With the clock ticking down to Christmas Day, it's not unusual to find a few of Santa's elves in a panic wrestling with wrapping paper. Take some of the stress...

Share story

With the clock ticking down to Christmas Day, it’s not unusual to find a few of Santa’s elves in a panic wrestling with wrapping paper.

Take some of the stress off the holiday with a few simple packaging tricks.

For starters, use gift bags. They come in many styles, sizes and price ranges. Some even come with tissue and gift tags. Just pop the gift in, cover with tissue, write a name on the tag and you’re done.

If you want to add a personal touch, like we did with this bag, gather colorful lunch-sack style bags, a hole punch, ribbon and small ornaments.

Place a gift, cookies or candies in a sack, and fold the top over. Punch two holes in the folded flap. Thread the ribbon through the holes, add the ornaments, thread the ribbon back through the holes and tie a bow in front.

Too much effort? Skip the ornaments. Thread the ribbon through the holes just once and tie a bow.

What? You’re not looking forward to tying bows on the 24 cookie bundles you promised to pass out at the Christmas party? No problem. Skip the hole punch, ribbon and ornaments. Seal the sacks with fancy holiday stickers. The beauty of this last version is that even small children can join in the packaging fun.

The supplies can be found at most stores that carry craft and gift-wrap supplies.

Judy Averill, digs editor, and Angela Lo, Seattle Times desk editor