A Mason jar you decorate can be a fun way to give a gift card. (Photo: TNS)
Gift cards are the most requested gift item this holiday season, with 62% of people reporting that they top their wish list, according to the National Retail Federation.
They're easy to buy but kind of boring to wrap, much less outwit the recipient as to what's inside. But gift givers can go beyond the envelope with creative ways to wrap their gift cards.
"We like to encourage people to think outside the traditional gift box," said Bet David, master designer of gift presentation for Hallmark.
Here are some tips:
Change the dimensions: "It's somewhat easy to throw off the recipient by simply changing up the size of your package," David said. "I once gave my son a gift card attached to a brick, wrapped in a box about the size of a shoe box."
Have some fun: A friend recounted how, last Christmas, her brother wrapped a plain beige switch plate (you know, the hollow frame for light switches on the wall) for his 20-something niece. When she unwrapped the switch plate, she looked slightly mystified before cheerfully thanking her uncle. He then suggested she take it out of the packaging. That's when she discovered the gift card, snugly taped to the back. A great laugh was had by everyone. Any number of odd items can be funny hiding places for the real gift.
Scavenger hunt: Instead of wrapping the actual gift card, what you'll wrap is a written clue, David said. For example, "Go look where your clothes get dried after they're washed" or "Check out what's inside of your sister's soccer shoes." Use as many clues as you want, ending up with the gift
card in the final hiding place.
Bottled up: Rebekah Cooksey, vice president of education and projects at Michaels, suggests tucking a gift card into a decorated Mason jar. Paint the lid with craft paint. Then coat the jar with watered-down white glue and sprinkle on crystal glitter, gently shaking off the excess. Glue a miniature figurine onto the top of the lid and let dry. Add a ribbon, if desired.
Buried treasure: David suggests filling a box with the recipient's favorite treat (anything from jelly beans to a wax-paper-wrapped box of brownies). Then, put the gift card in an envelope and tuck it inside the box, too.
Match the card to the food: Karen Hartman, organizational expert at the Container Store, suggests putting the gift card in a takeout box (for restaurants) or mug filled with coffee beans (for a coffee shop card). A take-out menu to the gift card's restaurant, she added, would be a nice touch.
Takeout containers can be good for wrapping restaurant gift cards. Add a takeout menu from the restaurant for an added touch. (Photo: TNS)
Box-in-a-box: This idea from David is an adaptation of the Russian nesting dolls concept. Wrap the gift card in a small box wrapped inside a bigger box inside a bigger box, etc. Each box should be wrapped to look as if it is the final package. Again, consider throwing in a handful of rocks to throw off the weight or to add an interesting rattle when shaken — even a handful of jingle bells would make a festive holiday noise, she says.
Popcorn and a movie: Hartman suggests wrapping a movie theater gift card in a bag filled with popcorn — but it also could be slipped into a box of candy.