Perfecting the art of giftwrapping for Christmas

PUBLISHED: 00:00 13 November 2018

Complex bow in dramatic white

Complex bow in dramatic white


Whether we like it or not, Christmas is just around the corner and that means hours wrestling with wrapping paper. But we might have a solution.

Mairita surrounded by gorgeous giftsMairita surrounded by gorgeous gifts

Sticky tape on the dog, carefully cut paper that is just a fraction too small, the design fault of possessing only two thumbs and the inevitable regret at ever thinking that a football would make a good gift. These are just some of the things that can make Christmas gift wrapping a nightmare.

But help is at hand, in the shape of Mairita Forsu, a professional gift wrapper who owns Bijourious Luxury Gift Wrapping Service at Failsworth near Oldham.

‘It’s a pet hate for many but I adore it. It’s creative, fun and brings happiness – what’s not to love! I professionally wrap all year round, although Christmas is always particularly busy,’ says 36-year-old Mairita, who trained as a gift wrap specialist in her native Latvia, before coming to England 17 years ago.

As gift wrapping is taken very seriously in her country – it’s almost a national sport – she was astonished to find that it wasn’t top of our priority list in England.

Plain brown paper makes a super base for colourful ribbonsPlain brown paper makes a super base for colourful ribbons

‘People would say that the best way to give a gift was with affection, the wrap shouldn’t matter – and, of course, occasionally that’s true. Who doesn’t treasure a painstakingly wrapped present, covered in Sellotape, from a child! But for adults, why not affectionate gift that the giver cares enough about to make it look gorgeous, a treat for the eye,’ says Mairita.

More and more people agree and Mairita is asked to travel across the UK spreading her skills. ‘Some clients prefer home visits, as they want their gifts to co-ordinate with the Christmas tree so that on Christmas morning, everything looks enchantingly sophisticated, with everyone thrilled before the first gift is even opened,’ she says.

Mairita also sees clients at her studio, which is stuffed full of paper and accessories from peacock feathers and vintage typewriters to tiny golden coaches.

Some might see it as an extravagance - although prices start at just £3.75 for a single item – and it doesn’t have to be an expensive gift. A local lady regularly has a tin of Christmas chocolates wrapped.

Dramatic wrapping for a statement giftDramatic wrapping for a statement gift

‘Why not? Yes, she could have spent a little extra on buying more expensive chocolates but she would rather the recipient had something luxuriously stunning and unique to enjoy for days before opening,’ says Mairita, who has also wrapped jewellery, including engagement rings worth tens of thousands of pounds.

But even Mairita has been faced with more challenging items. ‘Yes, I have had the football and the bike but there are two ways to deal with the gift that is difficult to disguise,’ she says. ‘Either pop it in a box or embrace the fact that it can’t be disguised! I was once asked to wrap an enormous rocking horse, complete with a very lush mane and tail.

‘Instead of using paper, I covered it all over in my hand crafted luxury ribbons and bows. It was still clear what it was but that didn’t matter as it still looked extra special and the client was delighted.

‘I’ve done similar things with cars using bows and ribbons, sometimes decorating the exterior, sometimes the interior and sometimes both. It looks glamorous without being clumsy.’

Making sure parcel has neat sharp endsMaking sure parcel has neat sharp ends

Businesses also ask her to wrap corporate gifts for clients but, increasingly, Mairita has found that her services are themselves the present! ‘Instead of giving employees sweets or alcohol at Christmas, they tell them to bring their Christmas shopping and I’ll do the wrapping. They love it – one job less. I’m sure they wouldn’t pretend the handiwork is theirs!’

Mairita runs courses in wrapping and she has taught her partner, Graham, and son Lucas how to do it. ‘They’re hugely supportive, making sure I have a steady supply of mince pies when I’m busy. And they know I’d prefer costume jewellery beautifully presented than a diamond ring in a gift bag...’

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