A woman wrapping gifts

Krasimira Dagneva, retail manager, Harrods, London

Wrapping adds another dimension to the gift experience. It is a way of expressing your creativity and personality and can show, through exquisite paper, ribbon and embellishments, that a great deal of thought has gone into the process. Even a present personally wrapped in plain brown paper shows more effort than a manufactured gift bag.

Debbie Holt and Janemarie Mazoudier, co-owners of concierge service Urban Angels, London

For corporate clients, a crisp, uniform look is important, with colours often supporting a brand, whereas private individuals often look for a personal embellishment. We always try to ask our clients about who the gift is for so that we can really personalise it. We once had to do a special wedding gift for a client who had a love of diving, so we embellished with tiny silver charms reflecting the sea.


Harrods: Some of the more interestingly shaped gifts we have wrapped include a rocking horse and even a helicopter. For the latter, more than 600 metres of wrapping paper were used. In the run-up to Christmas we wrap about 400 presents a day and we’ve employed 20 extra members of staff to help deal with the demand.

Urban Angels: The most extravagant request we’ve had was for us to fly out to wrap gifts in the Middle East so that the bows would not be crushed in transit.

The largest gift we’ve been asked to wrap is a Louis Vuitton trunk – and the request was to disguise the gift. It was a last-minute purchase and the client wanted it delivered to her house for her husband’s surprise birthday party later that evening, so we had time pressure as well. We ended up wrapping it with cotton batting and then stitching it into a silk fabric, finished with corset-style criss-cross leather cord to hold the weight.


Harrods: Our customers gravitate towards the colours traditionally associated with Christmas such as red, green, mulberry and gold, though we have noticed influences from trends in fashion such as polka dot, crocodile print and monochrome patterns.

Urban Angels: Neon is making a comeback, mixed with a clashing colour of bold adhesive tape. This year we are using some vintage brooches and buckles, with hand-dyed ribbons. And there are many alternatives to gift-wrapping paper. We have used vintage silk scarves, brightly coloured tulle, stiff netting and vintage paper doilies. You could also try a black kraft bag and write on it in white chalk. For a woman’s gift, we would often use a double satin or satin wire-edged ribbon, whereas for a man we would use a grosgrain ribbon. We can also spray scent on to the wrapping to add a more manly or feminine touch to the gift.


Harrods: Instead of adhesive tape, which is visible against most papers, you can use double-sided tape to give a smoother finish on the edges. Double-sided tape is also perfect for neatly attaching any embellishments to the present. And don’t forget boxes – they can make easy work of unusual shapes and they look great with any embellishments.

Urban Angels: If you don’t have a box and have an awkward shape, make a bag or large envelope from wrapping paper – this method helps us when we have to wrap a ball or Frisbee, for instance. Sometimes we deal with unexpected gifts: one customer spent a lot of time working with us on his girlfriend’s favourite colours, materials and choice of embellishment to ensure the wrapping was exquisite – and the gifts were two litres of wall paint, a bottle of red wine and a CD. We would have preferred to keep the presents wrapped.;

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