I feel as though every other week, I’m wrapping a gift for a child’s birthday party, a hostess, a Baptism, etc, and while I’m not particularly adept at actually folding the paper to wrap the gift (I’m passable at best), I’ve learned a thing or two about presentation over the years, mainly from my mother-in-law, a magical, creative person who makes everything special. She’s taught me that you can make even the smallest token exciting through thoughtful, artful wrapping. One shortcut: great ribbon. Specifically, I keep a full stock of all different widths of white satin ribbon from the brand Offray on hand at all times, and I do not skimp when using it. It’s almost fool-proof: who doesn’t love an enormous white satin bow?! I remember that I wrapped up a baby shower gift with a heavy hand of 2.5″ white satin ribbon, and one of my aunts scrambled to grab it off the floor afterward: “Oh no no, this can’t go to waste. We save this.” Two other habits I’ve cultivated over the years, which I’m sure nearly all of us do: I hang onto good-quality boxes to repurpose (Shopbop has a really great gift box — super durable and great sizes; so much better than the flimsy “shirtboxes” I find myself panic ordering during holiday season) and I also keep all of those little shredded crinkle papers that come with shipments in big baggies in my gift closet. The latter are great for partly filling cello bags or gift baskets, or filling out a gift box with multiple smaller gifts tucked inside.
Other items I always keep on hand:
1 // A big roll of cello wrap as well as multiple sizes of cello bags, including the wine size, which can also be great for gifts like these round puzzles (a great family / host gift!). These 6x10s are good for small items, like luxe beauty products that you want to present a little more dramatically (better than gift wrapping a tiny mascara/lip gloss).
2 // Lots of ribbon in different textures and patterns. My favorite are the velvets — this brand is a particularly good quality, and I love the dusty colors — and always, always lots of widths of double-faced white satin from the brand Offray. Offray was long used (maybe still is?) as the ribbon for Olympic medals — the quality is excellent. If you are local to the D.C. area, there is an Offray Ribbon Outlet out in Hagerstown, MD, and you can get loads of great quality ribbon for cheap. My MIL will sometimes drive out there and stock up for both of us.
4 // Gift tags. I have a weakness for beautiful paper products and have amassed quite the collection, but a few of my favorites are these chinoiserie patterned ones from Mary B Paperie, these from Erin Wallace, and these stickers (!) from Joy Creative Shop. The sticker ones from Joy Creative were a revelation — so easy to line up on a bottom corner versus worry about taping beneath the ribbon. I also have a few specifically for my children, including these and these. (I always put both of my children’s names on them so I can use for either / both.)
5 // Gift wrap. My favorite brand for grift wrap remains Rifle Paper. They run a Black Friday promo and I usually stock up then, and specifically on their rolls of gift wrap. (I prefer rolls to sheets – so much more versatile/practical, especially during this phase of life, when we are often wrapping bulky/bigger toys for children.) The quality and motifs are incredible relative to price — I’ve seen other place charge much, much more for less. It’s not cheap, but you do notice a huge difference; it does not rip as easily and is never semi-sheer. I always have a few rolls of their “Party Animal” pattern for kids, and I love this floral, which works well for adult birthdays, bridal showers, and even baby showers. I am hoping to buy this set of three rolls for holiday over Black Friday!
I also love the Sugar Paper x Target line. They just released a bunch of new items — these are similar in quality to Rifle but about half the price. Their designs aren’t quite as whimsical, but these are GREAT for holiday, when you’re going through a lot of paper — much less expensive. I ordered this blue set for year round gifting (also would work for Hanukkah / general “winter” gifting), but this set of six rolls will probably be making it my way for holidays. I also love their scalloped tissue, sturdy gift boxes, and beautiful gift bags. I just added a bunch of their items to my cart for my next Target order while they’re still in stock.
I recently ordered a few rolls of paper from Joy Creative Shop, too — I like the punchy colors and graphic design. I feel like these designs are perfect for children / tweens / teens.
For specialty gifts, I have some small sheets of gift wrap from St. Frank that are spectacular.
6 // Organization. I keep all my gift tags in clear bins like these, arranged so the cards are facing forwards so you can sort of thumb through them to find the right design easily. (I also keep birthday cards / occasion cards in this card keeper.) I keep scissors, wrap cutter, and tape in another clear bin. Ribbon goes in bigger snap-tight bins (currently BOGO — we use these for everything in our basement). I’ve tried to get on board with gift wrap organizers but honestly just prefer to keep the rolls upright and easy to grab in a bin like this. (I actually use an old Simply Human trashbin we no longer need upstairs.)
A visual board of some of my most-needed items:
01. MARY B PAPERIE ENCLOSURES // 02. ELF GIFT WRAP CUTTER // 03. 8″ FISKARS // 04. OFFRAY RIBBON // 05. RIFLE FLORAL PAPER // 06. SUGAR PAPER X TARGET GIFT BAG // 07. IRIS STORAGE BOX // 08. SCOTCH GIFT WRAP TAPE // 09. VELVET RIBBON // 10. RIFLE PAPER PARTY ANIMAL WRAP // 11. ERIN WALLACE GIFT ENCLOSURES // 12. SUGAR PAPER X TARGET STRIPED WRAP // 13. CRINKLE PAPER // 14. CELLO ROLL // 15. JOY CREATIVE SHOP GIFT STICKERS
A couple of my current go-to gifts:
+Housewarming: Matouk Auberge towels.
+Wedding gift: Staub Cocotte.
+Baby’s First Christmas: Personalized ornament.
+For young children: a guide here!
If you want more Magpie, you can subscribe to my Magpie Email Digest for a weekly roundup of top essays, musings, conversations, and finds!