Thinking Outside the (Christmas) Box

January is almost over. Christmas is long gone, and I’m still packing away the remnants of the holiday. These things take longer when you’re almost 8 months pregnant, right? 😉

As I box up my decorations and massive amounts of wrapping supplies, I’m already thinking about how to make next year fun and different. You see, I’ve got a (slightly self-imposed) reputation to live up to as the Creative Christmas Wrapper.

On one side of my husband’s family, the group has gotten so big that all the adults draw a name and buy a present for that person and only the small kids get presents from everyone. The last two years, I’ve challenged myself to shake things up for the kiddos and get creative with their presents, especially the wrapping!


My first endeavor in 2016 was a Pinterest find: Surprise Balls. Time intensive for sure, but they were a big hit with the kids! Plus, a bonus for the adults is that unwrapping the balls keeps them busy and entertained for a while.

Basically, you buy several colors of crepe paper, a bunch of candy, and assorted small toys and games … I think I got everything I needed at Dollar Tree and the party favor bins at Party City.

You start with a larger item and begin wrapping it with the crepe paper. Once you completely cover the first item, add another item, and continue wrapping. Repeat these steps, hiding all the toys and candy in the layers of crepe paper. As you go, try to place the items strategically to “round” out the shape.

If I’m honest, I never got mine as perfect as the one in the picture, but they were still very cute and colorful blobs!

The kids were so entertained by the process – and honestly bemused that an adult would do something so silly. They couldn’t believe the balls just kept going and going with more treats in each layer. By the end, they were sitting in a nest of colorful crepe paper, gleefully piling up and cataloging their loot!


This year, I went a slightly different route and created a Box ‘o Presents for each kid. Similar concept to the Surprise Balls, really. I bought about a dozen small gifts for each child: accessories, candy, tattoos, holiday themed goodies. Then, I individually wrapped each item and arranged them inside the shoe box, which was then wrapped as a larger present.

The kids definitely enjoyed the surprise of finding more presents within their present!

Even though the items were all modest, the impression of all those gifts was exciting. They tried to guess what was inside the different, oddly shaped packages as they unwrapped them and seemed almost proud when all was done to have this little pile of goodies.


Despite the extra work and tape (make sure you have lots of tape!!), I really loved both of these projects because they made the experience of opening the presents a gift in itself. It was fun, silly, and I think it really helped “reset” the Christmas wonder for the kids after a day full of opening gifts.

Again, it’s back to my mantra that the little things, the extra effort and special touches, are what make life beautiful.

Now, I’ve just got to figure out how to top myself for Christmas 2018! 😆

One thought on “Thinking Outside the (Christmas) Box

  1. I like your idea of putting individually wrapped gifts into a shoe box. It makes for a big surprise inside!

    I won’t go as far as saving ALL of the wrapping paper from each year (M.Michalak?), but I will re-use most of the christmas cards later, cut into a perfect To/From label. Along the same line of repurposing: those snack and cereal boxes turned inside out are an open canvas to hand-paint or color christmas designs onto.

    Liked by 1 person

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