sticky notes to label them if you want to avoid mix-ups.
Grandma Jean (opening her gift): "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4." Look at all those pretty colors on the cover!
When it comes to food, you have a lot of options. (Regardless of which route you choose, though, it's a good idea try to avoid greasy / saucy snacks to prevent smudges and fingerprints on those otherwise beautiful presents-- save the pizza and those super-yummy wings for the next party).
If you're looking to provide the food yourself, consider ordering in (hello, Uber Eats!) or swing by your favorite spot for takeout and set it up (away from the gifts) where guests can get what they like buffet-style. If you don’t want to deal with food by yourself, it's fine to ask for help! A great idea featured on Jenny Cookies is to invite your guests to bring their favorite bread, cracker, or cheese, and you (with one quick trip to the supermarket) provide an assortment of prepared meats, fruit, and nuts, then make a charcuterie board from everyone’s contributions.
You can also keep it even simpler by asking each guest to bring a bag of their favorite savory or sweet snack and then put them out in bowls for everyone to enjoy, or if you have that one friend who just LOVES making snacks and treats, ask them to bring food instead of wrapping paper.
Also, if you're planning to serve alcohol, make to have water available and something to snack on as well-- you don’t want Suzanne getting overly tipsy and dropping that crystal vase she got for her great aunt, losing track of which gifts are hers, or decorating them like these “wrapping fails" featured on Smosh.
SET THE MOOD
To top it off, think about background entertainment to get everyone in the holiday spirit-- do you want to play Christmas music? Have a movie going? YouTube videos about how to make super fancy bows? You can also prepare a couple of different options and see what everyone is in the mood for on the day.
While it does take some extra effort up front, throwing a gift wrapping party is an excellent way to get a daunting task finished while in the company of friends. (It also pushes you to get your shopping done earlier, so that's another stressor off your plate on the back end). You can, of course, make it as fancy and complex as you like, but remember that it can also be as simple as sending out a text to a few friends, asking them to bring some wrapping paper, bows, and a bag of Oreos, and then just having some fun.... either way, you're much more set to fully enjoy your holiday.