ten minute Christmas decorating | pretty packages

by | Dec 9, 2015 | All Things Home, Decorating, Holiday, Winter | 24 comments

As I’ve been decorating for Christmas this year, I’ve shared that I’m all about keeping it simple.  Pretty things, fresh greenery, a few traditional touches and that’s about it.  I don’t want to have bins and bins of Christmas decor.

One touch that I do like to add each year is a few fake presents.  Empty boxes that I wrap just to look pretty.

I started doing this years ago when I didn’t have very much money for decorating.  I had empty boxes, wrapping paper and ribbon, so I could wrap a stack of boxes and set up a pretty arrangement on the cheap.  I also think that adding a few presents under the tree adds a little life before the real presents are put out on Christmas eve.

I have a really hard time finding Christmas wrapping paper I like.  The blue & white paper selection is usually pretty thin, I’ve found, and those that I find are not my taste.  They’re too cartoonish, too shiny, not the right shade of blue, etc.  I’m picky about paper.  Maybe unreasonably so.

So, I’ve decided to just go with white and brown craft paper and some blue & white gingham paper I found on Etsy.

Some of the plain paper I stamped or stenciled to make it a little more interesting.

And, since the paper is simple, I add lots of texture and interest with ribbon.  It’s all in the blue, white, green and light brown family, so it’ll work together, but there’s enough variety that the collection of presents will look eclectic.

I found most of the ribbon at Home Goods, World Market & Hobby Lobby.

Since these are “pretty packages”, I used hot glue to stick the ribbons into place.

And I like to layer smaller ribbons over thicker ones, to make them look more custom.

I love this gray crocheted ribbon…

See how some fun ribbon, layered in creative ways made these plain papers pop?

I also tucked some greenery into the bows…

And I wrapped a few wee-little presents in sheet music…

And all of the presents are stacked under the tree and on the goat cart

Calvin, my youngest, helped me put the presents out and he called the one with the bells “the little jingle guy.”  I loved that one, anyway, and his name endeared it to me even more.



I did save enough paper and ribbon to wrap my real presents like this, too.

And, yes.  I am the girl who asks for the bows back, so I can reuse them!

For more 10 minute Christmas decorating ideas, check out these amazing bloggers…

Inspired by Charm | DIY cookie cutter wreath

Four Generations One Roof | decorating with ornaments

Thistlewood Farms | 10 minute twig & boxwood mantle 

Julie Blanner | Christmas centerpiece

Dream Green DIY | doodle gift boxes

Finding Home | chalk pen galvanized buckets

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Laura Putnam

    So pretty! Thanks for joining us!

  2. Kaille

    Marian, you have such a great eye for color (and everything else)! These packages are just beautiful. Where did you find that spool of adorable jingle bell ribbon? Looking forward to seeing more of your home dressed for the holidays!

  3. Leah Prevost

    The little jingle guy present was the one that caught my eye first! I love the child’s mind at Christmas. Everything is so magical, it helps bring back lots of amazing memories. My 6yr old son has called Nutcrackers GrahamCrackers since he was 2! Every year he insists on lining up our collection of those wood men in his room 🙂

  4. Carrie

    So beautiful!! I love to keep a collection of wrapped-but-empty gifts, too! Happy holidays to you and yours 🙂

  5. Joanne B.

    I especially love the simple kraft paper with what look like a white painted/stenciled/stamped design. Can you please share how you did that one? Everything looks lovely!

  6. Tanya

    So pretty! I love the look of wrapped gifts so I wrap all the gifts and put them under the tree ahead of time. I use a code so no one knows which gift belongs to which child. We get to enjoy the pretty packages (usually brown paper, tied up with string), and the kids all work on deciphering the code. It’s become quite the holiday tradition, but I must admit that I’m running out of ideas for codes. 🙂

  7. Alison G

    I think my favorite part of your decorating is the budget friendly, be creative with what you have, shop the house, kind 🙂 It is such a materialistic world and you have not fallen prey to it. Keep it up and Happy Holidays to you.

  8. Lauren

    I also have a hard time finding wrapping paper that is pretty. I just ended up settling for ones that are ok and one that I think is hideous but my two year old just LOVES it because it has pink. I think your solution of fake presents is lovely because then I could make pretty ones and then have the real present wrapped in princess paper and the others. I hadn’t thought of brown craft paper. That would have been so much nicer and then you could add a pink bow. I think that I will try that next year.

    I also agree with Alison G. I love your simple but elegant decorating style. Thank you for your inspiration!

  9. Martha

    From someone who has bins & bins & bins & bins of Christmas stuff (name a theme for a tree & decorations & I can do it! Even have enough stuff for a Wizard of Oz tree!), I love your simple & pretty approach to seasonal decorating. I’m really hoping my Home Goods has that wonderful jingle bell ribbon!

  10. Melissa from Hey, Girlfriend!

    Beautiful! No wonder certain wrap and ribbons don’t stay put! I haven’t been using a glue gun! Thank you.

  11. Saskia

    What a great idea to have fake presents to dress up the tree before the real presents arrive… I would have never thought of it myself. Thank you for all the inspiration you provide. Happy holidays to you and your family.

  12. Vanessa

    How adorable. I love to use ribbon when wrapping gifts. It’s just enough to make any gift special and lovely.

  13. Indigo

    Very pretty. Here’s a suggestion: I always loved wrapping my gifts alike, same ribbon, same paper and then little decorations found in expensively. One day, years ago, I was shopping at Home Depot and spotted the wallpaper area. There was a sale bin so I looked thru and low and behold, I found embossed white paper, green and white checked paper and a wonderful red and cream toile. I loved the weight and designs, bought one roll of each and used them for my Xmas wrapping paper. The weight is terrific. And when you use hot glue to secure the wrapping instead of tape, well it doesn’t get any better. And it came wide enough for big packages. Is this genius or what?

    • Kimberly

      Yes, Indigo, it is absolutely genius! Very creative and thinking-outside-the-box. A friend of mine used wallpaper as drawer liner for the same reasons: on sale, beautiful designs, and the weight was nice and durable. Genius! 😉

  14. marylisa noyes

    I love the layering of the ribbons. east year I wrap and put bows on my hanging pictures and mirrors. It makes the walls look festive with a pop of Christmas color.

  15. B Folk

    The church I attend just had our Christmas event, The Gift of Christmas. Our table decorations were empty, wrapped boxes. We also hot-glued the bows and ribbons to stay put. At the end of the event, we told the attendees that the gift boxes were up for grabs, and we only had a few left by the time everyone had gone! Great way to avoid storing all that stuff, and they will use the boxes in their own, creative ways. Marian, I am a “save the bows” girl, too:-) That horse is very sweet, I’ll have to comb the thrift shops for something similar. Your pics are all lovely, as usual.

  16. Laura Villaloboz

    Love the idea I think I’ll try this.Your boxes all came out gorgeous!! Love the colors!

  17. Elaine

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing. I saw all those pretty ribbons in TJ’s last week.I have rolls of white and kraft paper at the ready and a stash of pretty ribbons. I know what I’m doing this afternoon. I’m also really picky about gift wrap.

  18. Barbara Bussey

    Just beautiful, Marian!

  19. Louise Roth

    I have a rectangular Christmas tin that I place under the tree each year. It contains old Christmas cards from relatives and friends that are no longer living. Just like having them there. Just start saving those special ones.

    • Alicia

      Beautiful idea! I have saved “special ones” from relatives, friends and most recently my parents, who have passed, and from your inspiration I’ll add them to the Christmas decor. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Alicia

    This is a great idea. Especially for those of us who don’t have regular presents under the tree.

    I am wild about stripes and polka dots and just love those you chose. And the jingle bell ribbon! Extraordinary! Wherever did you come across this one!

    BTW, gift wrapping is one of my favorite things to do. My very first job was Christmas Courtesy Wrap at a local department store…and it was close to my birthday (16th) so double blessing.

  21. Lauren Baxter

    Those are SO pretty, I do love pretty wrapped presents oh so much. I would have trouble unwrapping to see whats inside because I wouldn’t want to ruin it! 🙂

    Great job, looks wonderful and so festive.

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor


  1. Favorite Things – Holiday Edition! - […] wrap, as illustrated here with sheet music by Mustard Seed Interiors, is a clever and thoughtful way to individualize gifts ~ there are…


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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