Editor's note: This article was published in Grand Traverse Scene magazine's Holidays 2019 issue. Pick up a free copy at area hotels, visitor's centers, chambers of commerce or at the Record-Eagle building on Front Street. Click here to read GT Scene in its entirety online.

There is an art to wrapping gifts that might make a merry Michelangelo blush with envy. Or a child burst with bubbled-over anticipation.

Gifts for kids and grandkids, fathers, mothers and significant others, siblings, grandparents, friends and even Fido can be wrapped with ribbons, fabric, comics, newsprint, old calendars, copies of family photos, sheet music, aluminum foil, glue and glitter, old ties and even bow ties, lace doilies, stickers, or whatever else the artistic imagination unleashes.

And if you’re a person who likes the best of what Mother Nature has to offer, you might use pine cones, twigs, driftwood, large leaves, pine needles, colorful pebbles and more to accent your gift wrappings.

If half the fun is opening a gift, it only makes sense that half the fun might be found in creating the perfect, personalized wrapping for the gift, too.

“Some people like to make special, personalized pillow cases and then put their gifts in those,” said Tawni Young, owner of InterQuilten in Traverse City.

“I’ve seen people use a hand-made scarf to wrap a gift in. They’ve used ribbons and cords. The wrapping can be just as special as the gift.”

Amanda Walton, manager of Toy Harbor in Traverse City, chuckled at the notion some parents use LEGOs to construct a small “package” that hides a gift for their child.

But as colorful and creative as those wondrous toy bricks are, nothing quite beats using a simple, brown paper bag for gift wrap, she said.

“The little kids, especially, love to decorate brown paper bags,” Walton said. “They love to color them, paint them — whatever their imagination tells them — to make something special to hold their special gifts.”

Walton also has heard of wrapping gifts and candies between layers of clear plastic food or bubble wrap.

“Imagine: you can see those gifts, but you can’t,” she said. “And it must be fun watching your child rip the wrap apart trying to get at them.”

Just about anything gathering dust on a shelf or in the cupboards can be used to decorate a package.

Wooden Scrabble letters can spell out whom the gift is for, colorful paper cupcake liners can be flattened and cut into stars, last year’s tinsel garland can be weaved and wrapped around a gift until it becomes its own artistic creation.

When it comes to giving a gift to Fido or Spike, you might want to wrap it in layer after layer of tissue paper or a combination of tissue paper and twine, said Larissa Hunter, manager at Pets Naturally in Traverse City. Then sit back and watch the fun.

“I’ve wrapped gifts this way and then stood back and watched — let ‘em have it, let ‘em rip it open,” Hunter said. “Wrapping (pet) gifts and watching them rip it open is fun for everyone.

“Of course, then comes the clean-up — still worth it, though,” she said.

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