The Gifted Blog

September 21, 2010

Reader Question: Wrapping Non-Material Gifts

"I'd be interested in hearing more about both non-item gifts people have given and how they gave/wrapped them. For example, a day together at the spa or 5 free hours of babysitting."     --Shawna

Shawna, thanks so much for your question! You may have seen these two examples of gift wrapping gift certificates already. But there have got to be more ways than that!

Readers, what are some of the non-materials gifts (services, experiences, gift certs, etc) you've given? Any good tips on how to wrap them? Chime in and help us solve this little dilemma!

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{Images by Marco Bellucci and Robert S. Donovan}


  1. My daughter got for her 8th birthday a whale watching trip. I was nervous, but she said it was her best gift ever. The "certificate" was a collage of a printed map, where we were going a whale image and our travel plans. The trip was fantastic; we even ordered a DVD, which we usually wouldn't have done, but we wanted to "anchor" the experience with a physical reference for her. (Now everybody coming into our house has to watch 30 minutes of ocean, with whales spraying water.) I love Non-Material gifts! Giving and receiving.

  2. @annekata - Kathrin, that's awesome! What a unique gift for an 8th birthday. My husband recently read an article about spending money for maximum happiness - and that that often involves trips and memorable excursions with loved ones. I really love that this gift involved the whole family. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I think there's a lot of options in terms of gift cards or money wallet cards... You may want to make a hand made version of those. One year, I wrapped a small note inside a series of wrapped boxes, each consecutively larger. In the end, the receiver had to open about 10 boxes and found the certificate at the end. Maybe more for a fun gift than a serious one... but fun for kids no less!

  4. @501 - Nice ideas! I like the idea of a handmade "gift card" (is that what you were thinking?), using a little rectangle of cardstock w/ rounded corners and drawing your own faux-logo. And I bet your nested boxes gift wrapping was very memorable. I can imagine the buildup of anticipation!

    Keep 'em coming, readers. These are great!

  5. One thing I remember is when I helped a friend make a mothers day gift. Instead of making the traditional handmade 'coupon book' we had a friend who had access to a Badge Maker and she wrote 5 different chores, each on an individual badge for example 'take all the dogs for a walk' (she had 4!) and she presented it to her on a cork coaster. She added a note saying "its okay, pin it on me, this time." She told me her mom loved it and did in fact use the pins and they are on display on the kitchen bulletin board till this day (5 years later) :)

  6. @Jeanette - Wow. That is a very cute (and original!) way to present the 'coupons'! I don't know anyone with a button maker but I'm going to have to keep that idea of a 'coupon book' in mind. No good reason to stop giving them now that we're out of elementary school!

  7. how did I know I would find a great envelope template if I visited your blog? just a hunch. Enlarged it slightly, traced it on the back of an Italian calendar featuring illuminated manuscripts. Used it to hold farewell notes for a woman in our Bible study moving out of state. The art was called "Sacramento della confessione" and seemed appropriate for a sacred group of confessors. Thanks for the beautiful link and idea.

  8. @Rachel Hamilton - Aw...glad you found it. What a great way to put the template to use, too! I'm particularly sentimental about words/drawings on paper (which can lead to clutter problems), but it sounds like you tied everything together by giving your friend a place to hold all the notes. Nicely done!


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