You’ve found the perfect gifts — but that’s only half the battle of tackling your holiday to-do list. Next step: wrapping all those presents. If concealing your gifts feels like advanced-level origami, you’re not alone — 52% of Americans say wrapping is the worst part of the holiday season. However, there are ways to make every item you give look great without paying extra for in-store wrapping services.
Before You Wrap
It’s easier to have all the tools you’ll need in one spot before you get started. Of course, you’ll need wrapping paper, scissors, and tape. But don’t forget to stock up on tissue paper and gift bags for hard-to-wrap gifts and other embellishments like ribbons, stickers, and tags for a perfectly topped present. Also, make sure to remove the price tag.
How to Wrap a Present
1. Start by trimming your gift wrap to fit the box — center the item on the paper and pull enough off the roll until the left and right sides of the box are covered, plus an extra inch of paper to spare.
2. Join the two pieces of paper at the box’s edge, folding the top paper under by about an inch — this trick creates a crisp seam that lines up with the side of the box and becomes practically invisible. You can even use double-sided tape for a seamless look.
3. Turn one of the box’s untapped sides towards you, and press the paper along those edges into the center to create two folded triangles.
4. Fold the top triangle down and trim off the point where it meets the bottom paper to reduce bulk.
5. Fold the bottom triangle up, and just like before, fold the point under for a crisp, straight seam that lines up with the box’s edge.
6. Rotate the box 90 degrees and repeat with the other side.
Top With a Bow
Once your present is wrapped, you'll want to top it off with a ribbon or bow. Here are two fool-proof bows that will liven up any present.
1. Tie a piece of ribbon around the present, knotting it at the top and ensuring the ends are equal.
2. Take one side and fold it over itself to create a loop that is “C” shaped. Repeat on the other side.
3. Tie the two loops together just like you would a shoelace.
4. Tighten the bow and trim off any excess overhang.
1. Wrap a long piece of ribbon around your hand at least 10 times.
2. Take the ribbon off your hand and fold it in half.
3. Cut the corners of the folded end of the ribbon.
4. Unfold the ribbon and tie the center with a thinner ribbon. Trim off any excess.
5. Fan out the loops and arrange them to your desired shape.
6. Tape or hot glue the ribbon to the present.
Other Embellishments to Consider
Adding embellishments can upgrade the look of your gift with minimal effort. There are endless customizable and creative options. Jute and twine can add natural flair, especially when used to secure decorations like bits of dried garland, florals, or cinnamon sticks. Stickers or tags can also add some personality to your gift — customize them with calligraphy, photos, or DIY art. And don’t forget to add a label so the recipient knows who to thank.
The Proper Way to Secure a Gift Bag
If wrapping paper just isn’t working, using a gift bag is an easy way to have a presentable present.
1. Open the bag, insert a bottom layer of tissue paper to cushion the gift, slide in the item, and add tissue to the top.
2. For the best-looking tissue paper presentation, lay the tissue paper flat, pinch it in the middle, and lift it to create a triangular shape.
3. Secure the bag from prying eyes with the bag's handles. Take the cord’s end (the part securing the handle from falling out) and run it into the hole directly across on the opposite side of the bag. Do this for all four ends; when you pull the strings tight, the bag will close securely without any tape.
What to Do When You’ve Run Out of Wrapping Paper
Estimating how much wrapping paper you’ll need for the holiday season is hard. So, if you run out, don’t panic — there are other creative ways to wrap your gift. Reach for newspaper, kraft paper, paper shopping bags, or butcher paper as substitutes. You can also try out furoshiki, the Japanese art of wrapping gifts with fabric squares that can be reused repeatedly. Or, skip the gift wrap altogether — some gifts make just as big a statement without wrapping paper. Bikes, stuffed animals, and plants can be their own decoration.
Featured Image Credit: mapodile/ iStock