Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

I love wrapping Christmas presents - it's my favourite part of Christmas-time. This year I honestly loved shopping for gifts, and that's not something I say often. And you know why? Because I didn't set foot in the mall. Once. BAM!

And after looking (aka, drooling for hours) at all of the DIY gorgeous ways to wrap gifts this year, I knew I had to do something special. Because I really believe gift-giving is about more than what's inside the paper. Maybe that's because I grew up in a home that was careful with money (my mom was a single mom for a long time), and we always saved the wrapping paper (and now get made fun of for it as an adult - c'est la vie!)

So this year, I decided to make my gifts really very lovely. 
I used brown packaging paper because I liked how simple and nostalgic it felt. I also am a bit of a craft supply hoarder. So I went upstairs to my secret stash under my bed (shh, don't tell) and found some bright red cheery cardboard buttons, white ribbon with a golden paisley design, and lots and lots of stick-on rhinestones.

Seriously, all these things were dug out of a $1 craft bin at Michaels. You really never know when you'll need/want things like this, so when I see a good deal, I grab first and ask questions later.

I'm an illustrator by trade, so of course I had to bust out my fine-point sharpie and hand-draw the tags directly onto the paper.
I varied some of the tags; some just with initials, some in fancy cursive (because I was taught calligraphy in undergrad), and wrote some names almost as big as the package. I put on some Christmas music, and had a lot of fun! I really don't like commercialized Christmas (Frosty the Snowman and all that nonsense), but the beautiful religious songs about Jesus really hit a chord. My favourite is O Come Emmanuel.

Even though Christ was not born on December 25th, I still believe that Christmas-time really is about celebrating His coming into this world; and is the reason we give gifts... to commemorate the gift we received in Him. Emmanuel means "God With Us", and I believe He truly is.

My sister Sarah is coming home tonight, and she, Mom, Grace (who is 11), and I are going to decorate the gingerbread house, watch the Ravens game, and then go to the midnight candlelit service at Church on Christmas Eve. I am so excited. Christmas is my favourite holiday of all, and I find myself always getting teary-eyed at the service. God has always been faithful to me, and somehow even when things seem dire, He always provides for me. And I feel it most of all at this time of year.

Blessings to you and your families, lovely birds ~ Merry Christmas!

{ all photos in this post (c) erin mcmanness 2011 }


  1. Are you guys going to Central for the candelight service? If so, heads up-- it's not at midnight this year. It's at 9pm. They got rid of the midnight service sadly. :( Merry Christmas!

  2. Amy - No, unfortunately... we go to Grace Fellowship up in Timonium. The service is at 11 I think. We miss you guys at Central, though! I really need to get back in touch! Merry Christmas, Amy <3 Hope you're well!

  3. Oh well, lucky you! You still get to go to a late service,lol! We are doing the 5 o'clock family service to see the Christmas play this year. Mostly so that we can driiink when we go out to dinner afterwards, haha!

    Yes! We must catch up someday. Unfortunately I am in Philly now and you're about to go Atlanta!! (Congrats by the way) Someday though ;)

  4. I love the packaging! I have lots of rolls of brown craft paper here that I use for birthday wrapping. I love using scraps of supplies too, so it is more fun wrapping. I have to say that I used regular Christmas paper this year. I found a multitude of it in a Christmas wrapping paper storage container I had in one of the extra bedrooms. I gave away packages of tags too.

    Next year I will be using my brown craft paper for Christmas too.

    Merry Christmas!


  5. merry christmas!

    love the way you draw all of those tags, so cute and unique!

  6. Lovely! Very understated, but still beautiful!

    Lynette - Sweet Posy Dreams
    Blogging Buddies

  7. These are beautiful! I love the packaging!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  8. When wrapping paper up, I use suitable labels I harvest from the collection of last year's Christmas cards.

    Not all are suitable, but some just ask to be recycled in that way - and it's a great way to re-check that you've read everyone's greetings, before consigning them to the supermarket oollection bin after Twelfth Night! I have some lovely ones I've not used yet this year - they will be tagged on packets of Christmas Candy which my daughter and I will be delivering to suitable recipients tomorrow on Boxing Day (just to lift those jaded Christmas spirits a little!)

    Happy 2012 to everyone - and I wish you all you wish for yourselves.

  9. Holly Crap! These are absolutely stunning! I'd be happy with just the wrapping ^_^

  10. Such a lovely idea! It gives you more room for your own creativity than a normal gift paper!

  11. oh look you got new year present too > Daily Dev for this gorgeous piece >> congrats :)!

  12. Such gorgeous wrapping:) Happy New Year Erin. Kala here with my new blog:

  13. Thanks so much you guys for sharing your wrapping inspiration, and for the kind words :)

    And Betty, thanks for alerting me to my DD! I would've missed it otherwise! Thank you!!


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