Party Plan: Christmas Gift Wrapping Party

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Wrapping Christmas gifts is generally a task you either love or dread. I have usually found it a task to dread, unless I can get it done well in advance of the holiday.

Because I have a large extended family that exchanged gifts, I used to try to do all my Christmas shopping finished by the end of October so I wouldn’t get caught without gifts at the last minute. And because I am a single mom, I needed to save the last-minute hours to put together and wrap my sons’ Santa gifts.

So I decided that the way to make this “necessary evil” fun was to do it with friends. Your friends are sure to be in the same boat you are, so why not invite them over to work together? Host a Christmas gift wrapping party!

If you have children in school, a brunch or lunch party is perfect. If you have dads who can help in the evening or your children are old enough for you to be gone for a while in the evening, host a dinner or dessert party.

Since people are so busy in December, you may want to poll your friends to find out the day and time that suits the greatest number of guests. You can do this by emailing them in advance yourself or by using Meeting Wizard, a free online scheduling website.  Once your guests have responded to the choice of times and dates, you can make your decision and send a confirmation email announcing the party’s day and time, and any optional reminders.

But if you are fairly confident about the date you chose, a cute free invitation from an online invitation site is the easiest way to ask your friends to join you! Ask your friends to bring their gifts over in strong tote bags and to bring some gift-wrapping supplies to share. You should gather up a variety of wrapping papers, tissue paper, gift bags, ribbons, bows, gift tags, scissors, tape and empty boxes. Have lots of sticky notes to label gifts and supplies so they won’t get mixed up.

You have many options about how to handle your gift-wrapping. Each person can wrap their own gifts with their own paper and ribbons, but you will need a lot of flat, hard surfaces to give each guest working space.

What might work better is have an assembly line with several stations to handle wrapping each gift in paper, one to put on ribbons, bows and decorations and one for tags. If you decide to have an assembly line, have your guests label their gifts as to whose they are, the age of the recipients, who they are for and from, and if they want a bag or a box.

If at all possible, set up different stations for wrapping, ribboning and tagging on different tables. If some of your guests are better at wrapping, perhaps they could run that station for everyone, while someone else might do ribbons and bows. Perhaps a guest whose handwriting is pretty could handle making everyone’s tags.

Have lively Christmas music ready to play to help your guests get in the mood. Getting your guests in the spirit of the season will make their gift-wrapping tasks go more smoothly. The social time together with friends always makes the work seem less tedious.

Another way to get your guests in the mood is to have some delicious seasonal drinks and finger foods ready for them to nibble on as they begin to work. You will definitely want to have some drink identifiers to help guests keep their drinks straight, since they will be picking up and putting down their glasses often as they work. Be sure to have coasters available.

In addition, make certain you have lots of napkins available for wiping fingers before going back to wrapping. Cut-up fruits and vegetables and cheese and crackers would be easy appetizers to hold your guests over until you serve brunch or dessert after the work is done.

If you enjoy sharing party favors, the best kind for this party would be large vinyl or woven holiday tote bags available at an inexpensive price at many craft and discount stores. Every guest could find uses for a large tote at Christmas time–if not to carry the beautifully wrapped gifts they now have ready to give out.

Once all the gifts have been wrapped , decorated and tagged, have your guests take them and their supplies out to their cars, while you get the food ready. When they are back in the house, everyone can head to your buffet for their meal or dessert. The time to relax together is the real treat!

If you served cold drinks while everyone was wrapping, you might want to serve coffee or hot chocolate with special toppings or mulled cider or wine while everyone stops to relax together.

Depending on the time of day or evening, your menu should be light and seasonal. For example,  an egg casserole with seasonal muffins or scones would be terrific for a brunch, or try a big breakfast trifle like this–check out the recipe for this delicious six-layer trifle made with yogurt, rice cereal, fruit, granola, and coconut. Some of your guests may want to bring something to share instead of bringing gift-wrapping supplies.

With your friends’ help and company, you should have your gifts wrapped and ready to distribute well before the last minute. Enjoy!


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