Holiday Wrap Stars 2012

Creative wrapping makes gifts even more special. These holiday gift wrap tips are kind to your wallet and keep things simple enough to let you enjoy all of those Christmas movies in the background.

Dish Towel Wrap

I learned this wrapping technique from my friend Randi after she gave us a bottle of wine wrapped in a lovely and practical kitchen towel. It’s a great way to jazz up that fun bottle of beer for the cousins or your next holiday hostess gift.

  1. Fold towel almost halfway
  2. Insert wine/large beer bottle into the fold
  3. Flop the towel over, and begin to roll it like a burrito
  4. Continue the burrito rolling…
  5. Once you get to the end, fasten it (sneakily) with a safety pin

Add a fun ribbon at the top to finish it off, and give it to someone you like!

Basket Case

Baskets make a great presentation and can be part of the gift itself! I like bread baskets like the one below (World Market) – a great item to have around the house, plus it was perfect for the assortment of items I had in mind. When arranging, place taller or larger items first, then fill in the gaps, working to make sure everything is displayed. Straw makes a pretty, natural alternative to traditional shredded paper filler.

Quick-trim Ribbon

You’ll look like a pro with this quick ribbon technique. Using a wider ribbon (1 inch or more) and a sharp pair of scissors:

  1. Create a few loops, enough to create the number of “fluffs” you want – in this case, three on each side of ribbon
  2. Fold your loops in half
  3. At the fold, snip off each corner
  4. Unfold ribbon
  5. Attach to gift by tying a knot around the center of unfolded ribbon
  6. Arrange to desired shape, and trim ends into a sharp V

Postal Paper + Neon

Why not? First of all, look how much postal paper you get on one roll (Office Depot). Second, the khaki color looks great with a flash of neon ribbon and/or paint. Play around with colors and designs, customizing gifts with your paint brush!

Have fun, Christmas elves!







How to: Serve Wine at Parties

When preparing for get-togethers this holiday season, or any time of year, wine is a safe and expected element for the cocktail list. Refer to these tips in your party-planning process to avoid overlooking bar elements, and set up a smooth vino spread.

Purchase Prep
As a general rule, it’s better to have a little more on-hand than what you need for a party. Take a look at your guest list, and estimate the number of wine drinkers – your guess doesn’t have to be perfect! One bottle of wine fills about four to five glasses, and you can expect an average of three glasses per wine-drinker. After a little math, you’ll be in grape shape!

A Vino Variety
Offer guests options, including both red and white wine. I like to offer at least two whites (a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc) and one red (a Pinot Noir), and more varieties depending on the size of the party. Other popular reds include Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet.

Brands: When in doubt, ask your local wine retailer for recommendations based on the number of guests and your budget. Price doesn’t necessarily dictate best taste.

Cater to Guests
If you know a particular guest will expect her favorite Pinot Grigio, make it happen. If someone loves Prosseco and it’s her birthday, break out a bottle for the special lady!

Chill Out
Be sure white wines begin to chill at least 1-2 hours before guests arrive – make use of any room in the fridge for pre-chilling, rather than wasting ice early. Before guests arrive, place white wines in buckets or tubs piled high with ice.

For Openers
Open a red and white (or two) before guests arrive, so no one has to fuss too much with the opening process. Tools to have nearby: a foil cutter (to eliminate unsightly edges that cause dribbling) and a trusted, easy-to-use wine opener.

Free the Reds!
Once you uncork a red, let it breathe. Set the cork aside in case you need it later on for storage.

At Your Service
For those tending the bar, the general rule is to fill glasses halfway, since it allows guests to swirl and appreciate aromas. Personally, I like to pour a little more than halfway!

Proper Supplies
For a more formal event, have enough red and white wine glasses available for guests. Otherwise, be sure to have wine size-appropriate plastic cups. Cocktail napkins are also a must!

Wishing you safe and successful celebrations throughout this merry season!