Don't Settle For Plain Old Paper And Bows!

Play Santa by giving someone a vase with a special something tucked inside.
Sandra Lee

Don't settle for plain old paper and bows. Gorgeous gifts will be yours for the giving with these gift-in-a-gift ideas that'll make every birthday or holiday surprise twice as nice. Sandra Lee, author of Semi-Homemade Cooking, shares some tips.Hats off to the holidays
Hatboxes make stylish storage and great gift boxes. Choose a color and pattern that matches the recipient's taste, or buy plain cardboard hatboxes and cover them with decorative fabric or wallpaper. If you're giving more than one gift, place each gift in its own hat box and stack the hatboxes in a tower, then tie them together with a color-coordinated holiday ribbon.

Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow
The winds of winter may be raging now, but spring's in sight. Encourage budding green thumbs by "planting" their gift in a window box planter. Line a decorative planter with green tissue paper, tuck the gift inside, then arrange crumpled "bouquets" of colorful tissue around the gift. Finish with an ivy garland spiraled around the planter.

Stocking vase
Play Santa by giving someone a vase with a special something tucked inside. Match the vase to the recipient's taste -- hand blown glass for a friend who adores elegance, distressed white for someone who's into vintage style, tortoiseshell or animal print for wildlife lovers. Wrap vase in an accenting ribbon and embellish it with a theme-appropriate gift ornament.

Treasure chest
All kids love a place to hide their treasures. To make a personalized place for your youngster to store their stuff, spray paint a lockable wooden box and stencil or stamp a suitable pattern onto it. Use colors and designs that match the recipient's interests, and try puffy paint or glitter paint for added interest and detail. Attach a colored shoe lace or decorative ribbon to the key and hide it with a diary or secret journal inside the


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