Posted by Tania Kindersley.
A very quick post as I have been wrapping all day and dashing to the post office with last-minute parcels for the godchildren.
I always find those magazine features about how to achieve an elegant Christmas faintly patronising. Sometimes they are helpful and even inspiring, but sometimes they seem like people just saying Look over here, no here, at my perfect life, and my astounding ability to do twenty-seven chic things with tinsel. Also, you know they were all shot in August. The pieces about how to wrap your presents are even worse, because A) they assume you have got to the age of forty-two without learning how to use wrapping paper, and B) sometimes you wonder if they are not right.
But just in case, like me, you are feeling a bit credit-crunched, and do not like cheap bits of gaudy wrapping with pictures of elves, here is what I consider the perfect solution: lovely old-fashioned brown parcel paper. You can buy huge rolls of it at your local post office for a pound. Get yards of haberdashery ribbon (so much cheaper and nicer than horrid shiny present ribbon) in any variation of satin or velvet or silk, stick on a pretty postcard instead of an over-priced gift card, and there you are. I also sometimes use tissue paper in plain colours.
It's not quite Martha Stewart, no sprigs of holly or artfully placed pine cones, but it makes me happy.