This was my favorite holiday memory from last year, and I’m pretty sure it was Ali’s as well.  I am already trying to figure out what I could do this year to rival it, because my Mister Christmas Husband would surely not approve of doing the same paper two years in a row.

But just in case some of you are starting to think about the holidays, I figured I’d repost it during my week of reruns – because if one of you did it and sent me pictures, it’d almost be like me getting to do it all over again.  Oh – and I’m also accepting ideas for this year’s gift wrap.

DIY Word Search Wrapping Paper
There’s always at least one odd “homemaker” skill that a wife learns from her husband. My Dad, being Greek and therefore a born-that-way amazing cook, taught my Mom everything she knows in the area of culinary skills.

Chris, being Mister Christmas himself, taught me everything I know about wrapping presents.

He has instilled in me a need to wrap perfectionistically and originally every year. And I must say, I love the challenge.

This year, I saw a wrapping paper idea on Pinterest – it was commercially made word search paper, where you could circle phrases like “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Birthday”.

I liked the idea, but I wanted to do it a bit more personally. So I decided to make my own Word Search Wrapping Paper with everyone’s names built into it – and it was much, MUCH cheaper.

There are plenty of word search creation websites out there, but the one I landed on was on Discovery Education.

Word Search Website

I chose 40 letters across by 40 letters down under Step 1, selected the “text” option under Step 4, and entered everyone’s names that would be receiving presents from us in Step 5.

Then I realized that I wanted everyone’s names to show up multiple times so that I could easily find it and so that it would be in different spots on the paper. The website wouldn’t do multiple names, but seeing as how I was making a word search, it didn’t matter what letters were after the name, so I added unique names to my list like so:


(The site said to make sure that there wasn’t any unintentional foul language in my word search, but I didn’t check. So if your present cusses at you, I do apologize.)

Since I selected the text option, after it generated, I just highlighted and copied the text and pasted it into Word. I set my paper size to 11 x 17, and copied the grid twice on my document.

This is where it is convenient that I’m married to an engineer, because then I sent my file to work with Chris and he printed it to PDF at 11 x 17, then printed to scale on 24 x 36 paper:


You wouldn’t have to print on such large paper, because I got multiple presents out of one sheet. But if you’re not married to a man with access to a drafting printer and you do want it on large paper, you can get it printed at any print/copy store or drafting supply company (like Alabama Graphics).

I enrolled Ali’s enthusiastic help in finding the names I needed (which was a great way to include her in the process AND entertain her while I wrapped presents),


Then I used a red highlighter or a black sharpie to circle the names before I wrapped.


The regular paper wrapped surprisingly well – much better than the flimsy wrapping papers at most stores.

Since it’s color neutral paper, my options are wide open to use all of the ribbons I’ve had for years that clashed or didn’t go with any wrapping papers – I plan on using every single one of them by the time I’m done wrapping.


And, by nature of being Word Search wrapping paper, no labels required!

…now if I can just keep Ali from circling all of the other names on the paper and completely mixing up the identity of the stash.

13 thoughts on “How to Make Word Search Gift Wrap.

  1. I love this idea. I propose you do paper dolls this year! You could print wrapping paper with paper dolls or origami folding lines printed on them. Then, after opening the gift the person could cut out the dolls/fold the origami.

  2. That’s AWESOME! We can’t really get much wrapping paper here & I have a limited supply of wrapping paper that I brought from the States. I’m going to try this out this year! Thanks for the idea!

  3. How cute. I’ve seen this idea before, but may actually have to give it a try this year. About 15 years ago I bought my Mom a Mother’s Ring for Christmas. She had one when my sister and I were little, but when she got re-married when we were little, she stopped wearing it because my step-brother’s birthstone was not in the ring. So when I was like 20 I ordered her a new ring with all our stones in it. For the wrapping paper I made a collage of photos of us from our childhood to at the time the most recent photos of us. I had it printed at Staples and wrapped the ring in a bigger box to disguise it and to make good use of that much “wrapping” paper. Then, put it in another box which, included a poem I wrote for her. As soon as she saw the photo collage wrapping paper she started to cry, but still had no idea what was inside. Probably the best gift I could have ever given her and right down to the wrapping paper. When we were cleaning out her house over the summer after my Step-Dad passed, I came across the wrapping paper that she still had. I had no idea she had kept it. :)

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