Our Annual Christmas Gift-Wrapping Contest: 2014 Vintage theme

In case you’re new here, my friends and I hold an annual gift-wrapping contest on top of our traditional Christmas gift-giving. The themes have gone on for three years and these include zombie and circus.

As the reigning champion, Jill decided on ‘vintage’ this year; it was especially hard because it ran the gamut of time, from the early centuries to the 80’s. On the way to the venue, Tatin and I discussed until which year is considered vintage, and according to her research, it’s from 1987 up.

Holy F. 1987 is considered vintage?! Way to make us feel ancient!

At this point, I also felt relieved because my gift-wrapping idea officially made the cut. I think, haha.

I was fairly confident with my concept, but I wasn’t sure how my execution would be received. I got a few complaints myself with my work and I also failed to do my finishing touches (because this Christmas season seems to be more hectic than my usual).

That’s why I wasn’t so confident even if my friends were making their usual pronouncements, i.e., “I didn’t bother much;” “I didn’t have the time;” “I only had so-and-so hours to wrap;” because by experience, they’d eventually bring out gigantic or fantastically designed gift boxes during revelation as in earlier years, lol.

Since Jill was last year’s winner and is out of competition, she was the first to reveal her gift, which looked like a miniature luggage (or was this a clutch?):

All photos by Jill

This is Julie’s first time to join and she missed the memo about the contest rules and theme amid the flurry that was being a new mom:

Giff, ever tasteful, chose this elegant and very Filipino gift box.

Since we are friends, of course, we had to make snide remarks, lol. “Di naman vintage yan eh. Vinta yan,” I said, lol.

Pam, always one of the frontrunners and a former winner, thought of using a vintage book case bound by a cord.

My friends know how I love peacocks (I claim it as my patronus), hence I loved this box. The mint color was cute, too.

Gia created this Coke crate which she and then fiancé Jolo (now husband) made and stenciled themselves. The recipient was Jill, who collects Coke bottles from around the world, hence this particular crate design. Her gift also featured a chain and lock. It was a beauty.

Tatin said that at one point, she got confused between vintage and recycled, and the result was this environment-friendly number:

Which didn’t seem to end as it was a box within a box:


Jolo had the same inspiration as Pam, and made this book bound by jute cord. All this was actually new to me–I didn’t know this was how they secured books in the olden days!

Coco based his box on vintage advertising, although it looked like he just pasted it onto ordinary wrapping paper, lol. Okay, okay, you guys are excused as you were planning a huge wedding (which turned out to be so beautiful!):

This is Nel’s ingenious film camera, specifically a Polaroid land camera, which is the first self-developing film camera. I loved how it flexed like an accordion, though I didn’t like the idea that I had to rip it. Fortunately, it could be opened from the side.

The kabogera of the year award goes to neophyte Mark, who devised this show-stopping box within a box within a box. (Literally, a show-stopper as it took Tatin quite a while to unbox her gift, lol.) The back story is that in the olden days, Tatin is being sent off to Harvard (to take up Math, haha) by her lola with this ‘survival kit,’ which included religious items, a gasera, and cash.

Fortunately for me, I managed to squeak by these gorgeous designs with my own vintage box because yes, I WON!!!!!!

My winning moment, lol. I was so happy, hahaha!

I was seriously, seriously stumped by the theme, which was a problem because I seriously, seriously wanted to win, haha! (Or at the least, I wanted to be in the top two or three, lol.)

I thought of using a vintage Santa design with sleigh but that would mean buying most of the stuff, which I didn’t want to do.

I also thought of doing a vintage telephone booth, which would make it easy for me to house my gift items (which we would only know once our ‘baby’ has sent his/her wish list), but I felt it wasn’t good enough because it had no back story or connection to Christmas.

It wasn’t until I learned who my ‘baby’ would be that I finally found inspiration. Nel is in the music industry (sort of), and I thought how apt it would be if I used a cassette tape!

Cassettes by this time are vintage enough, right?!

And so armed with some Google images, I started work on my box:

I had a wooden box painted in black and drilled with holes in Laguna (#artisanal, #handcrafted, #handicraft, #buylocal, #Filipino, lol). While I super liked the hand-drawn design above, I couldn’t trust myself to make mine look as artistic so I made cutouts instead.

For the record, this was after-office hours, lol.

For the record, this was after-office hours, lol.

Aside from the box, everything else is made with cartolina, color, and bond paper, including those white circular ridges where we’d insert a ballpen into to rewind an actual cassette tape, haha.

Cassette mixed tape giftwrap box

I also layered it with gloss to create that plastic effect. Of course, there had to be a side A and side B!

Cassette mixed tape giftwrap box

Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to create a clear case for the tape, which would’ve included an album cover and sleeve that would’ve listed songs with my gifts in the title, e.g., ‘C is for Cookie‘ by Cookie Monster, ‘Picture of You’ by Boyzone, ‘No Shorts, No Losses’ by Bone Thugs n Harmony, and ‘Build Me Up Buttercup‘ by The Foundations. So the whole time that my friends were unveiling their gifts, I felt less confident about my winning chances since I left the album sleeve idea out.

When I presented my gift, one of them immediately shouted, “‘Di mo gawa yang calligraphy!!!” I love my friends, LOL.

I’ve resigned myself to the idea that I won’t win again, so that by the time guest judge Bien was explaining why he chose the winner–it was DIY and uncomplicated–I didn’t think it would be me. When he announced it was in fact, my cassette tape, I was genuinely shocked and surprised!!! So much so that my friends described my reaction as someone akin to winning a beauty pageant, lolololol. It certainly felt like it!

As a prize, I got a suuuuper cute Instax Mini!!! #blessed

So yay, I finaaaaaally won in a DIY contest!!!  I’m going to decide on the theme next year, too. (I actually already announced a theme, parol, but was bullied into choosing something else because they found it too difficult, lol.)

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