As Christmas approaches, most are probably getting their presents wrapped ready for the big day – and while gift wrapping is a little like Marmite, with some loving it and some hating it, a Bullring & Grand Central study has revealed that we spend a whopping two days wrapping Christmas gifts in our lifetime.
As well as this we’re proven to be a very sneaky nation, with almost one in ten using computers or smartphones to try and uncover their gift purchases, and 36 per cent admit to shaking presents, whilst 31 per cent try to found out where they’re hidden.
And it’s not just the kids that are on Santa’s naughty list sometimes when it comes to uncovering presents – 13 per cent of people have unwrapped and then wrapped their presents to discover what they’ve received.
So, as wrapping gets underway, here to help is the UK’s most prestigious gift wrapper, Jane Means, who has shared her top tips on how to avoid the sneakiness surrounding present giving at Christmas.
Jane says: “No matter your confidence in wrapping, there are simple techniques to help maintain the element of surprise, such as concealing gifts of any shape and size using stiff paper and creating beautifully presented festive shapes.
“We’ll be offering a helping hand with more creative options at the Under Wraps pop-up, and with more people looking for sustainable options this festive season, we’re also delighted to teach shoppers how use recyclable materials but still have the wow factor under the tree.”
So what’s some of her best advice?
How to disguise gifts
When it comes to gifts, there are some real tricky objects you’ll need to disguise.
A Toblerone for example is a pretty obvious present from the off, as is a football and, most likely, a pair of socks. So how can you disguise these presents to avoid people guessing?
Jane says: “You could put something in a box and disguise it with a jingle bell, and also spray it with some fragrance to try and put them off. If it’s a present for a lady, maybe spray it with aftershave or something!”
“If something’s an awkward shape then I’d place it on a dish that you could get from a flea market or charity shop, or even use a plant pot so you completely disguise it if it’s a weird shape and this puts people totally off the scent. You’ll need something else to wrap with it.”
How to hide presents
We’ve all done it as kids right – we suss out where our parents have hidden our gifts and we go and find them, no guilt.
But seeing as Bullring & Grand Central’s study reveals that adults do it too – tut tut – how can we avoid our loved ones finding gifts?
Jane says: “Hide presents, that’s the best idea. If it’s regarding children, don’t have gift tags but instead have a different colour for each child to completely put them off the scent.
“The other thing you can do is put ‘to mum and dad’ when it’s actually for the child and get away with it, so it’s just about totally putting them off the scent really.”
How to speed up the wrapping process
Wrapping can be quite time consuming right? But Jane advises that it should also be a fun process, urging fellow wrappers to “enjoy the time, get your friends around and get into the spirit of it.”
But for those with busy lives, how best can you speed up the wrapping process?
Jane advises: “Be organised. Make sure you’ve got everything with you. One of the common mistakes I make is that I wrap the presents and then I don’t have the tags on and I forget what I’ve wrapped. I’ve wrapped a DVD before and then totally forgotten what it is and who it’s for, so just make sure you definitely get your tags written.
“Be organised and have plenty of materials, because a lot of people run out. And also relax, people can get quite uptight but relax, have fun, have a glass of Sherry, put a film on and get into the spirit of things.”
Using recyclable materials
Re-using materials can help make the process of wrapping a lot more plant-friendly and, according to Jane, there are various ways to make this happen.
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“Recycling is a big thing now and I love to use bits and remnants over and over again.
“I like things like brown packing paper, fabric remnants, paper tablecloths, napkins, it can all be used as wrapping so you don’t have to stick with paper all the time.”
Finally, Jane shares some of her wise words regarding awkward-sized gifts.
“If it’s something really awkward to wrap, you’re better off going for flexible wrapping so things like tissue and cellophane.
“And if it’s a really large item then go for a paper table cloth because they’re two meters big and readily available in supermarkets and party shops.”
Jane also shared her top tip for wrapping emergencies.
“It’s a good idea to have a roll of brown paper in your drawer just for emergencies, so if you have to join paper for a really large present you can use brown paper and make it look quite creative. Brown paper mixed with normal wrapping paper can look quite creative with a ribbon in the middle.”
But wrapper Jane’s best advice was simply to have fun!
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