a pile of beautifully wrapped presents under the tree is all part of the magic of christmas. we keep ours simple, often using plain brown or red paper and string or ribbon in plain contrasting colours. rubber stamps for labels are a brilliant way of disguising handwriting from enquiring minds.
homemade decorations add charm, and making them together with the family is a good way to occupy excited children on the run up to christmas. one of our favourites is baked dough. you can stamp into dough before it’s cooked – i have a special set of deep stamps for this, and it’s a fun activity to bake, roll, stamp and cut the dough with christmas-shape cookie cutters.
we always like to bring a bit of nature inside, and use branches, twigs and greenery to hang decorations on in the house. bright red holly berries are the best, but even if you can’t find these, a sprig of greenery tied on a simple brown paper parcel adds just the right amount of embellishment.
tricky shapes can be popped in a bag and tied with a ribbon. one year we found coffee sacks from colombia, and when christmas was over we used them for sack races!
stripy bags are a quick fix for small gifts – and brilliant for christmas stockings. you can pick a different colour for each child, pop the gift inside, fold and seal with a piece of stripy tape or a sticker.
and finally, a winning way to finish a present is to stick a little something on the outside. a tiny decoration for the tree, a gold chocolate coin or a stripy candy cane all adds to the thrill and excitement on the big day.