When I was a child and still believed in Santa, my favorite thing about Christmas was waking up that morning and running over to our tree. There, in addition to the same old presents that had been sitting underneath it for weeks, I’d find a whole new stack from Santa. This, I knew for sure, because they were wrapped in gift paper I’d never seen before. As I got older and started to suspect maybe Santa wasn’t real, I’d tear up our place in the weeks before Christmas looking for the tell-tale “Santa-only” wrapping paper as evidence. (Many years later I found out that my mom was aware of my investigating so she kept the special roll at her office and then snuck it home at the last minute.)
Now as a mom myself and having had to do the same thing for my children, I’ve realized how exhausting it is to keep up this ruse. And I don’t just mean answering all the endless questions like:
Was Santa ever a baby? How can he be at the Disneyland parade and the mall and standing outside CVS all in the same week? Doesn’t he get tired??
I’ve had to stammer my way through answering many of these questions with – let’s face it – the first lie that comes into my head. But, even more exhausting than being the reluctant encylopedia of the Santa mythology, is buying the “Santa-only” wrapping paper, finding a top secret hiding place for it, and then wrapping all the presents once the kids are asleep on Christmas Eve. The first few years of parenthood that I did this, I was up until 1am and almost too exhausted in the morning to enjoy watching my son unwrap them all.
Then, in my fourth year of pretending to be Santa, I discovered this holiday gift-wrapping tip that will change your life: reusable gift sacks. No, I don’t mean just a paper gift bag that keeps getting regifted among your friends like in this hilarious SNL sketch. I mean like a special giant canvas sack that “Santa” fills with toys and leaves in your home for Christmas morning.
This ingenius invention changed my entire Christmas Eve ritual! Now, I don’t stay up for hours wrapping and resenting every oddly-shaped gift we had decided to buy. I just throw everything in this hefty gift sack, fill the excess space with tissue paper, and then prop it up in front of our fireplace. Then I can spend the rest of my evening on the couch watching Hallmark Christmas movies and sipping hot cocoa. (Top of my watch list this year? Coming Home For Christmas.)
When my son wakes up on Christmas morning, he is JUST as excited to see this giant bag of goodies as he ever was to see a stack of neatly wrapped gifts. Somehow, I think it makes him feel more special to think that Santa filled an entire sack of toys and books just for him.
Some other benefits of this holiday gift-wrapping tip to use a reusable gift sack:
- Eco-conscious! No more piles of used wrapping paper, tape, and ribbons going into landfill
- Budget-friendly when you factor in how much you spend over the years on wrapping items
- Great for oddly shaped gifts
- No twinge of sadness watching them tear off all the paper that you spent hours carefully wrapping
I bought my Santa sack from a talented local mom who can personalize the name, font, and writing color. If your budget is super tight, you can also buy a generic cloth sack and attach a name tag to it. Trust me, if it’s placed under the tree or fireplace, your kid will get who it’s from and what’s inside!
This holiday gift-wrapping tip is not just for Christmas by the way! Being half-Jewish, we also celebrate Hanukkah in our house, which means EIGHT nights of gift giving! Oy vey. I found another crafty mom online who makes these Hanukkah-themed bags and they’ve been a great time-saver as well. Now, if only Hallmark made Hanukkah movies….