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A gift-wrapping masterclass

We asked one of the elves at Anya’s Grotto for his tips on how to wrap a present to Santa’s standards

3 November 2023

Before the curtain opens on the magical Anya’s Grotto for a second year, we asked one of Anya Hindmarch’s ‘elves’ to share his professional tips and tricks for wrapping presents that meet the high standards of Santa’s workshop. 

Here, he shows us how to perfectly wrap a simple boxed gift, then demonstrates how to wrap a trickier object. Oh, and you’ve probably been measuring your ribbon wrong. 

Meanwhile, Father Christmas will be returning to Pont Street to welcome children of all ages at Anya’s Grotto from November 13, 2023. The immersive experience is an enchanting expedition through a moonlit forest, over crunchy snow, culminating with a story read by Father Christmas himself.

Wrapping a boxed gift

  1. First things first: Put some Christmas music on to get you in the mood. That’s crucial. 

  2. Set up your gift-wrapping station on a flat surface with plenty of space for rolling out the wrapping paper, making sure you have a tape dispenser handy as well as a decent pair of scissors (blunt kitchen or kid’s craft scissors just end in frustration – and that’s not very festive).

  3. To determine how much paper to cut, roll some out and place your gift on the reverse side with the longest edge parallel to the cut end of the paper. Pick up the cut end and draw it over the box, lining the paper up with the far edge of the box that is closest to the wrapping paper tube. You may have to shuffle the box back towards the tube as you do this. Make a little mark with a pencil where the cut edge of the paper touches the base of the box, covering the entire perimeter of the box, then make another mark about 3 inches towards the roll – this will be where you cut, allowing additional wrapping paper for folding and overlapping. But don’t cut yet!

  4. Let the paper fall back to the table and shuffle your present so that it is about two-thirds of the width of the ends away from the edge. Note the distance and make a mark on the other side with a pencil. You should now have an indication of where to cut, with enough paper to sufficiently cover your present. Now you can cut the paper. Be sure to reduce waste by keeping any smaller offcuts aside to make little gift cards and wrap little stocking fillers.

  5. If your gift is fragile, make sure it’s carefully padded inside the box, then place it upside down in the middle of the reverse side of your cut paper and fold one long edge back by about ¾ inch (wrong sides together), this will give you a North Pole-approved tidy finish. Take the unfolded edge and tape it to the gift box itself to keep the gift from moving while you wrap it. 

  6. Wrap the paper tightly around the gift, sticking the folded edge down with tape over your secured edge. Two sides of the box will still have unfolded paper sticking out from the box. 

  7. To secure the side, place the gift with the overlapped paper side facing up on the table. Fold the protruding paper down to lie against the side of the box, pushing the paper in to form trapezoidal shapes at each side – crease these with your fingers. Fold one side over the folded-down top of the paper, towards the centre of the box. Repeat on the other side, securing with tape, if necessary. 

  8. You should now have a triangular shape lying flat on the table. Crease this then fold up and secure with tape. 

  9. Rotate the box on your table, then repeat steps 7 and 8 to secure the other side.

To tie the ribbon

  1. Measure your ribbon by placing your now-wrapped gift on the table, then wrapping the ribbon in a continuous line over three adjacent faces of the box, marking the length of three sides with your thumb, then adding an additional length of the uppermost side to account for the bottom. Repeat for the perpendicular perimeter of the box. Add enough ribbon to form your bow. 
  2. Keeping half your bow allowance in one hand, place that point where you’d like your bow to be, then wrap the ribbon around once, tying or twisting when the ribbon meets to take the ribbon around the perpendicular perimeter, meeting at your starting point. 
  3. Feed both ends under the ribbon from their opposite directions. Make a tie, then use your finger to secure the tie, while making a bow. This is a bit fiddly, but you’ll get elf-perfect in no time. Grosgrain ribbon is easiest to handle and makes for pretty hair ties or handy bookmarks after the big day. 
  4. Firm up your bow and secure it by putting two fingers in the loops and pulling the ends sharply down. Trim the ends at a 45-degree angle to stop them from fraying. 
  5. Pop your perfectly wrapped present under the tree!

For awkwardly shaped gifts

  1. Measure out your paper. For Anya’s festive Orange sequin clutch, we made sure to keep the extra 3 inches to overlap along the length, then kept to the two-thirds-of-the-height rule for the curved sides of the clutch. 

  2. For tricky shapes, once you have secured the paper on the most straightforward side (the top of the bag, in this instance), assess how you can keep the shape of the gift in paper – we find that a couple of pleats at either end will do the trick. Don’t worry if you have to use a bit more tape. 

  3. To add ribbon, you could follow the steps above, or loop the ribbon around two opposite corners like a sling. 

Remember that paper offcuts make great gift cards and be sure to keep a bag for recycling handy on Christmas morning.  


To book tickets for Anya’s Grotto, please visit Tickets are priced at £45 for 1 adult and 1 child (you may add additional adults and children for £35 per person). And, if Father Christmas is all booked at Anya’s Grotto, be sure to catch him at Peter Jones

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