Last Sunday I hosted my annual Girlfriends Wrapping Party and it was so much fun!
If you're not familiar with this event, friends arrived at my house with their unwrapped gifts for family and friends.
I had tables set up with wrapping paper, ribbons, and other supplies, along with copious amounts of food and drink because wrapping can take a lot out of you! 😉
Over the course of the next several hours, friends caught up while wrapping their gifts. I love that people complete a holiday chore while enjoying the company of friends.
Keep reading for more details, including why it’s a great activity to put on YOUR calendar for next December.
How I Came to Host a Wrapping Party
A wrapping party combines several things I absolutely love:
- Gift giving
- Wrapping gifts
My mom (Irene) was a single parent who supported my sister and I by working as a waitress. Though she barely made enough money to keep the lights on, she loved Christmas and everything about it.
I’m not sure how old I was (maybe 9 or 10?) when Irene taught me how to wrap gifts with beautiful bows on top. I have vivid memories of wrapping gifts on the floor of our living room because our house was so small, there wasn’t room to wrap anywhere else!
As I got older, a wrapping party was a great way to share my love of Christmas, gift giving and gift wrapping with friends. In fact, at one of my early wrapping parties my then-husband drew this picture to welcome guests:
Why this Party Works So Well
A Christmas tree surrounded by attractively wrapped gifts is part of our collective holiday memory.
This image is literally included in multiple Christmas carols, including the classic I’ll Be Home for Christmas (I’ll be home for Christmas. You can count on me. Please have snow and mistletoe. And presents on the tree) and the more recent Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson
A wrapping party works so well because:
- Guests complete a holiday task while they’re having fun.
- Christmas requires wrapping many gifts---in a compressed period of time.
- Wrapping presents encourages people to flex their artistic side as they select wrapping paper and ribbon for each gift
- It reinforces a sense of community and shared holiday spirit.
- You can easily mix and mingle different friend groups.
- It's interesting to see what others are giving as gifts and can provide ideas for people you still need a gift for.
Hosting a Wrapping Party: Tips to Make It Merry
I’ve hosted a wrapping party for several years now, and each time I learn something new.
While the event certainly isn’t hard, having wrapping supplies and enough space for people to wrap gifts does require planning---and a willingness to move furniture out of the way!
Keep reading for tips you may find helpful to host your own party.
Supplies Needed for a Wrapping Party
Gift wrapping can be elaborate or as simple as you like. At minimum, you should plan to have the following:
- Wrapping paper
Ideally, each person should have a roll of tape and a pair of scissors to wrap with.
(The first year I had the party, this didn’t occur to me and I found myself scouring my kids bedrooms in search of more.)
If you don’t have enough, feel free to ask your guests to bring their own.
Best Set-Up for Wrapping Party
It's as easy as 1, 2, 3 to set up for a wrapping party.
1. You need a lot of space for multiple people to wrap gifts at the same time. I clear the furniture out of my family room and set-up there.
If your home doesn’t allow for this or it sounds like too much work, a garage or any other open space works. A friend of mine once hosted a similar event in the clubhouse of her neighborhood.
2. I like to set up long tables (with chairs) for people to wrap at. Assume two people can comfortably wrap at each table.
3. My favorite approach is to place the wrapping supplies on a central table or two. (I’ve tried putting paper and ribbons at each table, but they tend to get in the way of wrapping.)
A few more tips:
- Clear a path from your front door to the wrapping area.
- Put away any breakables or animals.
- Gifts come in all shapes and sizes, including oversized toys, power tools and bean bag chairs. The more space your guests have to move around, the better!
Food and Drink for a Wrapping Party
I usually have the party on a Sunday afternoon. I serve a soup or two, heavy appetizers and a variety of Christmas cookies.
I like to offer a signature holiday cocktail to guests once they get settled at their wrapping spot and have other beverages on hand.
I usually have wrapping in the family room and spilling over into the kitchen, and set-up the food buffet style in the dining room.
Host Your Own Wrapping Party
Thinking of hosting a wrap party next year? Want more details on this event?
Click subscribe to receive my step by step guide, “Best Wrapping Party Ever.”
The funniest part of the wrapping party for me?
I’ve never wrapped any of my own gifts at the party!
Hosting this event means I’ve usually been too busy rushing to get my house decorated and the party supplies in place to even have purchased a single gift!