Christmas gift wrapping in India

11:35 AM

How to get your Christmas gifts to feel Christmassy in India even without Holiday themed paper to wrap them in.

One of the question that inevitably pops in expat groups around Christmas is : "Where can I find Christmas themed gift-wrap paper in Mumbai" (or in any other Indian city).

This usually bring me back down memory lane of the first time I was fully intent on celebrating Christmas the "right" way with my back then boyfriend now husband. It was in 2005 and the struggle was so real I blogged about it.
Things got a bit better over the years but a little over a decade later, it is still not that easy to find quality gift wrap paper that doesn't shout "Happy Birthday" or come with either Mickey Mouse or the Disney Princess gang.
And to all my Indian readers, NO NO NO and a million time NO that cheap, flimsy metallic foil paper is not an option for Christmas paper.

This is something that is hard to explain because it is a cultural thing, and gift giving in India doesn't really have the same meaning it has in Europe to begin with.
And if there is one special occasion where gift giving is a MAJOR big deal in Europe it has to be Christmas. Not only must the gift inside being super meaningful and carefully chosen for the person who is going to receive it, it also has to be elegantly gift wrapped because the way you present it is as important as what's inside. It shows you really truly care about whoever you are giving it to.
Plus, unlike birthday presents, the Christmas ones usually get displayed under the tree at the start of the party.
As a kid I remember seeing our gifts under the tree a day before we actually got to open them, there was a kind of anticipation about it. And when you think about it, displaying gifts under the tree makes plenty of sense in the old Winter Solstice concept of building up momentum to celebrate the return of yet to bee seen light and goodness.

Anyhow, that is why the question of gift-wrap paper pops in expat groups, you never hear it about birthday, we all happily ask the shop to wrap our less exceptional gifts in flimsy sheets then.
But come the Holiday season and we are all on the hunt for special paper.

Last year I got lucky and found actual Christmas themed  paper at my local stationery shop, this year though they didn't have anything marketed as such. Which is why I used white, gold and silver paper, it's still festive, even if it is less traditional.

Gift-wrap paper in India tips and tricks: 

- The best place to start looking for gift-wrap paper is at your local stationery store or gift shop.

- Gift-wrap paper is commonly sold per sheet rather than per roll. This means you better stock up on enough sheets as bigger gifts might require more than one sheet.

- There are some stores that will sell rolls of paper, BUT be aware of the fact that there might not be more than 2-3 sheets worth of paper on the roll, and it will often cost you way more than said sheets.
Some shops, including mine also doesn't seem to understand the difference between adhesive glitter contact paper rolls and gift-wrap. I made that discovery the hard way one year.

- Bows and ribbons to decorate gifts is quite hard to find too. I have done without them for quite sometime. It's not worth the hassle or the price, you can decorate your gifts without those.

-Whenever you see a gift-wrap paper that is nice looking, buy it. Even if you are weeks if not months away from Christmas. Create your own stash of paper over time, it will replace the gift-wrap paper roll thing you were used to all your life.

Ways to get festive looking gifts WITHOUT a Christmassy paper wrap: 

- Pick a colour theme for your presents according to what you can find in stores rather than get stuck on the idea of finding anything Christmas related. This is what led me to go for the white and metallic hues paper this year. 

- Solid colour "kite paper" (aka silk paper) makes for a great alternative to Holiday gift wrap, all stationery shops stock it as it is commonly used for school projects. 

- Gift bags made of paper or fabric are usually sold in gift shops and stationery shops. This can make for a great reusable alternative to gift-wrap paper. 

- Ask the stationery shop for book covering paper, it comes in either brown or terracotta red. The sheets are much larger than gift-wrapping paper. 

- Use glitter glue, paint, or stamps to decorate your plain paper. 

-In a pinch, you can still use old newspaper and jazz it up with paint, ribbons, glitter. I did it for this year's advent calendar

- Instead of ribbons, use Christmas tree ornaments and handmade gift tags to decorate your gift. Or use glitter glue to write the name of the person directly on the paper (which is what I did this year)

- For smaller presents, simply use printer paper and doodle on it with metallic markers and pens, or use stamps to create a nice design. You could even ask your kids to do that part. 

With those tips, I'll take a bow. My gifts are all nicely wrapped and ready to go under the tree this weekend. We can't display them too long in advance because my cat has a gift-wrap fetish of sort and won't leave them alone. This year she already gave up on the idea of climbing the tree, which is a huge achievement already. 

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