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Wrap It Up - Making Handmade Gift Wrap With Your Child

For most families, the winter holidays are steeped in tradition. From religious celebrations to festive meals, traditions bring us joy. They also bring us a sense of security and familiarity. Traditions are especially important to children. They help them find their place within the family and the community. Traditions emphasize that each of us are a treasured part of a greater whole and that we belong.

This year why not adopt a new tradition—making handmade gift wrap! It is an easy, inexpensive way to share the holiday spirit with your children. With some very basic art and craft supplies you can turn plain paper into a cherished memory.


The Basics

• Cover your crafting area with newspaper to catch the splatter.
• If using paint, be sure to use non-toxic varieties. In addition, watercolors work better than tempera, which tends to be too thick and cracks when the paper is folded.
• Gather small containers such as egg cartons, yogurt containers, medium size plastic lids, and aluminum pie pans to put paint in.
• Collect old paint and tooth brushes of all sizes to use.
• When picking the paper, be sure to take into account that for some designs you will be using paint. Therefore, the paper must be somewhat sturdy. While printer paper is not substantial enough for the job, construction paper is too heavy. Brown craft paper, newsprint, or butcher paper works best. For smaller gifts, you can even use paper grocery bags.
• Finally, smock up, choose one of these designs or make your own, and have fun!

Gotta Hand it To You. No matter what the occasion, gift wrap made from your children’s handprints is a favorite. It captures the spirit of giving and is a heartwarming keepsake.


What You Need
• Paper
• Paints—one color for each child
• Flat plastic lids or aluminum pie pans for paints
• Masking tape to secure paper to the work surface


What You Do
• Assign each child a paint color and container.
• Have children put their hands in the paint palm down and then hold it over their container to allow the excess to drip off.
• Then have then place their hands on the paper at various intervals.
• Allow the paper to dry thoroughly—then cut and wrap!

You Say Potato. Who doesn’t remember making potato stamps! Follow these directions to put your spuds and your imagination to work for a gift wrap that won’t be soon forgotten.


What You Need
• Clean, good size potatoes
• Sharp knife—for parents only!
• Ballpoint pen
• Paper
• Masking tape
• Assorted paints
• Flat plastic lids or aluminum pie pans for paints


What You Do
• Cut your paper to the desired length and secure it to your work surface with masking tape.
• Parents, cut the potatoes in half
• Decide with your children on a design. Younger children may enjoy making a star or round tree ornament. Older children have the dexterity for more complicated designs, such as wreaths, trees, or holiday word messages.
• Have your child draw their design on the potato half with a ballpoint pen.
• Then parents use the sharp knife to cut out the design.
• Have your child dip their potato in paint and use it to make a stamp design on the paper.


Holiday Greetings. Everyone appreciates a personalized holiday greeting and homemade wrapping paper doesn’t get simpler than this!


What You Need
• Paper
• Masking tape
• Assorted brightly colored pens, crayons, and markers


What You Do
• Cut your paper to the desired length and secure it to your work surface with masking tape.
• Spend a few moments with your children talking about what the holidays means to them. Then help them write a single word or phrase that captures this feeling. It can be as simple as a single word like magic or a longer phrase such as peace, love, and joy.
• Have children who are able to repeatedly write their personal message across the paper. For younger children, adults or older siblings may help with the writing but the message is still all theirs.

A few other ideas I have used with my children included wrapping presents
• in the colorful Sunday comics,
• in layers of tissue paper and adhering stickers of assorted sizes and colors to suit the recipient of the gift.
• Making the tops of gift boxes display cases for family pictures, baby photos, good reading material gleaned from magazines for the receiver.

Making handmade gift wrap with your children is a fun and creative tradition you can share. These are just a few ideas to get you started. But I am sure you and your children can think of many other that capture your personal essence and holiday spirit. Have Fun!


Caron Goode, Ed.D. draws insight from fifteen years in private psychotherapy practice and thirty years in the fields of education, personal empowerment, and health and wellness. She is the author of ten books ( and the founder of the Academy for Coaching Parents, ( a training program for parents and professionals who wish to mentor other parents. Caron is a mom and step-mom, who lives with her husband in Ft. Worth, Texas. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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