This year marked the 14th year for my annual gift wrapping party. The great thing about a gift wrapping party is that it allows you time to socialize and catch up with friends while taking care of a necessary and often daunting task.
You wrap. You yap.
|The favor bags included a variety of really cute name tags that guests could add to the gifts they were wrapping.|
This year, I wound up hosting three different dates – one of which doesn’t fall until next week. Some parties have more attendees than others, but you want to be sure to only invite a handful of people as the wrapping takes a lot of room. One nice thing about a wrapping party is that it doesn’t really matter how few people you have. You could have as much fun with two people as with seven and it will still be fun and your wrapping goal can still be accomplished.
Since I knew we were going to have a smaller group one night, I opted to go the simple route and serve cookies and cocoa. I made three batches of cookies the night before: coconut pecan praline (always a hit), chocolate chip oatmeal pecan, and oatmeal raisin for one party. At another party, we had cupcakes and cocktails. The weather dictates what I decided to serve. What’s funny is that the wrapping party I posted about previously was canceled due to the snow storm we had in Arkansas that weekend. Last year, the temperature almost broke (missed it by one degree) the record high for December 14.
You will see that I often reuse the same decor but just change the displays.
|No bake coconut pecan praline cookies are a perfect Christmas party treat. Check out my recipe post here.|
Another determinant of the type of food is the time of day the party is scheduled. I have served different types of things. Some years, it has been soup or chili for a party at lunch or dinner time. Other years, we had appetizers and wine. Some years, we go really simple with desserts, like this year. It all goes over well, no matter what is served, but it is always simple.
One thing that the hostess of a gift wrapping party must understand is that there will be a huge mess occupying the party area throughout the duration of the gathering. There really isn’t a way around this given that you have multiple people hauling their gifts and paper supplies over so they (and you) can sit on your floor and wrap presents for several hours.
I’ve noticed lots of ladies tackle their gift wrapping in different ways. My friend Cally likes to organize her things before she comes over. This prep includes removing price tags, placing easy-to-wrap items inside gift boxes (if necessary), and labeling the name of the recipient on the bottom of the box. She leaves her larger and odd-shaped gifts at home to deal with there. She and several others also bring a special carrier for wrapping supplies so they ensure they have everything they want to have at easy access. Some friends spend the whole time wrapping the gifts but leave the ribbons and bows for later. Others bring presents already wrapped and spend the time making elaborate bows. Others complete the whole process, one gift at a time. Some friends don’t have their own gifts but help others wrap. So much flexibility!
Here are some suggestions I have for hosting a successful wrapping party:
- Do keep the food offerings simple and keep yourself out of the kitchen during the party. The food is nice to have but your friends are coming over to visit and wrap presents. The focus is not the food. Besides, you have wrapping to do, too!
- Do make sure you have cleared furniture so you have ample space for visitors to spread out and wrap.
- If you are running tight on space in your main gathering room, free up another room so each guest can have a drop-off spot for her gifts and supplies.
- Do not invite more than a handful of guests for each party. Some years, I have had two separate wrapping parties so as not to exclude any friends. It was better to host two separate gatherings than overcrowd my guests. For my house, it would be difficult for more than five people to spread out in the same room.
- Provide extra wrapping supplies to share with the guests. Since transporting all of their gifts and supplies can be challenging, it is likely someone will forget something. It is also fun to share and trade papers, ribbons, and tags.
- Use the wrapping supplies as your party decor to keep things simple. You have to have the supplies available anyway. It is better to work them into the decor than to have them to the side as clutter.
- Plan your gift wrapping party well in advance as you know people’s December calendars fill up quickly. You have to be careful though. If you plan it too early, many people may not have purchased many gifts yet and will have nothing to wrap. If you plan it too late, people are busy and can’t come or they may have already wrapped their gifts so that their tree won’t look bare.
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