Every year I think I am going to be so amazing at wrapping presents with, like, themed paper and contrasting ribbon. And yet every year it is an utter bad-backed scramble, completely random wrapping paper, some left over from last year, bulging corners, lumpy ends.
Too late for me this year. I had a spare hour just now and so I’ve wrapped pretty much everything – but it’s possibly not too late for you? Or it’s not too late for me next year to get a grip. My mistake was not having a good old perve over Pinterest before I started.
It’s the story of my life, really. I’m constantly all up in my head with ambitious ideas about how I’m going to do this and that, and then the reality falls so incredibly far short of expectation, (like a cartoon character attempting a leap across a canyon and peddling wildly in mid-air before falling…. *paff* into the valley below), that my usual berserk high self-esteem takes a tiny prang.
Anyway, here from me to you (and also from me to myself in one year hence) are my favourite wrapping themes off Pinterest:
Not so much feeling the copper ribbon, (makes it look like a gift from a posh chocolate company: not what I’m after), but I love the mini-star dark blue wrapping paper – still available at Cox&Cox.
Dark blue wrapping paper – just generally classy? Kids would hate this though – WHERE’S THE NAFFING GLITTER IS THIS CHRISTMAS OR WAHT????
I don’t expect you or myself or anyone to attach actual baubles to a present, but I like this idea of gold, brown and white. That way to don’t have to commit to any one type of wrapping paper.
This is all brown kraft paper, with all different kinds of red ribbon going round. Clever, as the brown paper is practical and inexpensive (and can be reused as fire lighter) and you can go crazy with all different sorts of ribbon. God damn it.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to have a cry while picking sellotape out of my hair.
Those pictures are very pretty but your Tiffany ribbon tip from last year was brilliant. Organza ribbon is excellent as it can be squashed down but then recovers it’s normal shape and it jazzes up any paper. My favourite wrapping is the misdirection sort or Russian doll boxes.
Every year I look at the knee-high pile of crumpled paper that fills the living room by about 9am and feel terrible. And this year I’m going to feel worse as I’ve just read that metallic, shiny paper can’t be recycled. So, in the spirit of the Keep (and Moon) Cup I’ve resolved to try and find some nice fabric to wrap things up in and reuse them every year. Is this a terrible idea?
I buy a shitload of the metallic paper from John Lewis each year – that way is it *vaguely* Christmassy but I can also use it year round. I also use those sticky envelope labels to write who it is to and who it is from.
I’m such an appalling wrapper that no one would expect me to faff about with ribbons. My husband was quite aghast the first year he saw me wrap a present.
I’ve wrapped everything in gold/brown or red kraft paper with contrasting red/gold ribbon, a bit like the picture. I’m now wishing that I’d used a whole ragbag as it looks too coordinated and boring.
Best wrapper is my MIL who always uses lots of different block colours of paper with contrasting ribbon, so one present is bright orange with magenta ribbon, the next is sky blue with lime green, next is red with navy etc etc. All different but they look ace together and really inviting.
Omg, yes to all of this. That bit about the cartoon character – I actually have a soft toy Wile E Coyote who is my sort of Blockbusters mascot for when I’m doing anything pressured because I identified with him so completely, always trying so very hard, and always falling on his arse, but getting up and having another go. He was on my desk all the way through university. I later read Frank Skinner’s autobiography and he has a Wile E Coyote on his desk too! I don’t know what his wrapping is like but mine is hideous. I like the midnight blue and the brown paper with the different ribbons, I just don’t think I can take on special wrapping, it’ll send me over the edge. (I realise most of this post makes me sound like I’m already there)
Tom B says
Aldi are doing 12m of wrapping paper for 99p, I have gone mad and splashed out on two rolls, I doubt I will need to buy any more in my life! Of course I shall have to be careful to remember where I put it each year!
Anna D says
My discovery this year was buying mega rolls of wholesale ribbon from Ribbon Room which is way cheaper than faffing around with the tiny amounts you get in the wrapping departments in normal shops. Then you can go mad and put ribbon on EVERYTHING.
Everyone loves a good £1.99 roll from WHsmith though right? But I am also v taken with these Pinterest efforts
I fell prey to a couple of massive rolls of wrap in Costco about 3 years ago and I still can’t get rid of the sodding stuff. Regretful.
Kathy Sandison says
But really, so long as the gifts are wrapped with a loose-ish colour scheme, does it really matter? The recipient might coo for a minute over your tasteful wrapping but they really want to get what’s inside. Give yourself a break Esther. With 2 little kids and Christmas anticipation to enjoy, as well as us to entertain with your witty blog, you have enough on your plate. Happy Christmas 🎅🏻🎁
That’s a lovely comment Kathy, I wish I’d written something like that instead of waffling about coyotes xx
Elisabeth Heien says
Buy lots of plain brown paper bags, nice if they have handles, fine if they don’t. Go bananas w gold star stickers in various sizes, or maybe hearts, or kittens or santas or whatever you find festive, does not really matter, as Kathy so rightly said. Plop the pressie inside and either scrunch the top of the bag together with string or ribbon, or just fold and staple. Cover the staples w more stickers if you want. Or staple on the gift tag at the same time.
Brown paper and 50m rolls of ribbon from Costco –
Miss Eil says
Thoughtful gift wrapping, a much underrated meditative skill, and one often found in unexpected quarters. I still remember the first time I sat with women prisoners in Holloway, immersed in exactly that…women just like us. Jeffrey Archer would’ve been far too busy scribing; Fragrant Mary would be on gift wrap!
Oooo I’ve often wondered about volunteer work in prisons – was that what you were doing?
Miss Eil says
Yep, a volunteer project with Save the Children, working with the kids coming in to visit their Mums, doing arts and crafts, play etc. Learnt more about life than I have anywhere else, and had a lot of fun too. Now sadly closed, as is Holloway but plenty of opps for volunteers elsewhere, as I’m sure Spikers will attest to, being a generous lot.
Hang on.. holloway prison is closed????
Miss Eil says
Holloway closed this summer. Meanwhile, back to gift wrapping tips!
I do the shopping, husband does the wrapping. With my artistic direction, of course, but he is an engineer and so is incredibly precise and patient and the paper, ribbon, everything is always lovely. I actually love watching him do it, and it’s not like it’s rocket science, I just don’t have the patience. Elaine x
I was in a shitty fucking mood while Christmas shopping so I picked up what I thought was black wrapping paper…turned out to be navy with stars and snowflakes. Suddenly inspired, I bought silver ribbon and silver star tags and now I’m all excited again! I literally found the silver cloud lining
Brilliant wrapping tip is to do it on the ironing board. That way you don’t kill your back and you can cut up loads of little bits of tape and stick them on the metal bit where the iron goes to save wrestling with it. That and a good movie and a cup of tea and a lovely afternoon is yours!
Oooh I love wrapping presents – I’m a wrapping pervert! I love all of these ideas but Laura, that IS the best tip. I had actually worked that out when I sold a lot of stuff on ebay, and did my parcelling up on the ironing board, but my durr-brain hadn’t made the leap to present wrapping …
– Brown paper is the best, and looks great with most ribbon for any time of the year, but NB some brown paper is better than others. Jettison without guilt any that’s too flimsy; it is not worth the struggle.
– I have used real ribbon for years; I pick it all out of the wrappings and iron it and re-use it. Pikey? Probably, but it allows you to be lavish with it, and lavish buying it, knowing it comes back. The down-side is having to restrain yourself if people make off with it (and it will always be the expensive gold-and-silver striped bit that’s massively long, not just a snippet of green satin …)
-If you can, always box something before wrapping. Much easier and a pile of boxes looks just as inviting as strange lumps; boxes pile better too.
-Don’t wrap bottles. It’s too hard. Just use a gift bag and have done with it. I was scandalised by my in-laws’ lazy use of bottle bags which would have been considered naff in my house but, d’y’know, I am totally converted. Buy them after Christmas in the sale.
-Floristry wholesalers sell that wide, shiny ribbon in big, big rolls for a couple of quid, and you can tear it lengthways to make it thinner, and there are dozens of tutorials on YouTube for how to make bows etc. Good for presents, amazing for decorations.
Umm. I’ll shut up now. But also a thank you, Esther, for last year’s tip about batteries in toys. I gave a model helicopter which needed a couple of hours’ charging to work, so I sent it off all ready to go. Godson and parents delighted. Genius! xx
Thank you for all this Sophie! and I am always delighted when a tip proves useful xx