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Unwrap the Senses: Holiday Gift Part 2


Twinkling lights dance around a lush noble fir and a fresh earthy smell fills the room. Stacks of gifts piled high beneath the tree create a glittering patchwork of gold and red and green. A cup of decadent cocoa warms the heart, as fluffy white flakes drift across the cold night sky.

This is the stuff the Holiday Spirit is made of; we’ve all felt it, but could it be possible to box it up and deliver it to our client’s doorstep? What would it look like, smell like, taste like?

We considered these questions when brainstorming a theme for our holiday gifts this year. When it comes to packaging, most people think primarily about the graphics and structure, yet neglect other touch points like smell or sound. We decided that in order to properly share an intangible feeling, like the Holiday Spirit, it would have to be a sensory experience.

According to our Sr. Creative Director Cole Johnston, the challenge was “to create a package that felt like just as much of a gift as the gift itself. When done well, the packaging becomes synonymous with the gift inside and a part of the memory they cherish. Our hope is that our clients would not only be delighted by our gift box, but would be inspired to think about storytelling through packaging.”

To accomplish this, we designed a bento box inspired shipper with separate compartments to hold a gift representing each of the five senses, taking into consideration the size, weight, cost, usefulness, and how well they represented each one.

“We wanted to give a moment of reflection on the season by isolating the senses and opening the door to think about holidays past,” our structural designer Meredith Bruner commented on the composition.

With the rise in e-commerce and decline in brick and mortar shops, the shipper box can be more than a vessel for a product. It can be a tangible extension of the brand message and ethos. We chose simple corrugate for this project to show that a basic material can be creative, functional, and beautiful.

Our shipper arrives incased in a white sleeve, fastened with a hint of gold tape on each end. Although, you just might hear the package before you notice anything else. The first sense demonstrated is hearing: the jingle of a golden bell affixed inside the lid reminds us of holiday music, tree ornaments, and sleigh rides. Slide the sleeve off and pull the red ribbon to reveal what else is inside.

Step by step, the recipient moves through the box, interacting with each sense individually: a smoky cedar scented incense for smell, Godiva hot cocoa for taste, a felted acorn ornament in a velvet pouch for touch, and a beautifully illustrated poster, folded into an origami fortune teller for sight.

Each element is adorned with detailed hand-drawn illustrations, reminiscent of quintessential holiday symbolism to balance out the white space and add that magical finishing touch.

We believe that every experience matters, and ultimately, it’s all in the details. Our holiday box is about re-imaging the possibilities of packaging and customer engagement. It’s about using the medium to tell a story and connect with others in an authentic way. Take a moment to consider how your customers interact with your brand. What will they remember and how will you make them feel?

Interested in having a conversation about how we collaborate with our clients on packaging and branding? Contact us HERE.

If you received a holiday box, we would love to hear from you! Please share your experience with us on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #CRPHolidaySpirit, or send a good old fashioned email to [email protected].