Christmas is on the horizon and before we know what has hit us it will be here again. Frantic times of present buying, card writing, family entertaining and general mayhem. It is a fun time, but it can also be very stressful and trying with not nearly enough time to do all the things that you need to do.

One of the fiddliest chores that needs doing is wrapping gifts, which is something that is necessary, but which can be incredibly time-consuming. Some people are really good at wrapping while for others it is an almost impossible task. For those that fall into the latter category, here are a few simple tips to help make the wrapping process a little easier.

Simple shapes work best

For those who are not overly gifted with the wrapping paper and sticky-tape, the more awkward the shape of the gift, the more impossible it is to wrap. To simplify matters, take the unwieldly gift and put it into something that is easier to work with. You can use a shoe box or buy clear gift boxes; whatever it is that fits the present comfortably. Once packaged properly you will not only find the item easier to wrap, you will also ensure that you create an air of mystery with the gift itself – it won’t immediately be identifiable when picked up from under the tree.

Pre-cut the sticky-tape

This is a no-brainer and probably the most elementary tip when it comes to gift wrapping. Surprisingly though many people don’t think to do it. Sticky tape can be your friend just as much as it can be your enemy. If you don’t use it right the end always disappears, or it rolls onto the floor. It is never there when you need it. So, before you begin wrapping a gift, cut several strips of sticky-tape and adhere them to the table or something conveniently located. That way, once the paper has been cut and folded, the actual act of sticking it all together is easy.

Pick the right paper

Some paper is much, much easier to use than others. Foil paper looks great, it’s shiny and sparkly under the tree and it tends to stand out and say, “I’m a bit special…” But it is also very hard to work with. If you are wrapping novice foil paper is best left well alone. Leave that for the experts who will relish the challenge and focus on getting it right with more conventional packaging.

Make your own cards

Inevitably one of the by-products of a good session of gift-wrapping is off-cuts. It almost goes without saying that there will be lots of loose pieces of paper scattered around by the time your session has come to an end. A great way to save some money and make it look like you have planned ahead, is to use these off cuts as cards.

Cut them into appropriate shapes, flip them over and write on the reverse side and attach them to the gifts. It is quick and easy, and it looks good. And it will save you plenty on buying gift tags, especially if you have a big family and lots of people that you are gifting to.