Wrappers delight: how to make your presents sing

Image: The Rifle Paper Co.

Pip McCormac, author and lifestyle director of Red magazine, believes that Christmas wrapping is much more than just paper - it is a tradition to be celebrated with ribbon, tags and even a glass of port. We couldn’t agree more. Here are his top ten tips on wrapping Christmas up in style.

Plain doesn't always equal boring

Brown paper looks stiff and chic, and can be added to with gift cards or tags - the Rifle Paper Company and Knot & Bow are especially good at this sort of graphic design.

Image: String, tags and wrapping from a selection at Knot & Bow

Be creative with your paper

Old maps, foreign newspapers, swatches of wallpaper. Anything that looks fun and fabulous will make for a decent gift.

Image: Gift wrap, from a selection The Rifle Paper Co

Don't worry about hospital corners

You could spend hours trying to get every box to look sharp, every fold to lay flat. But where's the fun in that? Tie the gift up with a flouncey ribbon and nobody will be any the wiser. 

Image: Gift tags and wrap, from a selection at Sugar Paper

Add scent to gift wrap

As with your home, it's the smell that really makes Christmas. Cinnamon sticks and mini wreaths made of rosemary or eucalyptus sprigs can all be fixed to boxes to add an enticing hit of aroma.

Image: Gift wrap and trim, from The White Company

Go on a roll with colour

Bright tapes will add instant flair, and can become a design feature of the wrapping paper. Neon, gold or pastel look especially good on plainer papers.

Image: Decorative tape, £2.50, Meri Meri

Think outside the box

Literally. Spotting the embellishments is the most fun part of looking at gifts under the tree.

For small children, fix toy cars or little jokey toys to the box with ribbon – they become an extra bonus gift and ensure yours will be the one they want to open.

Image: Christmas decoration, £15, The White Company

If you can't craft at Christmas, when can you?

Personalising wrapping paper can make for a very fun evening (if that's your thing…and why shouldn't it be?). Fix mini pom poms onto wrapped gifts, use a stamp and ink or paints to add your own flair. The more fun and tailored to the recipient, the better.

Image: Crafts from a selection at Knot & Bow

Even baked goods can become wrapping

If you're giving the gift to be opened right away, then fix on a gingerbread tree or star, freshly baked and aromatic. Just make a small hole in it when still warm from the oven, which a ribbon can be threaded through. And make sure the giftee knows not to keep it under the tree if they have any pets. 

Image: Biscuits, £39.50, Biscuiteers.com

Think about the shape of your gifts

If you're wrapping a bottle, it's almost impossible to actually make it look sharp and well done. So don't even try – turn the extra paper twisted at the thin end into a design feature, finished off with ribbon and trim.

Image: Bottle trims, from a selection, Meri Meri

Have fun!

Christmas can sometimes feel like a time when there is much to do, but you should enjoy the chores. Play carols, drink port, make an event of your wrapping. It's all part of the festivities.

Image: Gift boxes and tags, from a selection, Meri Meri

Pip McCormac’s book "The Herb and Flower Cookbook, Plant Grow and Eat" is out now, published by Quadrille

By Pip McCormac