Laume and the Gift Bag Redux

Laume, one of my five readers, she of Beach Treasure Blog, wrote in the comment box:

This whole gift bag thing – I’m on the fence with it. On the plus side, the gift bags in the photos are so adorable I want won for ME! On the negative, even though it takes an insane amount of time, I do like so many things about wrapping paper. I like wrapping gifts. I get bored with the same paper year after year though, so wouldn’t fabric bags be even worse! But they would be traditional and I tend to get attached to all things traditional.
For a number of years I’ve had an insane amount of wrapping paper and ribbons and things-you-can-stick-on-packages to use up. Some I bought during my years of being addicted to after holiday shopping binges, some from my mom who gave me all her shopping binge excess when she moved. I’ve made a commitment to use it all up as best I can. I’m really excited because I’m almost completely out of wrapping paper this year and I don’t want to buy any new so I can start fresh with any idea or theme I want next year. I have whittled my box of ribbons and stuff down to half a box, still have lots of that. And don’t even ask me about my entire BOX of boxes of Yule cards – sigh. I might start giving those to my kids.
It does occur to me though that I’m always at a loss for the proper sized boxes for small items. Maybe making up some of this gift bags for smaller items would be a good thing.
What do you do if it’s a fragile item? Put it in a box and then in a bag?

Oh,and P.S. – because I obviously didn’t write enough in my first comment! – I also love the way the wrapping paper entertains my cats. They love “helping” me wrap. They love sitting and leaping from the piles of wrapped packages. They treat them like perches. I suspect that gift BAGS would be treated more like cat beds and would be all fuzzy and cat hair decorated by the time I handed them to their recipients. But most fun of all, I love how the orgy of unwrapping creates an entire room awash in boxes and paper and ribbons and my cats dive and swim and tunney in the great big sea of paper. I believe my cats wait in anticipation ALL YEAR for that one glorious night of wrapping paper bliss.

The extent of Laume’s comments demand that I write another whole blog post about gift bags. So, I will answer each of Laume’s section in order, unless I don’t feel like it:

1. This whole gift bag thing – I’m on the fence with it. On the plus side, the gift bags in the photos are so adorable I want won for ME! On the negative, even though it takes an insane amount of time, I do like so many things about wrapping paper. I like wrapping gifts. I get bored with the same paper year after year though, so wouldn’t fabric bags be even worse! But they would be traditional and I tend to get attached to all things traditional.

We use mostly gift bags, when they aren’t in storage, but we can’t get away from wrapping paper. Our wrapping paper does tend to last for a long time since we only use it for people we don’t think will get the gift bag thing.

We now have about 10 years worth of bags and I can’t remember all the fabric I used until I see it. My SIL commented that she had wrapped something in a bag I made in 1996. She wasn’t even in the picture then! I love that history aspect.

It is also great to use fabric that you don’t want to cut up, because you get to see it in all of is glory over and over. Also, I have no intention of making a Christmas quilt and there are so many wonderful Christmas fabrics that gift bags are a great excuse to buy cool Christmas fabric. Every year I make new bags to spice up the array of bags and use up more fabrics.

Of course, you can also make gift bags for other holidays and events and use up those large conversationals that you love, but will never use for a quilt.

2. For a number of years I’ve had an insane amount of wrapping paper and ribbons and things-you-can-stick-on-packages to use up. Some I bought during my years of being addicted to after holiday shopping binges, some from my mom who gave me all her shopping binge excess when she moved. I’ve made a commitment to use it all up as best I can. I’m really excited because I’m almost completely out of wrapping paper this year and I don’t want to buy any new so I can start fresh with any idea or theme I want next year. I have whittled my box of ribbons and stuff down to half a box, still have lots of that. And don’t even ask me about my entire BOX of boxes of Yule cards – sigh. I might start giving those to my kids.

Well, I can’t really help you with the boxes and boxes of gift wrapping supplies. I definitely think you should use them up…. or give them away. If you enjoy the gift wrapping process (which I absolutely DO NOT), then go for it. Gift wrap is good for little kids, too (though they do get the hang of opening gift bags soon enough). As I mentioned above, we still use gift paper for some gifts. I think gift bags, aside from the fabric acquisition benefits, are great for recycling and reusing. Very little mess in the house and the recycling bin does not overflow.

We still buy cards every year and send them out. They have nothing to do with gift bags except that I can choose to write nice notes to people in my cards rather than spending 3 or 4 days wrapping.

3. It does occur to me though that I’m always at a loss for the proper sized boxes for small items. Maybe making up some of this gift bags for smaller items would be a good thing.
What do you do if it’s a fragile item? Put it in a box and then in a bag?

Yes, boxes are good for small or fragile items and we do put them in the box and then into the gift bag. you can wrap fragile items in bubble wrap (or those pillow things that come from Amazon work, too) before they go in the gift bag. I have also been known to wrap fragile or small items in small gift bags and put them in a larger gift bag especially if they are a group. This is sort of an alternative to the whole gift basket idea.

One of the great things about gift bags is that the present can be any shape. I, once, made a special bag for a weed whacker! Large things take a lot of fabric, but make it easy to wrap as well. Just stuff the thing into the bag. It does take a little extra time to make those special gift bags.

4. Oh,and P.S. – because I obviously didn’t write enough in my first comment! – I also love the way the wrapping paper entertains my cats. They love “helping” me wrap. They love sitting and leaping from the piles of wrapped packages. They treat them like perches. I suspect that gift BAGS would be treated more like cat beds and would be all fuzzy and cat hair decorated by the time I handed them to their recipients. But most fun of all, I love how the orgy of unwrapping creates an entire room awash in boxes and paper and ribbons and my cats dive and swim and tunney in the great big sea of paper. I believe my cats wait in anticipation ALL YEAR for that one glorious night of wrapping paper bliss.

Make your comments long, if you want! I love it!

I am happy for your cats and their joy of the holiday season. We have no cats, so they don’t factor into the equation. We have Sparky the visiting fish and he is fine with the gift bags.

Just incorporate some bags into your traditions. You don’t have to convert all at once. It will get your into your sewing room during the holidays, which will lower your stress level and be a fast and satisfying project. You will also get lots of comments around the Christmas tree. They look so pretty under the tree.

Go forth and make gift bags!

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

3 thoughts on “Laume and the Gift Bag Redux”

  1. hi Jaye ,
    I’m sitting on the fence with this one too. I do have quite a bit of large scale christmas prints and I think that they will be made into one or 2 bags this coming year – but as Laume says- there’s lots of paper to use up and get rid of.
    I keep saving those reusable gift bags and have some new ones that I rescued from getting squished in the madcap cleanup.

  2. Committee: I DO think you should use up your existing gift wrap and definitely save what you can for next year. However, I also think it is important to spend as little time as possible on wrapping gifts during the holidays. I think it is best to reduce the to do list and spend time with family. Aside from allowing you to see cool Christmas prints year after year, you also don’t have to spend precious time alone in the back closet wrapping*wrapping*wrapping for days at a time.

    Also, it is not an all or nothing proposition. Did you see some Christmas fabric at the after Christmas sales that you liked? Buy a couple of yards and make some gift bags. Introduce them slowly into the mix and when your paper runs out you will have this great collection of gift bags to use.

    As I mentioned gift bags are also a great way to try out all the stitches on your machine as well as testing embellishments without committing to a large project.

  3. I think I shall make a few gift bags for next year.

    I have made pillowcases in the past which let me use up a large amount of holiday prints.

    This year I pieced 3 simple (larger than lap small than bed) quilts. They won’t make it to the quilting machine this year but I feel good about having used up the fabric,and pretty confident they will be quilted by next year.

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