08 December 2010

Wrap each child's Christmas gift in different paper

Amazon: Christmas gift wrap assortment Kim's exceedingly sane present-wrapping suggestion:

For pre-readers, I have found that wrapping all of Child A's gifts in one wrapping paper and all of Child B's gifts in a different paper (and Mom and Dads' gifts in different papers yet) avoids the confusion that inevitably ensues on Christmas morning amid all the flying wrapping paper. This way, even kids who can't (or don't) read the tags know which gifts belong to whom.

Then again, perhaps gift tags are the perfect way to begin or practice reading. Something to consider.

Related: Craft paper makes cheap, recyclable wrapping paper

 

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My mother does this. She doesn't put tags on any gifts, but her "system" is that she knows all Santa paper belongs to my dad, all penguin paper was mine, etc.

Worked well, until the year I opened Dad's pants, and my brother got a package of my bras.

Don't count your non-readers out of the game too quick though. It only works if everybody's name starts with a different letter for the really little ones. Just write the first letter very clearly and then even the baby can learn to recognize whose name is what letter. I was blown away when my 20 month old was able to pass out all the presents correctly last year. It takes a lot of patience on everyone's part and you can't have the gung-ho everybody diving in and opening at the same time. It has to be very orderly and a lot of waiting for your turn.

LOVE the idea of different wrapping paper too though!

We use different wrapping paper for another reason. My kids like to go through the presents that are out under the tree and try to guess what they are getting. We wrap each child's gifts in a different paper so they don't know which gifts are theirs. It makes for a bit more excitement, and less guessing (oh, this is a book!) before the day.

We had Ginger's problem in our household (trying to guess what presents were before it was time to open them). My mother started out with giving different wrapping paper to each child, but that was too obvious. (Once you can divide presents into "stacks" for each child you can make a guess as to which stack belongs to which child based on gifts you suspect might be there for a particular kid). So, she changed to marking numbers on a piece of the transparent tape used when wrapping (1 for eldest child, 2 for 2nd child ...). However, that didn't last long as they were quickly discovered and decoded. Her ultimate solution was marking each present with a number that belonged to a certain "set". (e.g. Child 1 is all prime numbers, Child 2 is all numbers divisible by 3, Child 3 is all perfect squares). That system was sufficient to keep my siblings and I guessing until we were too old to be bothered to put that sort of effort into decoding who was getting what before opening time.

That system falls apart as soon as you have presents from outside your immediate family, though. You're not going to insist your friends or grandparents or cousins all follow the same wrapping scheme, after all.

But half the fun of a big pile of gifts under the tree is the jumble of different papers and the thrill of discovering, "oh, this one's for me!".
For non-readers, you could always choose a specific Christmas-themed sticker to put on the tag/package somewhere.

My aunt used to label gifts with different color dots. She would make a key indicating which child was which dot and then hide the list for the kids to find. The rule was they couldn't wake her up until they found the list. She came up with some pretty inventive hiding places that gave her some time to sleep in on Christmas morning. :)

My mother also used to color code our gifts with different paper. This stopped the incessant guessing, especially when we were expecting a gift and immediately knew what it was. So my sister had one paper and I had another and there was never a name tag. We didn't know until Christmas morning which paper was hers and which was mine. It worked very well!

I do it now for my 4 and 7 year olds. It stops them from digging through in advance of the shaking and prodding and incessant questions about what is this and who has more and bigger and why.

we do this - it has worked wonderfully! Although I am waiting for my kids to ask me how I know which paper goes with which kid!

I have done this for years. The kids look forward each year to seeing what wrapping paper they have. It also majorly helps with not accidentally giving the wrong kid the wrong present to open.

It's fun to print out a set of small pictures of your kid/family members and use those as tags on the gifts. No reading issues, easy to tell what belongs to who!

My mom did this with the gifts for me and my two cousins for years. One was bunny paper (yes, you can find Christmas bunny wrapping paper), one was bears, and I was a third theme that changed year-to-year.

She labeled the gifts too, but this helped tell at a glance if a gift was for one of the three kids or for an adult.

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