Present your holiday presents in pretty packages that are just as special as what’s inside. To find out how the gift-wrapping experts here at MacKenzie-Childs wrap packages, we consulted with Tom Tracy, a key-holder/sales associate, in The Shop in Aurora, New York.

Tom, who has been with the company for nine years, says that practice really does make perfect when it comes to wrapping gifts. The more you wrap, the better your skills will be and the better your packages will look.

Here’s some of his advice:

Box and paper

  • Start with good-quality coated paper. It will crease better, making your wrapped package look more professional.
  • Use a pair of sharp scissors to cut your paper. You want the scissors to glide across the paper not chop through it.

  • Put your package top side down on the paper and be sure there is enough paper to wrap around it with 2 inches extra for overlapping. On the ends, the paper should extend to the bottom of the package. Trim excess paper if needed.
  • Tape the first side of the paper in the center of the bottom of the package. Bring the second side of the paper up and fold back an inch or so to create a clean, crisp edge. Match up the paper’s pattern, if there is one, and tape the folded edge on top of the first taped edge.

  • On the ends, fold the paper on top down first. Then fold in an angle on one side that overlaps the top paper. Now repeat that with the other side. You will be left with a bottom piece that is folded in on both sides like a triangle. Fold that side up and tape in place. Repeat this process with the other side of the package.
  • Try to stock up on boxes and wrapping paper at after-Christmas sales, so you’ll be prepared for just about any size item.
  • You can wrap things that are vertical by making a cylinder out of poster board. Secure the two ends together with tape and insert the item. For wine bottles, use an oatmeal container. Put the wine bottom in upside down so that you disguise the end where the cork is.

Ribbon and embellishments

  • How much ribbon and what kind? Measure the circumference of the package and multiply that by four so you’ll have plenty of ribbon for wrapping and embellishing. Tom likes the feel and look of grosgrain ribbon.
  • Lay the ribbon flat across the top of the package and wrap the ends around to the bottom, where you cross them. Bring the ribbon ends up on the sides and back to the top, run them underneath the flat ribbon on top and tie into place. Make a bow and tie that in place.

  • To finish the bow, fold the ribbon tails in half vertically and cut them at an angle. Tie the extra pieces of ribbon into the intersection of the bow and make additional tails. Tom says this makes the package more elegant. You can also try a variation called the French knot. After tying the bow on top, pull out one loop and cut that longer ribbon into an angle.
  • Make a package even prettier with an embellishment such as one of our stems or ornaments. Add the embellishment after you add the ribbon and secure it to the package by tying it in place. To insert the wide ribbon into the much smaller ornament loop, cut the ribbon into a long angle and thread it through the loop. Tie the ornament in place and then tie a bow on top of that. To add a pick or stem, tie it into place on top of the box with the ribbon. Keep your bow simple so that the pick is the focal point.

Finally, here’s a last bit of advice. Don’t wait until the last minute (aka Christmas Eve) to wrap all of your gifts. Tom says that’s a sure recipe for stress. Make wrapping a fun and festive activity by scheduling a few wrapping sessions during the holidays. Crank up the Christmas tunes, sip a little hot chocolate, and make some memories. Got that? Now, get ready, get set, and wrap!

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