A Beginner's Guide to Wrapping Christmas Presents

Updated June 23, 2021
Woman holding a gift box

Choosing a great Christmas gift is essential, but how you wrap that present also matters. It's important to create a beautiful presentation for your gift; it should be one that shows the recipient just how much you care about them. In addition, a great wrapping job enhances the experience of receiving a Christmas present.

What You Need to Get Wrapping

Unless you come across that strangely shaped present, then wrapping your presents isn't difficult. However, before you dive right into wrapping, you need to make sure you have the right tools. And no, that doesn't mean an Allen wrench. Well, unless, of course, you are wrapping one. Instead, you need the wrapping basics like:

  • Wrapping paper
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • Ribbons and other embellishments
  • Gift tag
  • Pen for writing on the tag

How to Wrap a Gift Step-by-Step

Know that you've got your tools at the ready; it's time to get to it. You can't wrap your presents on your lap. So you need a clean, flat surface on which to work. Your dining room table or kitchen counter will be perfect. You can also wrap gifts on a bed or the floor, but this can get a little awkward. Now that you're ready, follow these simple steps.


Step 1: Measure Out Your Paper

Begin by measuring out the proper amount of paper for your gift. To do this, unwind some paper from the roll and place your gift face-down in the center. Examine all the sides of your paper to ensure you will have enough to wrap it completely around the present. Next, cut the paper wide enough to accommodate the present and the height on each end. For the length, you'll need to make sure you can wrap the paper all the way around the gift with plenty of room to overlap.

measuring paper

Step 2: Fold the Paper Over

Adjust the gift, so it is in the center of the paper. Bring one end of the paper up and tape it to the bottom of the present to hold it while you work. Pull the present down, so the paper is taut.

wrapping gift

Step 3: Join Edges of Paper and Tape

Next, fold over the other end of the paper to hide the raw edge. Pull the folded edge taut and bring it down to meet the present. Tape it in place. You may need to tape in more than one location along the edge.

Woman's hands wrapping christmas gifts

Step 4: Fold the Edges

Turn the present, so one open end is facing you. Fold the paper down to cover the end of the present and crease the area you folded. Next, crease each corner. Finally, fold each corner in toward the center, creasing it along the edge.

wrapping gift 2

Step 5: Fold Up the Bottom and Tape

Fold up the remaining raw edge of the paper (the part touching the work surface). Then fold this entire part up against the end of the package. Tape it securely.

Man Wrapping Christmas Present

Step 6: Fold Other Corner

Crease all the corners of the gift. Make sure to tape these in place securely.

Blue Present

Step 7: Finish Off Your Present

Now that you've got it wrapped, it's time to add the finishing touches. First, add a ribbon or a premade bow to your present. Next, write out a gift tag and tape it to the present. And, you're done!

How to Wrap a Gift Without a Box

Unfortunately, not every Christmas gift comes with a square or rectangular box. Each Christmas, you'll encounter plenty of items that have awkward or uneven shapes. Keep these tips in mind for wrapping this type of present.

Start at the Biggest End

Start wrapping the larger end of toys and other items where one side is bigger than the other.

  1. Cut the paper as if you were going to accommodate a gift that was uniformly the larger width or length.
  2. When you've wrapped the larger end, you can make subtle pleats in the paper to make it fit the narrower part.
  3. This results in a neat-looking package without any crooked areas.

Consider a Gift Bag

If you're dealing with something complicated to wrap, a basic gift bag may be the best answer.

  1. Choose a bag that is slightly larger than your gift in every dimension. That way, your present won't rattle around in the bag or strain the sides.
  2. Wrap your gift in a few sheets of tissue paper and slide it into the bag.
  3. Then add more tissue paper to the top of the gift and fluff.
    Gift Christmas Bag

Use an Oversized Bag for Big Gifts

In some cases, a gift is bigger than a normal roll of wrapping paper can accommodate. So, you might need a big bag instead.

  1. Choose an oversized gift bag, available in the wrapping paper section of most stores.
  2. Make sure you purchase a bag that will fit your entire gift easily and that the bag is opaque.
  3. Add ribbons to make it pretty.

How to Wrap Small Gifts With Fabric

Wrapping paper isn't always the best material for awkwardly shaped gifts because of its stiff texture. You can also use festive holiday fabric, which you can find at most craft stores.

  1. Just use shears to trim the raw edges of the fabric.
  2. Place the gift in the center.
  3. Wrap the fabric around the gift securely.
  4. Tie it up with a ribbon on both ends. (It should look like a wrapped piece of candy.)

Make a Gift Basket

You may encounter a present with lots of smaller elements or accessories. In this instance, consider creating a gift basket.

  1. Buy a basket that is slightly larger than your items.
  2. Add tissue paper to the bottom of the basket
  3. Stack your items in a visually pleasing way.
  4. Wrap the entire basket in colored or clear cellophane or fabric.

Creative Ways to Wrap a Gift

You've got the basic steps for wrapping Christmas presents down to a science. Now, it's time to look at how to get creative. Remember, the presentation of your gift is important. Therefore, you might try a few Christmas gift wrap ideas like adding a decorative ribbon, creating crafty embellishments, or coordinating the theme of all your presents.

Use Unique Containers

Instead of using wrapping paper, you can also present your gift in a unique container. This might be an antique basket, beautiful hat box, spectacular textile, or anything else that is lovely and special. In this case, the wrapping becomes part of the gift itself.

Add Eye-Catching Gift Toppers

Another great way to make your gift even lovelier is to decorate it with gift toppers. These may be crafty gift embellishments you make yourself, or they may be floral picks, Christmas ornaments, or small toys and other little gifts. Tying one of these special toppers onto your gift will add an eye-catching appeal.

Women wrapping Christmas gifts at home

Embellish With Special Ribbons

The right ribbon or bow can make your present sparkle. For impressive results, choose ribbons made of fabrics like velvet or satin, which are available at your craft store. Tulle also lends an airy beauty to your Christmas gifts, and you can get it in many Christmas colors, such as red, green, silver, gold, or white.

Christmas gift with gold ribbon

Creating the Perfect Present

No matter what type of paper, ribbon, and other embellishments you choose, putting the time into a neat wrapping job will make your gift even more special. Everyone loves to receive a pretty present.

A Beginner's Guide to Wrapping Christmas Presents