Last year I used copper-colored paper and gold-colored paper and used flatback faux jewels, jewel-toned curling ribbon and even peacock feathers to dress up the tops of packages (thanks to my neighbor Liana who gave me a grocery bag full of feathers when her peacocks molted). The packages looked rich (in color, not necessarily cost) and sparkly and became a decoration themselves as they sat under the tree.
This year my color scheme is coming from nature. I have plain brown paper for wrapping (I already had some, but I also found some in the gift wrap/card aisle at K-Mart) and a spool of 1"green grosgrain ribbon bought for just over a dollar at Joann Fabric and Crafts. Now for gift tags! I've been buying the sticker kind since they are easy, pretty affordable and have some cute patterns - but that doesn't go with the creative and hand-made spirit! What I looked for was something I had available to me in quantity. Now what do I have available to me in quantity in fall....
I'm not sure why but the oak leaves stuck out to me from all the other leaf choices as the most Christmassy. I tried to gather them before too much rainfall to make sure the leaves I had were as whole as possible. Then I took my leftover spray paint cans from another project (I am the spray paint queen) and did two batches: one in gold, the other in copper. The gold leaves really stand out, which was good when I forgot to bring them in one night and there was a wind storm and I spent the next day hunting gold leaves out of the yard. The copper leaves simply look like a darker, shinier version of their natural selves. I could have left the leaves alone but I was actually hoping that the paint would act as a sealant and prevent any more decay. And don't worry about time, mine dried very quickly and I was able to get both sides done in under 20 minutes.
When it comes time for Christmas wrapping, I will affix the leaves with small ribbon or maybe a jute or cotton string. Using a dark ink pen, or paint pen I can write the recipients name on the leaf. So there you have a sparkly Christmas embellishment and gift tag all in one - and it didn't cost a thing!