August 6, 2009, 11:00 am
Filed under: making nice

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me….

Today is my birthday, and to celebrate, my gift to you is a little roundup of my favorite gift-wrapping tips. You know, just in case. {What, for me? Oh, you shouldn’t have. Thanks ever so much…}

I firmly believe that presentation counts. In everything. Even the simplest gift becomes more exciting with a little thought put into how you give it. So without further ado…

1. The basics.

2. There are plenty of gorgeous wrapping papers out there — but please, no sparkles and use a matte finish whenever possible.  It looks so much richer.  There are extraordinarily gorgeous options at Liberty.  {But then, don’t you love just about everything at Liberty?}

3.  Use real ribbon.  Not the kind you curl with scissors, and definitely not the kind with a sticky back.  The real, fabric kind.


4.  Once you’ve found that wonderful matte paper {bonus if it’s recycled} and paired it with some real ribbon, consider adopting the combination as your signature.  I’ve been doing this for ages and eventually also read the same tip in Domino {sigh}.  Don’t you love it when you read a tip and you’ve already thought of it yourself?  My signature style is kraft paper, accented by a bit of ribbon from my ever-burgeoning collection. The basic, functional style of the kraft paper is balanced by the luxe feel of proper, lush ribbon, which can be selected to suit the occasion.  And I’m never caught in a last-minute gift-wrapping rush.  {Unless of course I leave the actual wrapping till the last minute.  But that, my friends, is another issue entirely.}

5.  How you tie that ribbon makes a big difference too. My cousin taught me this “under-looping” trick that she learned whilst working at Anthropologie. {Coming soon to London!  More on this later…}

Place your present right-side up. Place the ribbon across the top, long ways, so that an equal amount extends beyond the end of the present on each side. Keeping the ribbon in place, turn over the present and make a simple knot with the ribbon {as if you were tying your shoe} in the center of the bottom of the present. Pull the ribbon ends perpendicularly so that they are now reaching across the short length of the present. Flip the box so it is right side up again.

Now here is the trick: Before tying your second knot, which will be the foundation of the bow, pull the ribbon ends *back under* the first part of the ribbon, so that they come out diagonally from each other. Then tie your second knot, and the bow. This ruches the ribbon in a very pretty way and results in a much more cohesive look.



6.  About that bow…  Add a little extra oomph by tying an extra, short piece of ribbon across the second knot, *before* you tie the bow.  The bow will look like it has four ends, appearing that much more substantial and luxurious.  Remember to hide the short piece under the bow!




Or, forgo the bow entirely, and just style it up with a few short pieces of ribbon.




7.  Try making the packaging part of the gift. For a baby shower I attended last weekend, the mom-to-be really, really wanted baby socks. (Incidentally, those in the know recommend Baby Gap for socks that are super-soft and don’t fall off.  Just in case you’re interested.) I wrapped them up in one of these fabric snack bags — what mom can’t use something good-looking AND waterproof? — and voila!  Much more exciting. And eco-friendly, by the way…

Similarly, try including a couple of complementary tiny gifts along with your main gift — this works especially well with wedding registry gifts.  My cousin (yes, the one of the ribbon advice… hi Katie) asked for a griddle, and she received along with it some gourmet blueberry pancake mix and maple syrup.  My friend Catherine asked for a teapot, and she received an accompanying tea strainer, and a jar of lemon curd — an appropriate gesture, we thought, making its way across the pond from London to New York.

Sunday is birthday picnic day…  on Monday look for a birthday bonus cupcake round-up, along with some photos of what will be my first attempt at fancy icing!


1 Comment so far
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Happy Birthday to you! I love your tips (some sound a bit familiar… somebody we know must have given them to you). Have a happy day! We can’t wait to see you both in September! Enjoy your day! Be happy!

Comment by Debbie Lander

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