Christmas Wrapping: My Tips

You may not have bought the gifts yet, but my big tip for you is to wrap as you go!!  Last year I left everything until the very end, anticipating a joyful couple of evenings wrapping, and in reality had endless stressful hours of juggling a large baby bump and then a newborn Tatiana plus a great pile of gifts to wrap.  Of course this year I won't have the bump or the newborn (maybe next year ;-)), but I will definitely be wrapping as I go.

Although I think I'm being a bit of a slow learner with this wrapping lark!  I do pride myself on being pretty good at it: neat corners, never too much excess paper, even managing to wrap the weirdly shaped ones OK.  Yet I forgot the second golden rule of wrapping as you go?!  You know the first golden rule of wrapping when you have children is to colour code don't you?  One type of paper for each person and away you go, just make sure you buy enough of each paper so you're not stranded paperless at 11pm, and then find it's sold out the next day!  Here's part of last year's colour-coded pile, complete with cheeky munchkin Sophia.

I colour code for everyone who will be sat round our tree, and then put a square of each individual's paper in their Christmas card.  Cards are opened in the morning, along with the stocking and the Father Christmas present, so the girls can start spotting - and speculating about - their presents under the tree way in advance of the afternoon's opening.  And of course it is imperative that a different paper is used for the gifts from Father Christmas, stocking and all.  After all, it would be an amazing coincidence for him to have the same paper as Mummy uses!

Using colour-coded paper means that we don't need gift tags at home, but we do use them for any presents that are going out of the home.  This year we love these cute little Chalk Board Gift Tags from Poundland.  In three designs, with snowflakes, spots or stripes, they are gold, red and black with gold string, so fit in with lots of different themes.  Although I love their glossy paper (top), I'm planning to wrap gifts in simple brown paper, add gold and red raffia or ribbon, and then these tags.  I think they'll look fab!  The black To and From section has Gothic-style writing and plenty of room to chalk in your message.  A really cute, original touch.

I mentioned earlier the joy of wrapping the oddly-shaped gift.  My first tip for that is don't scrimp on the paper.  Rather than trying to follow the shape of the vase or the football, use enough paper to make a pouch to fit round it.  Or better still, start saving up any boxes or packaging which arrives over the next few weeks.  A box is always going to be easier to wrap than an odd shape, and sheets of corrugated cardboard are always handy for decorative bowls and vases etc.  It helps disguise the gift within too, after all, nobody wants to know what they've got before they open it.  Truth be told, we always have a stock of packaging in the garage for when needed, but that may be excessive for some!  I love this video guide to wrapping soft items like scarves and jumpers, great advice:

Which brings me on to my final tip, go to the shops right now and invest in a supply of Scotch Pop-Up Tape Hand Dispensers and refill strips.  This amazing little gadget has a soft elasticated band which fits over your hand or wrist with the little pre-cut pieces of tape popping up one after another.  It makes wrapping gifts an absolute breeze, and fast too - a wrapping walk in the park!  Each piece pops up one after another with no need for scissors or ripping tape with your teeth; there's no hanging bits off the edge of the table and getting them covered in cat hair, or tangling them round your scissor blades.  Bliss!

The satin finish of the tape also means it disappears on most wrapping paper making your beautifully wrapped gifts look even more professional.  It's great for children to use too as they can access sticky tape easily without having to use scissors - and without wrapping themselves and everything else in  yards of tape.  (Or is that just my kids?!)  The Scotch Pop-Up Tape Handband Dispenser comes in three colours - pink, silver and blue, RRP £2.69.  Scotch Pop-Up Tape Refill Strips are available in packs of three pads, with 75 strips per pack, priced £2.89.

Follow these tips and the sometimes daunting task of wrapping can become an enjoyable one.  Just pop your favourite Christmas CD or DVD on (Serendipity for me), pour a glass of something festive and off you go.

Make sure you save some of the wrapping for National Wrapping Day on Sunday 14th December though.  I love the idea of people throughout the country all settling down to do their wrapping at the same time.  Certainly beats doing it after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve!!  Head over to the official site for hints, tips, competitions and more!

Post in association with 3M