Now you know: The simple, single thing to do to make your gift the most gorgeous

Gift stylist Corinna vanGerwen’s tip for making a present pop, regardless of how crafty you are.

Gift stylist Corinna vanGerwen’s tip for making a present pop, regardless of how crafty you are

A colourful illustration of gift-wrapped presents with faces on them.
(Illustration: Katya Roxas)

As the saying goes, it's the thought that counts. But it doesn't hurt to nail the actual gift part too — to see your lucky giftee absolutely lose it because you picked just the right thing for them (or simply bought the thing they've been dropping hints about all year). The same goes for gift wrapping. The point is the gift itself, but it doesn't hurt to add some wow!

While gift wrapping inspiration abounds — with gorgeous gifts on constant parade in advertising and on Instagram — we wanted to ask an expert: is there a single trick to really making a present pop? If anyone knows it, it's Corinna vanGerwen. As a professional gift stylist, it's literally her job to wrap great-looking gifts, "Instagram-worthy gifts for media and influencers," and hundreds of them.

Of course vanGerwen has go-to tips for making a package look its most (ahem) presentable, including using double-sided tape when possible and making crisp folds for a tidy look. If you're a crafty person, she'd tell you to lean into that — and even make your own embellishments for maximum fun. "Get creative and look beyond wrapping paper. You can find lots of interesting materials at fabric stores and hardware stores," she says.

But when asked, "What's the simple, single thing we can do to make our gifts the most gorgeous?", it comes down to this: "Use good materials," says vanGerwen. "The more beautiful the materials you use, the more gorgeous your gift is going to be." She says she sees people get most frustrated when using materials that tear and tape that won't stick. "If you're using shoddy materials," she says, "no matter what you do, you're going to have a hard time making your gift look good."

For those of us who find wrapping presents a chore, don't forget that those good materials can come a little more ready-to-go too. "I make my living gift wrapping," says vanGerwen, "but if you don't like wrapping, don't stress yourself out about it. Take shortcuts: use a gift box, use a gift bag … just choose nice ones, and take care to place the objects in nicely with tissue and stuff." And her parting advice for all: enjoy the process! "You're giving gifts as a show of appreciation to someone — a symbol of love and care and affection … it's important to just have fun with it."

Yasmin Seneviratne is a producer at CBC Life and the creator of Le Sauce Magazine.

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