Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Presents
From LoveToKnow Christmas

Although some people enjoy wrapping Christmas presents, others consider the task to be even more unpleasant than fighting the crowds at the mall on Black Friday. If you feel like you’re all thumbs with the tape and scissors, take our crash course in Gift Wrapping 101 to reduce your stress level this holiday season.

If you’re pressed for time, you may wonder why you need to wrap your Christmas presents. Here are a few reasons why the extra effort makes a difference:

Attractive gift wrap makes even a small gift seem special. Even if you’re on a budget, a thoughtfully-wrapped gift lets the recipient know that you care.

If you plan to display your gifts under the Christmas tree or in some other central location, beautiful gift wrap adds to the overall effect of your holiday d├ęcor.

Even though most gift wrap does end up in the trash, your gift wrap will still be preserved in your Christmas pictures. Do you want to be memorialized for future family gatherings as the relative who gave gifts that looked like they were wrapped by a preschooler?

Quick and Easy Gift Wrapping

Of course, decorative gift bags are the easiest solution to wrapping Christmas presents. While they are slightly more expensive than wrapping paper, you can often find attractive bags in a variety of sizes at your local dollar store. Another way to cut down costs is to reuse bags from previous years.

If you don’t want to use decorative gift bags, check out the following articles for easy to follow gift wrap tutorials:

If you’re feeling ambitious and want to give your gift recipient a special keepsake, use a decoupage gift box for your present. Choose either holiday-themed papers or embellishments that reflect the recipient’s hobbies and special interests.

While most people will use bows to add a finishing touch to their Christmas gifts, there are many other choices available. For gifts that make an impact, consider one of the following suggestions:

Small Christmas ornaments
Jingle bells
Paper snowflakes
Silk flowers
Candy canes

For more impressive ideas for wrapping Christmas presents, check out the following articles:
It’s a Wrap
14 Creative Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas
No Waste Gift Wrap Tips

Supply Storage

Once you’re finished wrapping Christmas presents, how do you store your leftover paper, tags, and ribbon? Since gift wrap is fragile, it’s not a good idea to just toss it in the closet. Consider purchasing one of the following storage products:

If you live in a small apartment, or simply don’t have much spare storage space, you’ll have to keep your gift wrapping supplies to a minimum. Instead of using paper with candy canes and snowmen to wrap your gifts, choose solid colors or simple geometric patterns. For example, a package wrapped in white paper and tied with a red velvet ribbon makes an elegant Christmas gift. But, when you change the ribbon to a pretty pastel pink or blue, you can wrap a lovely baby shower gift with the same basic supplies.

More Gift Wrap Ideas

Need a few more ideas for wrapping your presents? Check out our Christmas Gift Wrap Ideas gallery!

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Easy Chicken Pasta

Easy Chicken Pasta

What's For Supper Ya'll?

White Beans, Pasta and Chicken
8 ounces dried cavatappi, fusilli, rotini, ditaloni, or other short pasta tubes
1 15- to 19-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
12 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional - I usually skip it)
Olive oil (optional - but I recommend at least a little for moisture)
1. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine 3/4 cup of the beans and the chicken broth. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Place bean puree in pan used for cooking the pasta; bring to boiling. Return pasta to pan.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining beans, shredded chicken, snipped parsley, pepper and salt. Heat through.
4. Add the tomato mixture to hot pasta; toss to cost. Top with parsley sprigs and additional olive oil. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Posted by Stacy Nelson, Easy Dinner

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