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The best ways to wrap holiday gifts

Whatever you do, don't leave it to the last minute

The world's population can be divided into two groups: those who wrap their holiday gifts early and carefully set them aside (or hide them), and those who sit up until 3 a.m. wrapping presents in a frenzy the night before giving them. Whether you're a procrastinator or a plan-ahead type, you'll still want to have your paper, boxes, and ribbons at the ready for a wrapping marathon, whenever it happens. Read on for our favorite gift wrapping tips, and make sure to be good this week — we wouldn't want to see any Food52ers on the naughty list.

Edible gifts
There are a wide variety of ways to package edible gifts: cookie tins, cellophane bags, tupperware — the list goes on. One of our favorite techniques is a DIY gift bag: buy some small bags in bulk, embellish them with stamps and markers, and fill them with your favorite holiday treat.

We dressed up these simple striped paper bags with rubber stamps and a silver pen, and then filled them with Spice-Brined Pecans. While the package may be small, the personalization and care that goes into these treats make them a gift that anyone would be happy to receive. They are also a great way to give gifts to a large number of people; bring a bunch to the office, and you'll score some serious points with your coworkers.

Pick your paper
We're big fans of simple, understated presentation brightened up with small details. Unwaxed butcher paper (also known as Kraft paper) provides the perfect blank canvas, and is very easy to work with. It folds well, too, so you won't suffer from that crinkle-breaking phenomenon that often results from trying to make crisp corners with traditional wrapping paper.

As an added bonus, you can buy it cheaply in large quantities, and it will never go out of style (no need to worry about how you'll feel about dancing snowmen or neon menorahs next year). Amanda likes it because you can use it for any occasion, from Christmas to baby showers, and dress it up with whatever ribbons or decorations you like.

Labels
Simple wrapping paper means more leeway to get colorful with labels and tags. Multi-colored tape makes great labels, and a silver pen adds a touch of sparkle. Looking for other ways to dress up kraft paper? Decorate it with rubber stamps, or let your kids decorate presents as an art project.

Tie it up
Ribbon options abound, and they're another great way to embellish simple packaging. There's traditional ribbon, twine (and glitter twine), and grosgrain ribbon, which you can buy in bulk at fabric stores.

Boxes
Minimalists (or lazy wrappers) rejoice! If your box is pretty enough, you don't need any paper. Save any beautiful boxes you acquire throughout the year, and repurpose them for gifting when you need to. Simply wrap them up with ribbon or twine, and let their beauty speak for itself. And if you receive one, don't be afraid to regift it — we won't tell.

Whatever you do, don't let gift wrapping make you crazy. Simple decorations will always suffice; you don't want elaborate packaging to distract from the thoughtful gift inside.

This story was originally published on Food52.com: The best ways to wrap holiday gifts

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