The 1st December is fast approaching and the festive fever is certainly stepping up a notch. Can you believe there’s only 4 more Fridays until the day itself? We just came back from a couple of days in Belfast for GB’s birthday and I have to say it really put me in the mood. The weather was colder and frostier than it is here, the lights were on, the Christmas market was heaving, the shops all had their displays up, the restaurants were adorned with giant red ribbons and Christmas music played everywhere we went – it was hard not to get excited about it all to be honest.
So in the hope of igniting your festive spirit (or adding flames to the fire if you’re already well into the spirit of things) I’m carrying on with my ‘Tis the Season series here on the blog. From now until Christmas you can expect lots of festive content thrown in amongst my regular posts so that even if the snow isn’t falling outside, we can all get Christmas-ified indoors!
Today I’m discussing Christmas present wrapping and how to up your game so that your gifts are instantly recognisable under the tree this year. Before I go any further I should point out that I’m not nearly as organised as these photos might suggest and am indeed at risk of being that last minute dot com shopper this year, as with a wedding anniversary and my husbands birthday at the end of November, I haven’t even thought about what I’m buying everyone for Christmas yet (apart from myself of course – that wishlist begun months ago ha!). But I have picked up a couple of smaller things here and there and that’s what I’ll be focusing on in this post.
I have to say though, I do really enjoy the act of buying things for others. In some ways I think the giving is more satisfying than the receiving, and when you find something you just know someone will love it’s hard to contain the excitement ahead of them opening it.
And similarly I’m one of those annoying people who does really get into the wrapping side of things too. It’s just one big opportunity for me to put my creative side to use and make things look all pretty and personal, which I love. It does mean there’s never much of a guessing game when the presents get handed out though, as my family are always immediately able to proclaim ‘well I know who this is from!’.
Each year I usually choose a bit of a theme for my wrapping – whether that’s a traditional red and green vibe with lots of metallic ribbon and shimmering tags, a stylish silver and frosted white look or a rustic style with brown kraft paper and fun Christmassy accents. One of my top destinations for buying all my wrapping accessories is Marks and Spencer (who have created this handy wrapping guide) and so I thought I’d take you through my wrapping process with a few tips on how to wrap those presents like a pro this Christmas!
Camera, Jumper and mug – my own
I’ve chosen a selection of suitably girly gifts (why break with tradition hey?) as an example for this guide and aimed to select things of different shapes and sizes so you can see how to tackle each piece, even those tricky smaller items or odd shaped objects. These are things I’d buy my girl friends, my Mum or my Bro’s girlfriend and would make great little extras, stocking fillers or main presents for under the tree.
There’s a few fail safe choices here if you’re struggling for what to gift someone or need a Secret Santa in a hurry. I particularly love the ‘Fizz and Bubbles’ lip balm (so cute), the set of 4 Noel Candles (who doesn’t love a candle?) and of course the festive socks (you can never go wrong with socks).
Shop my favourite gifts…
Wrapping paper and ribbons – Marks and Spencer
Accessories – my own
Once you’ve decided on your gifts and are moving onto the wrapping itself, block out a decent amount of time (it always takes longer than you think it will) in order to be able to wrap at leisure and enjoy sprucing your gifts up, rather than panic wrapping the night before and having them look last minute. These are my top tips for wrapping your presents like a pro this Christmas…
Choose your wrapping theme ahead of time
As I mentioned above, I always like to go with a bit of a theme with my presents rather than wrapping them all with different paper and forgetting whose is whose. I don’t mean you have to be super strict and wrap every present in the same way but thinking about the style you’d like your gifts to be in ahead of time can be helpful. For example do you want a grown up stylish look or a fun comical vibe? Do you want to go traditional with colours or opt for something outside the box? If you’re struggling with what paper to team with what, M&S have some great wrapping sets which come with three complimenting rolls of paper plus tags and ribbon that will work perfectly. I love this Tartan pack or for something a little sleeker how about the kraft and silver illustration pack?
I personally like choosing paper that’s festive but not overly so, and going with a couple of styles that compliment each other so as to offer a bit of variety. This year I decided to go for a slightly opulent look teamed with rustic wintery details. This navy floral paper has a nod to Christmas without being overly festive (it almost reminds me of a William Morris print) and I think it will look fab under the tree with all those lights twinkling around it. I teamed it with a simple kraft paper and kraft tags to offset the opulence and then went for dark black and rich burgundy ribbon, with a touch of metallic thread and lots of winter accessories to keep it feeling Christmas appropriate.
Shop wrapping paper and accessories…
Avoid awkward shapes by boxing your presents
When it comes to the wrapping, it’s not rocket science really – the square and rectangular shapes are undoubtedly easier to wrap than those tricky corners and uneven surfaces. If I have something that’s proving impossible to make look pretty (i.e. a mug) I often box things up as a bit of a cheat. Plus I think it adds a little extra mystery to the unwrapping. Remember when you were little and your parents used to put presents inside a box within a box within a box, or wrap things 50 times over so that by the time you got to the final section you could hardly contain the excitement? Think of it a bit like that, and give yourself a break on the awkward wrapping that will no doubt send you into a tizzy.
Wrap grouped presents individually with a similar theme
A little trick to a. make it look like you’ve been extra generous, b. make the unwrapping more fun and c. make the presents look even prettier, is to separate grouped objects and wrap them individually. For example this set of 4 Noel candles comes with the candles grouped in a clear plastic box. You could wrap it as one long rectangle but personally I decided they would look a lot more inviting wrapped individually (especially as unwrapping them letter by letter would have them guessing). When doing this, wrap each item in the same way (so as to ensure they look like a set) but slightly different (so that they stand out from each other). I alternated by wrapping two candles in the floral wrap and two in the kraft paper and then mixed and matched different ribbons and accessories to each. Pile them up on top of one another and they look fab!
Disguise dodgy wrapping with pretty ribbons
Ribbons are most definitely your friends when it comes to certain items, and making them look as great as the neatly boxed ones you’ve just completed. Softer presents such as squidgy jumpers, pyjamas or socks will just never look as great wrapped up as that perfect square box does, so use ribbons to detract from the slightly messy folds and taping. Always start your ribbon on the top side of your present (the one you want people to see) and then cross it over underneath before tying into a big bow on the front again. Add your tags, accessories and corsages to the underneath ribbon on the bow and place in the middle to cover up any criss cross.
Add your own personal decorations for a touch of variety
Now comes the fun part! You can really go to town personalising your presents once the main wrapping and ribbon adorning is done. Maybe you want to add some fun ‘Don’t open me until Christmas Day’ stickers or pile on the glitter – whatever you want! I love adding distinctive objects and props to my presents for a bit of variety and this year went down the rustic route with some winter bits and pieces. Whether a sprig of eucalyptus, a cinnamon stick (makes them smell great too), a cute pine cone or a branch of red berries, or even some rose gold wire berries, there are loads of options and it’s easy to just tie these pieces in to the string or ribbon or even pop a dab of glue on the paper. It will make your presents stand out that bit more so is definitely worth it.
Make your own tags
For a personal touch it can be a really nice idea to script your own tags using calligraphy ink (or just a fancy pen). Marks and Spencer have a huge range of different Christmas tags so you can easily find a design that compliments your paper choice, and then choose a style in which to write your messages. For kraft tags I always find black or white ink looks great for a simple look, but if you have coloured or patterned tags maybe opt for a metallic pen? If you’re not confident to do your own calligraphy (I hadn’t done any for months so I definitely need some more practice) Marks and Spencer have this fab pack with calligraphy scroll tags, ribbon and even some metallic pine cone accessories!
Pile up your finished presents and marvel at your creativity
Once you’ve wrapped, ribboned, accessorised and scrolled your presents, I promise you’ll be pleased as punch with them so take pride in piling them up under the tree and marvelling at your expertise. No one will judge if you want to take multiple photos for Instagram too before they’ve even been opened.
Shop the Post…
I hope these tips help with your wrapping this Christmas and make the process a little more enjoyable. What are your go to tips for making gifts look great?
*This post was in collaboration with Marks and Spencer with all words, photos and styling my own. M&S is always my first port of call for gift wrapping so I was more than happy to team up with them on this post!*