Although it's still some 53 days to go until Christmas and most of us haven't given a seconds thought to buying presents yet, I strongly believe that it is never too early to begin thinking about your wrapping theme. I adore Christmas and everything it involves; cooking, buying presents, making quizzes and games, making decorations... the list is endless. Pretty close to the top of the list however, is wrapping.
Every year I give a LOT of thought into how I present my presents. One year I made up a gift box for each person. Along with the presents, I filled the box with shredded tissue, individually wrapped sweeties, and battery operated strings of lights (that I turned on just before handing it over through a little hole I'd made in the box). Other years I've done neon, traditional, multi-coloured... I think I've tried it all. Last year I did crepe paper with the emphasis on beautiful shiny ribbons and my sister used tissue paper with handmade tissue paper flowers to decorate. One year my mum did everything in brown paper and string with hand scrawled addresses on the front and hand-drawn stamps (I think you see where we get it from). Anyway, my point is, wrapping is FUN and a fantastic way to make even the tiniest present look like something really special.
There are a few important things to remember when choosing your wrap. Firstly, rolls are much much better value than sheets. Secondly, paper with glitter on it almost never sticks well, sticky tape just cant grip the glitter. Thirdly, thicker, more expensive papers aren't always the best, sometimes they are more fiddly and hard to fold than they are worth.
My biggest tip - use double sided tape, it makes even badly wrapped presents look neat and like you've made LOTS of effort. Oh, and always use ribbon. Duh.
I've had a look through some shops and picked out some of my favourites this year. Even a dull paper can look fantastic with a jazzy ribbon, so I have also included links to some lovely ribbon shops. If money is tight, a roll of brown packaging paper with pretty ribbon is a great way to make your presents look gorgeous with minimum outlay.
There is a nice selection from M&S this year, ranging from the fun to the more festive feeling ones. These are my favourites, the marching soldiers are nice and colourful for children's presents and would look great with green or black ribbon. The two darker ones feel more grown up and magical, perfect for gifts for your nearest and dearest. For the navy wrap with silver town pattern, I would probably go for a thick white ribbon with some shimmer in, and the black with gold trees would look great with a deep purple velvet ribbon.
Muji don't have a huge selectionof gift wrap, this is pretty much it. But I do like the plain white with green trees, its simple and bright, and could really be used with most colour ribbons for a striking effect.
Theses brown kraft papers are my favourites from Ikea this year. I particularly love the roll with music on it, and think it would look gorgeous with a lovely thick white satin ribbon. It would also look lovely with different coloured raffia ribbons, why not assign a colour to each person to save on name tags! These Santa bags are also very sweet (and CHEAP) and would be lovely as 'goody bags' with homemade gingerbread in if you have guests.
Paperchase have the largest selection of nice papers that I have found online so far this year. I really love this pink Robin one, which would be perfect if you wanted to inject a bit of colour into Christmas this year. Pick out any of the colours from the paper and get a ribbon to match for a great looking pressie! The second two here are slightly more traditional, but there's nothing wrong with that! The red one would look gorgeous with a dark green ribbon - you couldn't really get more Christmassy - and the gold would look really elegant with a black ribbon.
There isn't a particularly great selection from John Lewis this year (in my opinion!) but I do like this Santa Claus one for children. If you want a bit of colour this year, this would look great with a lime green or yellow ribbon.
Not for their gift wrap as I think it's hideously over-priced, but for this gorgeous bow! This would be great if you have one really special gift to give! (I'd ask for the bow back after though!)
Another ribbon I really like is this white one with black stars from Crafty Ribbons. The stars give that festive feel, but the monochrome pattern makes it modern, plus the white and black would go with most wrapping papers.
These two online shops (The Ribbon Reel, Fantastic Ribbons) are dedicated to everything ribbon, so once you've found your perfect paper, they will have something to decorate it with! Alternatively, Ebay is overflowing with all kinds of ribbon, so once you know what you want, have a browse and find yourself a bargain!
If you have seen any lovely wrapping paper anywhere, please don't hesitate to add a link in the comments section below.