Thursday, June 11, 2015

That's A Wrap

by Allyson Haas

Elmo wrapping paper

Saturdays. They used to mean lazy mornings with a newspaper and some good caffeine. Nowadays, they mean children’s birthday parties and sugar highs. Unlike most people, I relish these times. Two hours of supervised entertainment where my child can justifiably run around like a lunatic and I don’t get the “lady, control your kid” stares is my new idea of heaven. 

spray paint wrapping paper

Today’s party had a train theme, and C was over the moon about it. Saying he loves trains is an understatement.  I know, you can’t love an inanimate object, but I think his like for trains defies this grammatical rule. He had a blast. And I had fun prepping for the party. As soon as I get the invitation, I put the date in my calendar because otherwise, I’ll double book; it’s a bad habit of mine.  I don’t like to give run-of-the-mill gifts that will invariably end up in someone's re-gift pile, so each present is personalized in conjunction with the theme of the party and the child we’re celebrating. Since today’s theme was trains, we got the birthday boy a conductor’s hat, a t-shirt from Etsy with a train on it that said ONE TRACK MIND, a paint your own train set, and three tickets to the Griffith Park Southern Railroad train ride. Since I had but two minutes to wrap the gift, I just used some stencils and spray painted the boy’s name on the front. 

power rangers wrapping paper
We have another party tomorrow that has a Power Ranger theme. While not yet entranced by the lure of them, C did take an interest in the gift, which was a beach towel made to look like one of the Rangers. We wrapped it in white Kraft Paper and attempted to match the invitation.  Please ignore the fact that I can’t draw to save my life.

chalkboard wrapping paper
Who needs custom-printed gift tags when your kid can do this?
Every party is a chance to be creative, and C can join in on the fun. Usually, I’ll let him have at the underside of the gift with his own art supplies, kind of like his own signature. It’s cute, it’s personalized, and it’s different from what everyone else does. It’s also an easy way to ensure that the inevitable lost card and the "who gave you this gift?"question never applies to us.

DIY wrapping paper
Personally, I think printed wrapping paper is overpriced, especially since there rarely seems to be a large selection of unique designs, specifically ones that are appropriate for kids.  I use a variety of papers: black, white, or kraft, all of which can be purchased in large rolls for a lot less money, and you can draw, color, use chalk or whatever your fancy to decorate the packages.  Here's the bonus part of my present decorating: involving C in the drawing and painting means that I'm not spending most of my wrapping time attempting to keep him from sticking scotch tape in his hair or stabbing himself with the scissors in a misguided attempt at "helping" Mommy.  

princess wrapping paper

Yes, wrapping gifts for kids this way makes total sense, but I think that creating your own wrap is perfect for every occasion. I fete many a recipient this way; gender reveal gifts, baby shower gifts...simply decorate as befits the occasion. 

And just in case you need some inspiration for what to put inside all that gorgeous wrapping, here are a few of our favorite standbys:
  • Donation to the family’s favorite charity (Ronald McDonald House with a note stuffed inside a sleeve that holds the French fries)
  • Not a Box by Antoinette Peters, wrapped in a big cardboard box
  • Cardboard color kits  wrapped with white paper and a box of markers affixed to the outside
  • Anything from Splendid (preferably purchased at their sample sale)
  • Membership to a museum/zoo
  • Puzzles (to match the theme of the party)
  • Kid O Magnatab Alphabet or Numbers
  • Gift certificate to a nail salon for a princess party
  • Gift certificate to indoor play places (LA favorites include: Snooknuk, The COOP, PLAY, Peekaboo Playland)
Or, if you choose to get anything that makes loud, repetitive noises or requires assembly by a parent or legal guardian, a prescription of Xanax. 


Bonne anniversaire!!

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