Gift Wrapping Tips
Wrapping a gift is about “transforming it into something singular” says Toby Hanson, co-owner of Bell’occhio, a San Francisco store renowned for its beautiful and distinctive take on packaging gifts. The trend in gift wrap is to customize the packaging to suit the gift and the delight the recipient, so for ideas and inspiration, we asked Hanson and some other owners of stylish stores how they create unique presents.
Jan Luck, owner of the Minneapolis fresh flower shop Brown & Greene, is often asked to “jazz up” a gift bought elsewhere. One way to do this, she says, is to top a package with fresh cedar or a tiny bunch of greens such as kale or St. John’s Wort, tying them in place with raffia. Luck also likes to use berries like bittersweet which “can be dried, making a lasting momento.” For an unexpected touch of color on a Christmas gift, she suggests using a pastel-colored flower such as a lisianthus, rose or a star of Bethlehem.
Fragrance fans adore the New York City store Aedes de Venustas with its selection of unusual perfumes so it’s not surprising that owners Robert and Karl embellish packages with a carefully balanced composition of scents; a simple box wrapped in silk ribbon is the starting point. The box is topped with fresh seasonal flowers or greens such as juniper berries “to give it a Christmas outfit” laughs Robert and a stick of Agaria incense is tucked into the ribbon. And when they open the package a final fragrant surprise greets the giftee; the present is sprinkled with Agraria’s Bitter Orange Potpourri.
Bell’occhio’s Toby Hanson says “You can make something look really elegant and sumptuous and luxurious in keeping what you’re giving or play on what you’re giving or make something lavish look humorous.” For the latter she suggests packaging a gift of pearls in an oyster-shaped box or diamond earrings in a box shaped like a lump of coal, then tying the box with bold red or textured silver metallic ribbon. Hanson fills snowball-shaped boxes with fake snow, then nestles the gift inside “so there’s a flutter of snow when the box is opened.” In addition to novelty shaped boxes, Bell’occhio carries custom-made boxes in unusual colors, this years selection includes chocolate brown with white edging and mint green with black edging. Hanson likes to pack a present inside a beautiful box because then “the entire gift is something special.”
Hanson counsels that unique gift wrap does not have to be difficult, or expensive. “If you use cheaper ribbons put them together in way that has charm; like using many belts of ribbon or a fretwork of ribbon on a package to create something the giftee will appreciate and you enjoy wrapping.”