The styles of wrapping presents are as plentiful as the gifts themselves, along with the personalities of those doing the wrapping.
Some look forward to the next season of Christmas present wrapping just as soon as Christmas is over. They enjoy choosing a theme each year, buying special paper, and coordinating ribbon and gift cards to carry out the theme. At the other end of the spectrum are those who are stunned, absolutely stunned, to learn that Christmas is approaching out of nowhere — again! Whether you are an enthusiastic planner or an anxious scrambler, here are few ideas to help make wrapping your gifts a task to which you can look forward.
Not being able to find the tape and accusing family members of stealing it really isn’t in the Christmas spirit, so corralling your supplies into one place where you can reliably find them is a good start. Consider choosing one drawer in a chest of drawers, a shelf in a closet, or a tote bag or storage bin on the floor of a closet to keep both leftover and new wrapping materials neat and in one place. And if your supply corral is near a large flat surface, so much the better. Having everything together will lower the frustration level, and it will let you focus on the creative side of gift wrapping.
Some basic supplies to put in this area are scissors, single and double face tape (now that you know where the tape is), gift bags, tissue paper, a pen, gift tags or cards, wrapping paper, ribbon, boxes, and packing and mailing supplies. Brown kraft paper and white glossy paper are available in large rolls and are useful to have on hand all year long. Over time you may collect bows from gifts received or scraps of especially pretty wrapping paper, so they can all go in the same place.
The most basic way to wrap a gift is to put some tissue paper in a gift bag, drop the gift in, and tie the handles together with a ribbon. You already know how to do this, so we’re finished with this topic already. The next rung of gift wrapping difficulty is using basic wrapping papers — the kraft paper and the white paper. With just these two options as a base, you have endless variations for wrapping a beautiful and appealing gift. Try out these different combinations and see which ones make your Christmas bells chime.
Starting with the kraft paper, a laid back choice would be burlap ribbon (or maybe raffia on a smaller gift) and a little snip of Christmas greenery tucked in the bow. This same package takes on a whole different personality when it’s tied with a wide white satin ribbon and the same little piece of greenery tucked in.
You can create another festive look for kraft paper by adding a sparkly ribbon of metallic silver and maybe a small cookie cutter as an ornament, or possibly a piece of holly with some red berries. Since we’re wrapping Christmas presents, don’t ignore the option of using red and green ribbon, or grosgrain, which is a heavy ribbed fabric ribbon, or shiny satin as a contrast against the matte paper.
Glossy white paper with a burlap ribbon and a bit of greenery is hard to resist, and yet that same package tied with a colorful plaid ribbon has an entirely different Christmas vibe. To change the mood again, switch to a metallic gold bow, and the wrapped present has a whole different level of festivity. A few other options for basic Christmas packages are red and green in any of their forms — raffia, grosgrain, or satin — they all make a beautiful gift with a base of shiny white.
Now that we have covered a number of different looks achieved with basic papers, let’s talk about different styles of bows that might be used to truly set off the package. To contrast the richness of a pretty woodland-design paper, for example, start with a simple raffia wound around the package several times and tied with a simple bow. Or, take a more traditional route and craft a lush, beautiful bow out of wired ribbon.
To make this larger bow, first tie the ribbon around the package, tie a basic knot, and leave several inches of free ribbon on each end. To make the bow, first make a small loop that will be the center of the bow. At the back of the loop, twist the ribbon a half turn and then make a loop slightly larger than half the size of the finished bow you have in mind. At the end of the loop, twist the ribbon a half turn and make a second loop. Repeat the process of loop and twist until you have three, five, or seven loops on a side.
If you’re not happy with how your bow looks at this point, just let go of the ribbon and start again. It takes a couple of tries to get a sense of how big to make the loops for the bow you want. Once you’re happy with it, cut the bow from the roll of ribbon, tie the loose ribbon ends on the package around the midpoint of the bow, and fluff out the loops. Voila, a beautiful bow!
An easier, faster alternative to the traditional bow is made using tulle ribbon. Start by tying a length of tulle or ribbon around the package, leaving long ends. Cut several bow-sized lengths of tulle or a few different lengths, gather them up, tie them at the midpoint with the loose ends, and fluff.
Besides plain papers and bows, oh so many beautiful printed papers are available each holiday season. You can have fun with printed papers by purchasing several prints that follow a theme. You may have a dog lover in your family, or the traditional beauty of Christmas greenery — wreaths, holly, pine, and other materials — may appeal, or perhaps some other Christmas theme makes your tree sing. Etsy, for instance, offers many interesting versions of wrapping paper, from single sheets of carefully handmade paper to rolls featuring images of retro Santa that you remember from your childhood.
When you have just a small amount left of your favorite paper but not enough to wrap an entire package, plain papers come to the rescue: wrap as much of the package as possible in the beautiful paper and then fill in the rest with plain paper. Tie the bow on the line where the papers join, and you have a beautiful, unique, eco-friendly package.
Regardless of your wrapping technique, the important point to remember is that it’s not the wrapping that really matters, or even the gift inside, but rather the sentiment behind the gift.