Brown Paper Packages Tied Up In String...
I've always found great joy in making and giving, so it's no surprise that I have always enjoy wrapping the gifts too. I truly believe that heartfelt gift wrap makes the recipient feel appreciated and cherished before they've even seen what's inside. I'm sharing my process here in hopes of encouraging you to forgo the shiny metallic bag of bows and, instead, forage for natural materials to top your gifts this year. There is so much inspiration in nature just there for the taking to act as gentle subtleties of the season you're celebrating.
When it’s time to wrap, I scrounge around my craft room and dried botanical hanging ladder to collect details that may work together to make my gift packaging more heartfelt and eco friendly. I also dehydrate a batch of sliced citrus and/or apples from our orchard.
Here’s a complete list of what I gather for holiday gift wrapping:
- kraft paper
- fresh cedar, eucalyptus, eucalyptus silver bells, and other fresh and dried botanicals that are festive and fit the season
- fresh rosemary sprigs (thyme and sage could also work here)
- dehydrated citrus and apple slices
- cinnamon sticks
- star of anise
- old fashioned peppermint sticks
- natural twine and red/white twine
- velvet ribbons in various widths (deep wine, camel and/or forest green)
- personalized gift tags
- hot glue gun and glue sticks
- hole punch
- black felt pen for addressing
I've created a list of my favorite botanical crafting supplies and tools; the ones I use everyday in my crafting projects. You can access my Amazon Botanical Crafting Supplies list HERE.
Kraft paper doesn't have to be new. I've often reused kraft paper for gifting multiple times and have found that the creases and wrinkles simply add to the gift's charm. Natural colored tissue paper, cloth napkins, tea towels, handkerchiefs, and thin scarves are repurposed alternatives to kraft paper.
Fresh and Natural Botanicals
For fresh botanicals, I always include cedar and various types of eucalyptus and silver bells for their festiveness, availability, fragrance, meaning, and long-lasting benefits. Other festive options that you may be able to find fresh in season include salix (pussy willow) stems, red (ilex) berry stems, juniper berries and foliage, holly, strawflower heads, tallow berry stems, and pinecones. In many cases, I simply use the natural materials I have leftover after I finish making fresh garland and wreaths to decorate my home. I've found that the pieces of fresh botanicals that are too small to use in my home decor are the perfect gift wrapping size.
Dehydrating Fruit Slices
- Preheat oven to the lowest setting your oven will allow and on convection setting (which utilizes fan circulation too). My oven goes down to 170 degrees F. Some ovens will only go down to 200 degree F. Anywhere in the 170-200 degree F range will work. The idea is to slowly draw out the moisture from the fruit without burning it.
- Slice the fruit with a mandolin or very sharp knife, approximately ¼" thick or less and lay out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake the slices, using the approximate dehydration times below, flipping the slices every hour or so.
Dehydrating times for oven-dried fruit:
mandarin orange slices: approx. 3-5 hours
naval orange slices: approx 4-6 hours
lime slices: approx 3-5 hours
lemon slices: approx 6-7 hours
grapefruit slices: approx 6+ hours
In addition to making gorgeous gift toppers, dehydrated citrus can be used in garland, as ornaments on your Christmas tree, as a cocktail garnish, and can add flavor to hot teas. Additionally, they often keep for several years if stored in an airtight glass jar. Though they may darken a bit with age, they are still beautiful!
Miniature Rosemary Wreath Gift Topper
Gently bend your sprig into a circle. If you find that the stem is woody and brittle, wrap it in a damp paper towel and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours or even overnight to soften the stem a bit.
Tie the ends together with a small piece of green floral wire. If you're adding multiple pieces of rosemary for a bushier wreath, use additional small pieces of wire to secure them.
Cut two pieces of twine. Their length should be determined by wrapping it around the length and height of the gift and then that measurement is doubled. Do this for both pieces.
- Loop one piece around the top of the wreath and the other piece around the bottom of the wreath. Tied the strings where they meet at the back of the bow and trim the tails.
During these December days leading up to Christmas, I live in the pursuit of comfort and botanical bliss; of crafting with botanicals, and gifting wrapping with them so that they may impact people’s lives in positive ways. It's truly so rewarding to watch a person's face light up when they realize that a gift, beautifully topped with natural materials, is for them.