The Laundry Guy is best known for his tips on keeping clothes clean. But on his HGTV show, Patric Richardson is also known for doling out tips for being a better party host and guest, and for adding a layer of gentility and Southern charm to just about anything he does. His approach keeps holiday gatherings pleasant, civil and fun. 

As we enter into the season of giving, he shares five ideas for elevating gift wrapping. "It takes two minutes to wrap a present, and it makes it so much more fun to open than taking something out of a gift bag," Richardson says.

1. Commit and go big

If you decide to wrap with paper this year, buy a big roll like the retail stores use, Richardson recommends. Then use it for all your gifts, and just change out the ribbon. "I use craft paper to wrap presents in, and I buy a giant roll," Richardson says. "I love it."

2. Mix and match

If you decide paper's not your thing this year, think about the gift you're giving, or the recipient, or you, and from there custom select wrapping material. Giving a kitchen item? Wrap it in a tea towel. Giving a pair of gloves or a sweater? Wrap it in a scarf. Read the newspaper regularly? Use its daily pages or the comics to wrap books and toys.

3. Accentuate sustainably

"I save ribbon, iron it and re-use it. I'm one of those," Richardson confesses. He also thinks creatively about nontraditional materials that can act as ribbon. There's raffia, of course. And one year, when Richardson was wrapping everything in green paper, he realized the string he uses to hold up tomato plants looked fabulous with the paper. Think about twine, string, shoelaces and silky scarves.

4. Tie one on

Kids will get a kick out of an all-day sucker, candy cane or Pez dispenser tied to their packages. Richardson thinks adults should get in on the fun, too. This year, he's obsessed with cookie cutters and is gathering various shapes to be his signature substitute for gift cards. "My sister-in-law loves roses, so I have a rose cookie cutter for her. And a deer trophy for my father-in-law." Gifts can get a little predictable for the older crowd, so thinking through something that adds kick shows you wanted to provide a jolt of joy.

5. Soft or naked

Consider, too, throwing back to the 1940s and '50s, when gifts were often simply folded into tissue paper and handed to the recipient. This technique of soft packing is a fairly green alternative, Richardson says. Or, consider not wrapping at all. In many households, Santa never wraps, and that's how kids know gifts are from the jolly old elf. Likewise, when you show up with a gift, consider pulling it out of a sack or bag unwrapped. That lets everyone focus more fully on the acts of giving and receiving — the very interaction that speaks to the love celebrated in winter holidays.


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