Merry & Bright

Wrap up this season in style

illustrated by Lauren Rose
Wrap it up with tips and tricks to make your gifts pop.

Don’t open until Christmas! The hardest part of holiday preparation can often be the gift wrapping. There’s finding the time, analyzing how to stylishly wrap a pair of slippers, and wondering how to make your present pop into something other than a cardboard box with a squished bow.Gift wrapping can be glamorous. Your package decor can rival any home designing queen; you can create your own signature style in gift wrapping; and your presents can pop like champagne on New Year’s Eve.Mary Ann Holderness, owner of Rusty’s Gifts in Tarboro, has been adding a dash of splash to her customers’ gifts for the past 34 years. Offering up some of her quick tips and tricks, she’s helping gift givers everywhere toward a stylish holiday.Gathering Supplies”Having a good surface to work on, such as a counter top, is key to being able to spread out your supplies and effectively wrap your packages. Gather scissors, tape, paper, and ribbon all together so you are ready to design in your available space,” said Holderness.In addition to the traditional supplies, bring together berries, magnolia and tobacco leaves, cotton, feathers, and greenery items from your own yard that can serve as a quick topper to your package.Wrapping PaperWrapping paper is available in all colors, patterns, textures, and weight these days. Some people prefer bright patterns of ornaments, reindeer, and Christmas trees with lavish bows or even the simpler peel and stick ones. Others prefer solid color paper with tied ribbons. Your mood, style, and personality will reflect your paper choices.Pros and designers suggest a more streamlined look with solid colored papers that can be swapped in and out year-round with ribbon colors to match any occasion.”We suggest selecting four or five different colored papers that match well together under the tree,” said Holderness.For solid colors this holiday season select red, green, and white. For patterns think of red and white striped, polka dots, or red and green plaid. There are companies that make double sided wrapping paper. Go for a medium paper weight as thin paper tears easily and makes wrapping around corners difficult.Bow tying and taggingOften the most daunting task and one people find most challenging is tying the perfect bow. Use the internet to find how-to guides and videos, ask a store clerk, or call your mother. Visual demonstration of bow tying is easiest.Satin ribbons make for a smooth bow tying experience. If you are matching solid paper choices, select ribbons in red, green, white, silver or gold. Sequin ribbons add the extra pizazz. Layer ribbons for dimension and additional color combinations.”Gift tags can be creative and show your personality,” said Holderness.Make your own. Take a piece of card stock; design, write, and print your titles; hole punch; tie with a ribbon and voila! Add phrases such as “Drink me,” “Open Christmas Eve,” “Cheers,” and the like to make a tag that’s different.Gift Baskets”Giving food items are popular at the holidays. People like items they can share, offer to guests, or eat themselves. Food baskets are always a fun gift — wrap them in clear cellophane and tie big bow,” said Holderness.Gather your food items into a basket, serving tray, bucket, tote bag, or piece of large pottery. Arrange your items and use tissue or shredded confetti paper to act as cushion and support.”The fun in a gift basket is seeing what is in there. In addition to the food items, you want to include something for the recipient to be surprised by such as a picture frame, coasters, or paper napkins,” said Holderness.This holiday season, stock up on supplies, grab a glass of bubbly, turn on the Christmas tunes, and create a present that pops!