Time to enter the Chattanooga Times Free Press’ 2023 Wrapping Paper Design Contest

Staff File Photo by Matt Hamilton / Cliff Algea, 10, shows off his winning design in last year's gift wrap contest at the Times Free Press on Dec. 7, 2022.
Staff File Photo by Matt Hamilton / Cliff Algea, 10, shows off his winning design in last year's gift wrap contest at the Times Free Press on Dec. 7, 2022.

The approach of the holiday season signals it's time for the Chattanooga Times Free Press' annual Lin C. Parker Wrapping Paper Design Contest.

A tradition since 2002, the contest tasks students in grades 1-5 with creating an original artwork that can be reproduced on the printing press for use as holiday gift wrap. Enlarged copies of the winning design will be inserted in a Sunday edition in mid-December, with runner-up entries appearing on the reverse side of the newspaper broadsheet.

Last year's winner was Thrasher Elementary fifth-grader Cliff Algea, who drew a string of multicolored Christmas lights across a subtle background of red and green stripes.

"Christmas lights are pretty, and I wanted to do a simple pattern," he said of the design.

The winning artwork will be chosen by a panel of judges from the contest's sponsors, which also include ArtsBuild, Creative Discovery Museum and United Way of Greater Chattanooga. The winner will be featured in a story in the Life section of the newspaper and receive $25 cash as well as prizes contributed to a swag bag by the sponsors.

(READ MORE: ArtsBuild is promoting the arts and supporting community throughout Chattanooga)

(READ MORE: At 100, United Way of Greater Chattanooga continues evolving)

Online voting, Dec. 4-7, will decide a Readers' Choice winner. Favorite designs will be on view at the Creative Discovery Museum during the holiday season.

(READ MORE: Hamilton County kindergarteners to get free access to Creative Discovery Museum)

The wrapping paper contest was the brainchild of Lin C. Parker, a former page designer at the Times Free Press and noted artist. The contest was named in her honor after her death in 2017.


Here are guidelines to keep in mind if you'll be submitting a design to the contest.

Who can enter: Any area public, private or home-schooled student in grades 1-5.

How to enter: Students should draw a holiday scene on an 8-by-10 sheet of plain white paper. A parent, teacher or other reliable adult will need to take a close-up photo or digital scan of the design and upload it to timesfreepress.com/wrapping-paper. Mailed or hand-delivered entries will not be accepted. Students should keep their original drawing.

What to draw: The contest is open to any interpretation of a holiday theme. Students may use crayons, markers, paint or similar medium. Judges typically like bright colors and drawings that fill the entire sheet of paper. These designs also provide the best results when reproduced on a larger scale.

When to enter: The deadline is midnight Sunday, Dec. 3.

When to vote: The official winner will be decided by a panel of judges representing the sponsoring organizations. The Readers' Choice winner will be decided by online voting from among all entries Dec. 4-7.

When to find your gift wrap: The winning entry, printed on a newspaper broadsheet, and a story about the artist who created it will be included in the newspaper on Dec. 17.

What if you have questions: Email Lisa Denton at [email protected] or call 423-757-6281.

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