All wrapped up for Christmas with gift wrapping expert Arona Khan

Described in Japan as the world's foremost gift wrapping expert, Arona Khan gives training courses, seminars and demonstrations and provides consultancy services around the UK and overseas. Here Arona shares her tips for perfect gift presentation

IF YOUR gifts are not yet beautifully wrapped beneath the tree, here are some simple and speedy ways to transform a pile of packages into presents that will gladden the hearts of their recipients! First a few top tips:

Remember to take off the price, especially for last minute bargains!   Don’t tape the paper to a gift as it makes wrapping more difficult and can damage the packaging. Not ideal if the recipient would like to change the present!  If you are using a roll of gift wrap, measure how much you need by running a length of curling ribbon around the item. Don’t be a kamikaze curler. Use scissors closed when curling ribbon!

Chances are you have a bottle or two to wrap. The recipient will be able to guess what they are getting so why not just cover the label with a crafty cummerbund?  If you are keen on recycling this is the perfect way to use last year’s gift wrap!  Simply cover the label and tie with ribbon. 

When time is short but you want to keep the contents under wraps use cellophane lined with tissue paper.  Stand the bottle in the middle and gather up the gift wrap before tying at the neck and decorating with a bow.  This is the perfect way to wrap champagne, vases, candles and other awkward shapes.

Cellophane or flexible handmade paper is just what you need for a pair of bottles or jars.  Stand them side by side on the gift wrap then lay them apart sideways – the width of their bases.  Seal the paper around both on the side like a cracker.  Stand them up carefully and secure with tape on the back.  Tie at the top and decorate with a bow. 

A ‘pouch’ is a must when speed, style and simplicity are required. Similar in appearance to a chic clutch bag it is perfect for all sorts of small to medium sized gifts including DVDs, books, jewellery and clothing.  It also offers a smart alternative when wrapping a rectangular box.  For starters try this with a CD or other simple shape.  You will need more paper but less time!  Lay the gift at one end of a sheet of paper and fold over the sides so they meet in the middle. Trim if required.  Fold in the top end of paper before rolling the present forwards two or three times.  Ensure the sides are aligned and trim the end flap before folding it in a ‘V’ shape and tying with ribbon and decorating with a bow. 

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If you tend to mummify rather than wrap your gifts, take a moment to measure how much you need when wrapping a box and cut off the excess.  In addition to having enough paper to go around the gift, plus a little extra for a neat edge, you need paper equal to half the depth when a box has square ends.  The opposite applies for rectangular ends so you will need paper equal to the depth of the box or slightly less.

On those frustrating occasions when there isn’t quite enough gift wrap to go around the present, no matter how much you tug it, a cheat pleat turns a negative into a positive and the pleat becomes a feature in place of a problem. You can use offcuts to great effect mixing both papers and patterns.  To make the pleat, take a second sheet of giftwrap or an offcut and fold over for a neat edge.  Fold again the width you would like the pleat to be.  Turn it to face you and holding the top edge crease to create a pocket into which the main sheet of paper will slide.  Trim off any excess paper and secure both the pleat and the two sheets on the inside before wrapping the present.  

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