Christmas wrapped: Bargain ways to wrap your gifts
Caitríona Redmond bags a few samples of the best bargain ways to wrap your gifts
With 10 days to go until Advent starts, Black Friday being tomorrow week, and this day five weeks being Christmas Eve, there's no getting away from the fact that Christmas is approaching rapidly.
Christmas lights have been turned on in Main Streets up and down the country, and shops have had Christmas products on display for quite some time now. The organised shopper who already has bought all their Christmas gifts is now waiting to wrap them up and put them under the tree.
To me wrapping the gifts and presenting them to the recipients is just as important as selecting the perfect present.
When wrapping your gifts I highly recommend investing in the strongest GSM of paper. GSM refers to the strength of the paper; the stronger your wrapping paper, the less likely it is to tear in transit, and the more professional your parcels look.
A decent roll of sticky tape, and a suitably sharp scissors are also essential tools. Some high-street shops offer a personalised wrapping service, which is often worth checking out.
Perhaps you're not a fan of copious amounts of wrapping paper piling around your ankles like a snowdrift on Christmas Day. If so you're not alone, so I've investigated some alternative gift presentation offerings available in stores now.
Maybe stockings are just not big enough any more, or maybe we are expecting more gifts. Either way, shabby chic Santa sacks are making a big comeback this year. Aldi's festive gift sack (left) priced at €4.99, is a great example of this trend. The sack is stamped to make it look like a Christmas delivery from Santa Claus. It's a decent size too (about the same size as a 10 kg bag of potatoes). See Aldi stores nationwide or aldi.ie.
The Tiger Stores gift sack (above right) is priced at €3, and doesn't have the same festive detailing, but the simple love hearts motif is certainly eye-catching, and you can probably get use out of this during 2016. See Tiger shops nationwide.
Debenhams handstitched gift sack (above left) is a far more pricey option at €32. However, it is beautifully made, layered with smiley gingerbread men, crackers, and Christmas gifts. This is an investment for many Christmases to come. Visit debenhams.ie for more information.
Who doesn't like a stocking stuffed with gifts at the end of the bed or hanging from the mantelpiece on Christmas morning?
If you would like to mark your baby's first Christmas, then Heatons' felt Christmas stocking priced at €3 is a thrifty option. As it is felt, it should store well as a momento for the future. For more information see stores nationwide of heatons.ie.
The perfect stocking for a demanding teenager (or adult) can be found in Next for €12. "Dear Santa I want it all!" proclaims the stocking. I doubt you'd be able to fit it all into the stocking, but it is made out of quality black velvet with sequinned lettering. See Next stores for further information.
Finally if you fancy a splurge, this red knitted Christmas stocking with a pom-pom from Marks & Spencer is rather pretty. At €35, it's made from 100% percent wool, and lined with 100% cotton. Definitely a stocking that you can pack away at the end of Christmas and return to every year. marksandspencer.ie.
Christmas in a bag
This sturdy Christmas tote bag from Harvey Norman is priced at €9. Ideal for carrying a number of boxes and gifts inside, it has zebra striping along the edges, canvas handles and festive detailing. I like that it has zips on top to prevent inquisitive peepers. For more information see Harvey Norman stores nationwide or harveynorman.ie.
Tie A Ribbon
Gifts presented with ribbon and a bow promise something really special inside. You can pick up any number of plain metallic ribbons in supermarkets nationwide, but these special vintage Christmas ribbons (€6.95 each) come from DotComGiftShop. There is a wide range of very pretty and unusual ribbons, wrapping paper, and gift tags in this online store. For more see dotcomgiftshop.com but maybe put your wallet somewhere safe, or set a limit on your spending first!
Budget Dealz Wraps
For wrapping paper on a budget you can't go far wrong with a sheet of discount wrapping paper from Dealz Ireland for €1.49. It's not the strongest option when it comes to selecting your paper, but will do the job grand, and has a very satisfying ripping sound. If going the whole hog with paper, scissors, and sticking tape is not your kind of thing then a festive gift bag for the same price is also available from Dealz. For more information see Dealz stores nationwide or dealz.ie.