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Do-it-yourself wrapping paper more fun than what's inside

Happier holidays gift wrap

Staff Writer
Austin 360

I try to buy as little as possible during the holiday season.

A grinch, I am not. I get as caught up in the spirit of the season as anyone, but I hate the idea of spending money on ephemeral things, and Christmas is an excellent excuse to mess up the house in the name of crafting. I spend more time stringing popcorn, cutting out snowflakes, sewing stockings for the mantel, making gifts and painting wrapping paper than shopping or wrapping presents.

Handmade wrapping paper, like all the other crafted doo-dads around the house, is fun and more interesting to look at in the weeks that precede Christmas, and that surely lasts longer than the interest in most of the gifts we give.

Brown paper bags are a perfect canvas, but paper from your kids' easel is good, too. Simply use a brush to paint stars, Christmas trees or colorful patterns or use stamps with ink pads. We used to carve stamps out of potatoes and dip them in acrylic paint when I was a kid, but cheap dish-washing sponges from the store are easier to cut. Cookie cutters with wide rims can be dipped in paint or painted and used as stamps.

My kids and I make a craft date out of it, and I guarantee you, to grandma and grandpa and all the aunts and uncles, their little handprints on the outside of the gift will be better than anything they could tuck inside.

— Addie Broyles