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How to Wrap Christmas Gifts

By: Christine Whitfield BA (hons) - Updated: 18 Jun 2013 | comments*Discuss
Wrapping Presents Gift Paper Neatly

Your living room looks beautiful, the lights are twinkling, the tree looks stunning and the stockings hung on the fireplace are that perfect extra touch. But there’s one problem, the presents you placed under the tree ready for your loved ones to open, look a little, well, unsightly. Wrapping presents can be difficult but giving a present that is beautifully wrapped is well worth the effort.

Why Do We Wrap Presents?

Presents have always been a part of Christmas, originating from the three Wisemen, who each brought a gift for the baby Jesus in the stable. It is unclear where the idea of wrapping presents originates. The point is to conceal the gift from the recipient until they open it. This is all very well but wrapping it neatly is a whole new ball game!

The Formula for Wrapping a Present

Wrapping is no mean feat. Why else would wrapping services like the ones in most major department stores on the run up to Christmas be so successful?

In fact wrapping presents nicely is considered so difficult that scientists have actually come up with a formula for how to do it.

It is: ½ (d + 2h + w)2 =2(w+h)2 when d equals the depth of the box, h equals the height and w = the width.

So does that make it easier? No we didn’t think so either! Which is why we’ve decided to help.

Our quick and easy guide to wrapping gifts

  • Make sure you take off any price tags, you don’t want the recipient knowing exactly what you spent!
  • Place the present in a box. This is the key step in wrapping that most people miss, hence the wrapping disasters some people have! Wrapping a square box is much easier than wrapping a toy dinosaur after all!
  • On a flat surface, unroll the wrapping paper and place the box on top.
  • Work out how much wrapping paper you’ll need to cover the entire box and neatly cut off any excess.
  • On the horizontal side of the paper, take one side and fold it over to the bottom of your gift. Then take the other side, folding it over, too. The paper should overlap slightly.
  • Fold one side of the box at a time. On one end of your package, fold the corners in so you have a triangle like shape. Fold the straight end over and pull it to the top of your package and secure with sellotape.
  • Repeat step 6 on the other side.
  • Take a long piece of ribbon, long enough to go around the box twice, with some to spare. Put the ribbon on top of the gift. Wrap it to the bottom and turn the gift 90 degrees so that the ribbon comes up the sides. Tie a bow on top and, using scissors cut off the excess ribbon at an angle to prevent fraying.

Not Enough Boxes?

Obviously at Christmas time you have lots of presents to wrap and there's a good chance you won't have enough spare boxes to put every present in. Here are some tips for gift wrapping even the oddest shapes:

Wrapping a 'round' present

  • Place the gift on the wrapping paper with the decorative side not showing.
  • Draw around the present and then measure the depth of the present and times by 2 - note this measurement.
  • Draw another line the same shape as the present but as far away from the original line as your measurement dictates.
  • With scissors make slits from the outer line to the inner line - about six is usually enough for most presents.
  • Then place your gift upside down on the paper within the lines of your original drawing.
  • Fold each slit upwards, so they overlap each other slightly and secure all with sticky tape.
  • Turn the gift back over so the tape cannot be seen. Or you could leave it that way up and make a feature of it with a bow

Wrapping 'Long' Presents

Roll gift in wrapping paper so a few inches of paper protrude at either end. Scrunch up each end and secure with a bow, to make the impression of an elongated christmas cracker, very festive!

How to Wrap 'Soft or Squishy' Presents

The best way to cope with gifts which are soft, squashy or contain something loose (like a bag of marbles) is to pack some pretty tissue paper around the present, place on the wrapping paper, then gather the wrapping paper up loosely to create a bag or pouch like effect. Secure with shiny ribbon and flick out the ends of the wrapping and tissue paper for a ruffled effect on top.

TIP:If you want to add a personal touch, why add a homemade decoration to your presents? It’s fun and creative - the kids will love helping with this part!

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