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Beyond All Tied Up With A Bow - Great Tips for Creating Beautifully Wrapped Holiday Gifts

No matter what the season, packages make a statement even before they're opened. Whether it's a hostess gift for that perfect holiday party, the perfect something for your loved one, or Secret Santa at the office, you want your packages to reflect the thought put into the purchase. Visit Historic Inns of Rockland, Maine's Holiday House Tour held each year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, where among other ideas, you'll learn first hand from Package Creator Extraordinaire and Captain Lindsey House owner, Ken Barnes how to create gifts that are bound to impress everyone from the boss to your loved ones. The Holiday House Tour is part of Rockland, Maine's Festival of Lights, and Historic Inns of Rockland will feature workshops including Gingerbread House Making, Victorian Customs for Christmas, and Packages that POP, along with tours of lovely historic inns during this event, held from noon to 4pm on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Tickets and information are available at

Captain Lindsey House Innkeeper, Ken Barnes spends the year foraging for the perfect additions for his gifts. Recipients-in-the-know look forward to Captain Barnes' gifts, not so much to see what's on the inside, but to learn what kind of statement he makes with the package's wrapping. Captain Barnes' "wrapping closet" is a sight to behold, revealing spools of ribbon, wrappings of all colors and textures, along with trinkets for just about any theme.

Ken Barnes' Six Secrets for Successful Packages:

? Start on Christmas Day collecting left over ribbon and package accessories, and then continue to save potential package accoutrements throughout the year.

? Designate a special box or closet for package wrapping materials, organizing by paper, trimmings and accessories.

? Think out of the box ? literally ? wrap gifts in the gift itself including jewelry in jewelry boxes or toys in a fun toy box. If space allows, save every box that comes in the mail for wrapping in the future.

? On your travels, stop by ribbon factories or craft shops. Buy odd lots or ribbon ends cheaply to save for a later occasion.

? Visit church rummage sales or flea markets to pick up small pieces of jewelry, small toys or collectors items that fit your loved ones personalities. Save those to tie onto packages later.

? Save wallpaper ends, contact paper, cellophane, even scrap paper for wrapping gifts later. Newspaper articles or photos depicting those to whom you plan to give gifts are great additions too.

When asked for some creative ideas for gift-wrapping this holiday season, Ken Barnes offered these ideas where the wrapping doubles as the gift.

? Tie heirloom jewelry found on your trips to antique stores or church fairs then wrap with Victorian-style wallpaper left over from store-remnants. Wrap a deep colored velvet bow or tassles around the gift for a rich look. Better yet, create your own jewelry, hair barettes, or bookmarks out of beads or beaded ribbon collected throughout the year.

? Wrap cookbooks or kitchen items in pages from old cookbooks or the newspaper food section. Add a small set of measuring cups or spoons tied on with kitchen string for your favorite cook. For the hiker in the family, tie on a small compass or water bottle.

? Save newspaper articles announcing those recently married and wrap their holiday gift in the wedding announcement. Tie on small framed photos taken at the wedding.

? Visit the local craft or floral shop and pick up bunches of dried or silk flowers, then fill a terra-cotta pot with packages of seeds, potting soil and wrap with ribbon, attaching dried or silk flowers. Tie on flower ornaments as an accessory.

? Dress up wine bottles in doll clothes, creating a personality for that bottle of wine you bring to the holiday party.

? For the nature-lovers, wrap your present in florist's paper, then tie on pine cones and berries found in local fields, or create a small decorated natural grapevine wreath.

Come see Captain Barnes at work during the Holiday House Tour presented by Historic Inns of Rockland, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Demonstrations including Packages that Pop at Captain Lindsey House, Gingerbread Houses & More at LimeRock Inn and Victorian Customs for the Holidays at Berry Manor Inn will take place throughout the day. Tours of the inns, decked in all their holiday finery will be ongoing from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. See for information about the Festival of Lights package offered by Historic Inns of Rockland, and for more information on the member inns. For more information, call 1-877-ROC-INNS (877-762-4667).


The Captain Lindsey House is a premier inn on Maine's Midcoast. Filled with beautiful works of art and artifacts from travels throughout the world, the inn reflects the nautical nature of its owners, both accomplished sea capatains and windjammer owners. Visit for more information

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