Boxes for Travel, Surprises, Favors, Foodies, Multiparts
The Gift You Pack
Gift: One you're traveling with. Box: To be sure your wrapping arrives uncrumpled, choose this retro-mod cutie, which comes flat (with a bow, tissue paper, and a tag) in an envelope that slips into a suitcase or a laptop case. It pops into shape with a few tucks and folds. In three sizes, from 6 by 3 by 4½ inches to 11 by 4 by 7 inches (shown, far left). To buy:containerstore.com for other gift box ideas.
The Disguised Gift
Gift: Anything you want the recipient to think is wine but isn't. Box: This 13-inch-tall cylinder (shown, second from left) has "bottle of wine" written all over it―so fill it instead with a rolled-up cashmere sweater, a canister of tennis balls, a snazzy travel umbrella, or a flask of balsamic vinegar or extra-virgin olive oil. Or, in a pinch, wine. To buy: Wine Holder, $5, homegoods.com for store locations.
The Party Favor
Gift: Something small to distribute to party guests, book-club members, classmates, or extended family. Box: This pillow-shaped treasure box comes in 2½-inch (shown, third from left) and 1½-inch sizes. For ornaments with a bonus, thread ribbons or cords through the holes in the top tabs and hang the boxes for friends to pluck off your tree. To buy: Bayley's Boxes Trinket Box, 70 cents or $1, bayleysboxes.com.
The Foodie Treat
Gift: Something for your favorite epicurean. Box: Pop a mini kitchen gadget or two into this quart-size faux Chinese-food container (shown, second from right), along with a rolled or folded gift certificate to a hot restaurant, a food shop, or a wine merchant―takeout with a twist. (For an extra little wink, throw in a fortune cookie, too.) To buy:Unfortunately, this item is no longer available, but find similar products atplumparty.com.
The Multipart Gift
Gift: One for a niece who loves Snickers bars, J. D. Salinger, micro-minis, and Coldplay. Box: This sturdy vinyl-coated cardboard valise (the kind used as a lunch box by kids in France and Belgium) has room for all your gifts and makes a colorful storage case post-holidays. In three sizes, from 8 by 6 by 3½ inches to 12 by 8 1/5 by 3½ inches (shown, far right). To buy: Child's Valise, $10 to $14, Joseph Beth Booksellers, 800-396-8960.
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Boxes for Multiples, Edibles, Storage, Blah Gifts
A Gift Series
Gift: One for each of the eight days of Hanukkah or the 12 days of Christmas. Box: Wrap your gifts in matching boxes to set them apart (and make a pretty stack later). To buy:Unfortunately, this item is no longer available, but find similar products atpaper-source.com.
Gift: Home-baked treats you want to send to everyone in your far-flung fan base. Box: These beribboned boxes don't have just fancy-chocolatier good looks going for them. There's an FDA-approved food-safe coating inside and out to protect your famous fudge. They come in sets of three, from 4 by 4 by 2 inches (shown, top center) to 6 by 6 by 3 inches. To buy:Unfortunately, this item is no longer available.
The Box That's a Gift to You
Gift: Anything that requires a really big box―one you can reclaim later for storage. Box: This sturdy cotton-covered cardboard box's medium size (13¼ by 9 by 9¼ inches, shown, center) can hold a baseball cap and a stack of X-Box games one holiday season, then ornaments or wrapping supplies for those to come. To buy: Canvas-Covered Gift Box, $13, homegoods.com for store locations.
The Blah Gift
Gift: One that needs something extra to elevate it from the mundane (like that anti-aging serum your sister can't do without). Box: She'll be happy before she even opens her gift if it's in a hand-painted wooden box with a silk ribbon attached. To buy: Bluedogz Designs Ribbon Box, $8, bluedogzdesign.com.
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Hatboxes for Toys, Hand and Foot Warmers
Oddly Shaped ToysGift: Something offbeat for your young nephew with everything. Box: Lay your offering inside a spacious hatbox. These come in sets of various sizes (shown, second from left). To buy: Round hatboxes, $14 to $18, r-i-inc.com for store locations.
Socks, Slippers, GlovesGift: Hand and foot warmers are welcome gifts. If only wrapping them made you feel as warm and fuzzy. Box: These oval hatboxes happen to be perfect for both: 8¾ by 5 by 3¾ inches (shown, second from right) or 10 by 5½ by 4½ inches. To buy: Oval hatboxes, $7 to $9,