The whisper-woosh as the ribbon is tugged free, the frenzied tear of the tissue and rumage through shredded paper. A quiet yet special moment of anticipation as a gift is revealed. Getting there, however is not always so treasured...
Gift-wrapping -a phrase to divide people. Those that love it and those that do not. Confession time; come Christmas, I always set aside an evening to crack out the The Holiday /Love Actually box set, get the mulled wine going and turn the pile of presents from ‘straight off the shelf’ into something lovely, tempting and just begging to be torn into. I think there’s something about both the process itself and the end result that plays on a sense of nostalgia and ritual which in turn makes it quite special.
A lifetime ago I spent a year in sales at a luxury goods retailer with a significant proportion of that being spent in the ‘Gift-wrap room’ <swoon>. It was here that I can to appreciate that how something is presented is just as important as the gift itself.
We’ve put together a few tips to help re-create this at home.
Choose Your Weapons… So how do you want to do this? Paper or gift boxes?
If you choose paper have a think about a colour scheme. Matchy-matchy is not necessary by any means but if you are wrapping lots of things it is nice if they look like they come from the same place. There are so many beautiful papers out there but one of my favourite things to do is use brown paper and then tailor the gift to recipient using the ribbon and a fun washi tape. If you really want to go all out, you can take brown paper and decorate with illustrations or block printing. You can even get the little ones involved and go to town with metallic paints and potato prints in simple star shapes. Which ever way you go a little thought at this point will make a lot of difference.
A box will be a costlier but ultimately more luxurious route. If you go down this route you will need to think about how you will fill it. Here at Gilded Bee we really wanted the whole experience to feel like a treat. We decided to line all but our smallest gift boxes with tissue so you get a second ‘opening’ once the lid is off and the we do most of our packing in shredded paper. This gives a real ‘lucky dip’ feel to the gift but extra tissue also works well. Whatever you go for make sure you are generous as you don’t want any rattling around. Ensure any delicate items are well protected with additional tissue or bubble wrap.
Wrap It Up
If you’ve chosen to wrap with paper, first get your gifts to be a regular size. This will often mean boxing them anyway if not already or adding a bit of extra tissue or bubble wrap. Even a jumper or a scarf will benefit from a pre-wrap of tissue or being boxed. Doing this has the dual benefit of making items lots easier to wrap and the end result will look so much more pleasing with creasing minimised. You can use this stage to add a small personal touch such as the addition of a scented sachet for clothing or your favorite cocktail recipe with a cocktail shaker.
Once your item is looking neat you can cut the paper, this sounds obvious, but don’t be mean! We’ve all been there where there’s a piece of paper left on the roll exactly the same size as the gift and you are left stretching it to fit –don’t do it! Why go to the trouble of selecting and buying a really generous gift if when it’s wrapped it just looks like an afterthought? That said, too big a piece of wrap can just look a mess. Basically, put your gift on the paper and measure up. Allow a few extra centimetres on your main seam to fold over and give you a neat edge to tape. This is a pro-tip and does make a difference.
Get your tape ready. Yes, I’m in full on wrapping geek mode here but I actually have an elasticated sticky tape dispenser that goes on my wrist. (this is one of the signs that indicated I should give gifts for a living!) I bloody love this thing, but if that’s too much (it probably is…) then the old classic of lining little sticky strips along the table is nearly as good.
You’re ready to go. I won’t try to describe how to fold corners –get on YouTube there are lots of tutorials of this and ribbon tying.
This is where you will set yourself apart. Personally, I think the great thing about Christmas is that too much is never too much. Luckily my husband’s dislike-verging-on-phobia of glitter helps to keep me reigned in. He reckons it’s like an infectious disease that once in the house will never leave. This means that opening greetings cards can be perilous and all children’s crafts must be carefully vetting before entering the house. Assuming you have no such scrooge in your family, go for it with metallic sprayed tiny pine cones, charms or anything that takes your fancy.
On my part, I keep it simple and elegant with ribbons in varying widths and textures, Satin is classic and Organza, the frothy transparent one is beautifully festive. It’s Grosgrain, however, with it’s ribbed effect that is our all-time favourite as it is has an elegance that works with anything.
Last but not least don’t forget to let them know who it’s from! For my own gifts I bulk buy brown kraft gift tags, use a personalised stamp (kid’s drawing, anything you fancy really) and some metallic string. But whatever you choose a little, personal, handwritten message will go a long way.
There you go, consider your game ‘upped’! Let me know what you think. Do you love or dread the present buying & wrapping at Christmas?
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