While the pressure is on over the festive season to find gifts family and friends will love, you also want to make sure they sparkle under the tree.

Making gifts look beautiful shows that you care, and with gift wrapping services popping up in every shopping centre it’s all begun to get very competitive as we try to outdo the previous year’s offerings.

Paying to have your gifts wrapped is expensive so most of us do the job ourselves. But, how will the 40% of people who say they hate the task ever reach wrapping perfection?

With help from two of the UK’s top gift wrapping specialists we’ve created the ultimate guide to help you become a Competitive Christmas Wrapper…


Key to any good performance is training. If you’re not confident in your skills put the scissors down for a few minutes and take some tips from the experts.

We are big fans of Jane Means who runs courses in wrapping worldwide. However, you can also catch her tips videos on YouTube. Jane is a wrapping expert, having appeared on all sorts of UK TV shows demonstrating how to wrap various gifts. Her tutorials are highly recommended to help you get the hang of how to fold and stick your paper.

We’re also in awe of Neelam Meetcha’s creations. Neelam is a wrapping guru who hosts people from all over the world that attend her training courses. She says: “Gift wrapping is a gift in itself, it not only makes the gift look beautiful but it also shows the recipient how much you care.”

With that much importance being placed on how the gift looks it’s well-worth investing the time in making sure your skills are up to scratch.

Choosing the right kit

Choosing paper that’s easy to work with is key. Consider not only how it looks but how easy it will be to cut, fold and whether or not it’ll cover you and your house in glitter. Don’t be caught out like the thousands of disgruntled people who bought this design from Tesco last year!

Plain, high quality papers or those with subtle patterns are best, avoiding the need to match up lines and allowing your other trimmings to really stand out.

Jane advises always making sure you get plenty. She says: “You always need more paper and ribbon than you think so ensure that you stock up whilst there is plenty in the shops. It’s a good idea to also buy some plain paper which can be used throughout the year if you don’t use it all for Christmas presents. If you are running short you can wrap a gift in plain brown paper and add a strip of Christmas decorative paper.

“It’s also a good idea to stock up on lots of ribbon in a plain colour, so it can be used for other occasions and projects.” 

Size up the opposition

The best gifts don’t always come in small packages, they also come in awkward packages, big packages or no package at all.  Before you pick up those scissors consider finding suitably sized boxes for awkwardly shaped items. Your presents will look all the more impressive and wrapping a square box is infinitely easier than wrapping a sphere, for example.

However, if you’re up for a challenge Neelam has these tips on making even the most awkward gifts look exquisite:

Bottles – awkward shapes can be challenging for all of us.  Wrapping bottles doesn’t have to be scary, Neelam’s top tips to wrap a bottle is to use tissue paper, cellophane or metalised film.  Tissue paper is soft so pleats beautifully around a bottle.  Cellophane and metalised films come in a variety of colours and designs.  Place your bottle in the centre of the sheet and bring the four corners up and pleat around the base.  Tie a ribbon around the neck of the bottle and add a bow to finish off.

Round Shapes – a great way to create a striking gift wrap to those pesky round shapes is to create a pleated wrap.  A range of wrapping materials and embellishments can be used to wrap round shapes.  Measure the paper to ensure that there is no excess.  Neelam’s best selling DVD ‘ Learn How To Gift Wrap’ as seen on TV, showcases a range of professional gift wrapping techniques.  From simple box shapes to awkward round shapes.

Christmas Hampers – Top tip, don’t use a massive basket, the more full the basket looks the better the presentation.  Use different kinds of embellishments, bows, flowers and even add your own creative flair by making paper flowers with your children.

Preparing the pitch

Wrapping, particularly competitive wrapping, takes a while. Rushing will mean less than impressive gifts so set aside plenty of time and enjoy your favourite festive tipple or chocolates while you work to make it a task to look forward to. Clear a flat surface and have sticky tape, gift tags, pen, and scissors to hand before you start.

Let wrapping commence

Assuming you’ve trained well then you just need to put what you’ve learned in into practice! But some last top tips to consider:

  • Don’t use too much paper – Both Neelam and Jane agree that using too much paper is the biggest mistake many of us make. Jane says: “Always cut your paper to size. You will find a gift wrapping process less tricky to deal with and you will also avoid waste. My motto is always measure twice and cut once whether it be ribbon or paper.”
  • One person at a time – We’ve all been there, you wrap all the presents and then forget which ones belong to who. Jane advises: “Ensure you write your gift tags first and place them on the gifts so you don’t forget which present is for whom.”
  • Use a colour code – Jane advises forgetting the tag completely when it comes to kids. She adds: “For eager children who have a habit of opening gifts early, avoid adding a gift tag and use a particular colour paper for each child.”

Top tactics

Your gifts may be perfectly wrapped with super straight edges and fabulous folds, but you’re not done yet! For true competitive wrappers the fun is only just beginning.

For the real wow factor it’s what you put on the gift that’s going to impress. Jane’s favourite decoration is baubles, as they’re inexpensive and easily accessible, but she advocates matching the decoration to the recipient’s hobbies and tastes.

She says: “For the natural look raid the garden for foliage such as Ivy, rosemary and bay leaves. These can be tied on to gifts and even used as gift tags if you use a metallic gel pen. To really impress the recipient you could personalise their gift so if they are a wine buff, you could tie in a champagne cork and if they are a DIY addict you could thread on some bolts onto the ribbon.”

The retailers are well aware of our mission to impress, with shops such as Paperchase offering an extensive range of wrapping accessories to help you take your gifts to the next level.

For Christmas 2017 their wrapping range includes printed tapes, featuring Christmas dinosaurs and cactuses no less, as well as alphabet decorations you can use as gift tags. Other good places to find your accessories on the high street include Home Sense, M&S and surprisingly Primark which always has a great value range.

Let your imagination and budget decide what you include, but some of the favourite ideas we’ve seen include:

Christmas ornaments: Choose an ornament for each person that you think would suit their decor, or pile on multicoloured baubles. There’s no need to spend a fortune, you can pick up great value yet pretty decorations from any supermarket.

Edible treats: What could be more tempting than your favourite treats on your present? Hide them in mini crackers and attach with ribbons to your gift

Top tipples: Strictly for adults only this one could win you the gold medal in present wrapping! Select miniatures of your recipients’ favourite spirit and use it as the gift tag. Just be careful to attach it to the ribbon only and not the paper, otherwise you’ll ruin your good work.

The final whistle

Once you’ve finished wrapping your gifts it would be rude not to display them under your tree and take an Instagram-worthy shot of your efforts. However, if you’re transporting them away from home then elaborate wrapping calls for extra care. Make sure to pack them on top of your luggage where possible, with the heaviest at the bottom to avoid ruining your handiwork.

Neelam is kindly offering Christmas.co.uk visitors the chance to have 20% off her online wrapping courses. Use code N017 to enjoy £20 off at giftwrappingcourses.co.uk!

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