By Debbe Daley

Creative gift wrapping can be fun and meaningful, especially when items that are hanging around the house can be used and repurposed. Simple items can be picked up while you're running through the local dollar store. Something you normally wouldn't use on your tree or interior decor could make for the perfect package embellishment.

While pulling out those decorations from the attic, separate the items that are dated or that you've decided you don't want to use on the tree, mantle or displayed for the season. These collections will make great gift embellishments. A package finished off with an ornament representing a hobby, craft or occupation of the gift receiver shows that time and effort have not only been put into the gift inside, but also that special care and thought were taken to create a meaningful presentation of the gift.

Brown craft paper or even a brown paper shopping bag can be used as a backdrop for a creative presentation. Here are some creative homemade gift wrapping ideas:

l Wrap a book. Use a brown paper shopping bag to create a book cover like the ones we used to cover our schoolbooks back in the day. Tie it off with twine instead of a bow; use a bookmark as the final touch.

l Wrap the gift in brown craft paper. Use a black and white photo of the person the gift is going to. Fasten the photo to the front of the package with rope twine. This is a great idea in lieu of a name tag.

l Another brown paper wrapping idea is using tulle netting to tie off the package. The tulle netting will dress up the package adding casual elegance.

l Twine-tied brown craft paper finished with green tree cuttings and pinecones complete an earthy look from the woods.

l Newspaper print wrapped with white ribbon or red ribbon and embellished with a sprig from a fir tree or a snip from the Christmas tree will work also.

l For the musician, sheet music is another idea, tied off with a gold ribbon and a snip of the tree cutting.

l For the cook, wooden spoons can be fastened to a brown lunch bag used to hold the gift inside.

l For a wine bottle, use the brown bag from the store. Scrunch the top of the bag around the neck of the bottle. Fasten with twine and finish off with some dangling wine corks.

l Ink stamp your own gift wrapping on white or brown craft paper.

Gift topping ideas

l Candy canes

l Baked Christmas cookies (make a hole in the dough before baking for easy fastening onto the gift).

l A Christmas ornament

l Wine bottle corks

l Cinnamon sticks

l Garment tags for labels

l Pinecones and fir tree snippings

Your creative presentation says a lot about the gift inside. Take some time when gift wrapping. You'll be amazed at what you can create.

Debbe Daley, owner of Debbe Daley Designs, is an interior designer with more than 25 years of experience as a professional interior redesigner, stylist, stager, trainer and project manager. Follow her blog at http://blogs.lowellsun.com/ daleydecor.