With only ten days to go until Christmas, the presents under our tree are slowly mounting up. We’re lighting more candles than ever, the living room is fully decked out and there are inflections of Christmas everywhere you turn.
And for a giant festive nerd like me, the Christmas shopping which so many of us dread, is probably one of my favourite times of the season. Waiting for those magical packages to arrive, eagerly clutching those shopping bags, ticking one more name off of that never ending list… I love every second. But the best part, for me, has got to be the wrapping.
Ever since I was younger, the art of the wrapped gift has always intrigued me. When I was very small, Christmas paper was simply a sign that the big man in the jolly red suit had visited. When I was a little older, it was a clue to crossmatching his wrapping style to mummy’s, testing the handwriting samples to find out the truth. And now that I’m older, gift wrapping is a project I attempt each and every year to try and reach perfection. Whether it be in rustic wrapping, modern coverage or retro decor, I’m making it my mission to become that gift wrap pro we all aspire to be. I want to be a glider of scissors, the master of the six inch ribbon curl, and a champion of the candy-can striped twine.
So, as I recently wrapped a whole host of presents to be proud of, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite tips and inspiration guides for wrapping that perfect present this Christmas!
Rustic Raffata and String
For that new nostalgic touch, the brown paper package is a classic Christmas wrapping style, dating back through history, from the wartime festivities to the gifts hidden under Albert’s first Victorian Christmas Tree. This is a wrapping style that always looks so classic and rustically charming, and feels so incredibly Christmass-y it just makes you smile.
This year, I’ve been topping my paper presents with these beautiful ribbon variations – the elegant gold and white twine, a festive red and white string, and the more eclectic taken on a monochrome paper ribbon. (For my tips on tying that perfect bow on tricky presents, scroll to the bottom of the page!)
And for my ornamental decorations, I’ve tried to stick to a bit of a natural, rustic range. With the classic seasonal cinnamon stick, a mini frosted pinecone, some plastic greenery cuttings and a small branch of fake mistletoe berries, this is a wrapping style for the wild outdoors – complimenting the rich greens of any Christmas tree (real or fake) perfectly.
My personal favourite ornament has to be this little white wood painted star decoration we picked up in Bakewell. It’s clean white surface makes for a unique approach to the typical gift tag, and really adds to the black,white and brown palette of the paper. Unfortunately as luck would have it, all the best wrapped gifts seem to be going to my dad this year…and my dad will not appreciate them at all! If only my mum would ask for more boxed items!
For the rest of my tags, however, I picked up some very simple yet pretty brown card hand printed labels, with dots of snow covering one side, and some pretty little festive cutouts at the base. And whilst my handwriting will never quite be elegant enough to complete the aesthetic, they still look pretty good to me!
The Luxury Metallics
As an alternative to the rustic homemade feel of the brown paper packages, I also decided to wrap up my gifts in a little touch of luxury with this gold splattered paper from John Lewis. A lot glossier than the previous selection of paper, these presents all feel very glamorous and glittery, designed to fit in beautifully with that classy Christmas party vibe we all dream of.
And with glamorous paper, come glamorous decorations. Sticking to a theme of rustic metallics, I used the gold twine to fuse these tiny copper baubles onto the front of my package and used sprigs of mistletoe leaves to add a touch of greenery to the scene.
I also used small ornamental decorations, such as bells, to enhance my classic shiny gift wrap. But we all know Christmas isn’t Christmas without a couple of sweet treats thrown in for good measure. So I carefully entwined a selection of candy canes into the knots of some of my plainer presents, and picked this beautiful ceramic gingerbread from the base of our tree and knotted it around a lonely looking bow.
My advice to anyone using beloved tree ornaments in their gift wrap: always give the prettiest decorations to the loved ones you actually live with – that way you have a better chance of getting them back up on the tree against once the unwrapping is done!
The Retro Colour Pop
If the neutral colours of the papers already picked just aren’t for you, then how about a more colourful pop print alternative? With watercolour birds, berries and branches, and a splash of watery blue to offset your collection? Sounds pretty good to me.
This is probably the paper I found the hardest to decorate – with it’s clashing colours being slightly awkward to pair with rustic ornaments and twine. But I’m pretty proud of the attempts I made – from embracing and emphasising the beautiful colours on board with hot red string, or sticking to my cinnamon scented guns and adding that vintage twist.
Candy canes, yet again, make a cheerful addition to this matte print paper, and bring the whole colour coordination of the display together. Replicating the barriers from the paper with holly berries works rather well too, as it brings the festive design to life, and compliments the overall effect quite beautifully.
But, as a complete wrapping obsessive – I couldn’t finish this blog post without sharing a couple of my favourite tips for sealing that perfect present now, could I?
Wrapping Tips and Tricks
- Use weighted objects such as candle jars, tissue boxes or remote controls to stop wrapping paper from rolling up against your gift.
- When using twine to create an ‘all-around’ knot (where the string goes all around each side of the shape), find the very middle of your piece of string and lay it vertically over the top of your object. Then carefully lift up your gift, and cross over the two ends of your twine underneath. Crossing your hands over, you then need to cross your twine over vertically, making sure that all the sections of twine form a + shape underneath your present. Bring the two ends round the sides of your present and tie a knot in the middle of your vertical line. Then tie a neat bow in the top, and use the two trailing ends to curl gently down the sides of your present.
- If you’re attaching gift tags or ornaments to your gift, take off the standard silver string they would’ve come with in the box, and use the trailing end of your twine to attach them with a knot. It creates a much neater effect, and stops you from ruining your colour coordinated design.
- Fold over a short piece of sticky tape to make it double sided, and use that to secure ornaments such as small baubles, greenery or rustic elements to the paper.
- Using layers of different coloured or textured ribbon and string can work really well on plain printed paper – but can look a little overwhelming on busy, loud prints.
- If you run out of tags, use a scrap of different coloured wrapping paper to cut out a label shape, and use the plain side to write your note onto.
- Pinecones can be really tricky to attach to smooth paper, so wrap a little loop of twine around one of the lower ridges, and set it upright before tightening it into a knot with the rest of the bow.
- For cylinder shaped gifts, such as bottles or tubes, cut slits into the top and bottom folds of your wrapping and fold each small section into the middle, one at a time until everything is covered. This saves excess wrapping paper sticking out to the sides or making awkward points at the base of your gift.
Thank you so much for watching, I hope these tips have inspired you to get a little creative with your wrapping this Christmas! Have a great evening!
Brown Paper: Poundland
White and Gold Paper: John Lewis
Colourful Print Paper: Lakeland
Red/white twine: Lakeland
Gold/white twine: Lakeland
Black/White Paper Ribbon: Eleanor and Guillaume
Gingerbread Decoration: The Pop Up Christmas Shop
Brown string/twine/raffata: Poundland
White Painted Star: Eleanor and Guillaume
Cinnamon Sticks: Wilkos
Candy Canes: WHSmiths
Silver Bells: Poundland