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Wrap gifts like a pro

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By Emily Langer
Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Even just a plain white piece . . . with texture is beautiful for me." That's how Jana Svrzo, the manager of Paper Source in Georgetown, sees the world of paper. We spoke recently with Svrzo, 28, to get her insights on gift wrapping. Here are edited excerpts:

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Q: What's new in wrapping?

A: Glitter is a never-ending trend. There are also natural things going on: reds, browns and moss green, [which are] natural Christmas colors. There's a totally different trend, which is paper from India with bright pinks and purples.

How is that different from the styles that were popular five years ago?

Every year people have a mood that they're in. There were years when it was a lot of primary colors and dots, very geometric. I think a lot of people are wanting to do a more traditional holiday experience this year.

Are there any new trends in bows?

A square bow is always a good standard. With bright Indian designs, people are looking for an opposite color. With the more natural trend, people are tying knots, postal-package style. A lot of people forgo bows and do a paper sash. That's a nice way to add some contrast.

What do you say about gift bags vs. wrapping paper?

People who are trying to make a real statement will go the extra mile. But a bag may be dressed up as well.

What's the least expensive way to make a package look pretty?

It's not about how much money you spend. It's about the time and effort. You can take something as simple as a piece of solid paper and use a stamp to make your own pattern. Go through old papers to see if you can piece them together to make a bigger sheet. Take a plain box and, instead of wrapping it completely, just do a strip around it. That will make your paper go a lot farther.

What are your tips for people who are concerned about being green?

A Nepalese paper called lokta is made from a renewable process, and the plant is harvested, not killed. So a lot of these papers are green to begin with. Reuse the paper that you have. Be creative about using the scraps. Make gift tags.

So do your own gifts look amazing?

If I may say so myself, my holiday gifts do look amazing. It's always good to pick a theme; it makes the pile look great. Last year I did a jewel-toned thing: olive green, dark purple, deep turquoise blue. The year before that, I did black-and-white polka-dot and striped paper.

When do you start your wrapping?

It gets to be pretty close to the holidays because I always pick out my paper early, and then I buy the presents.


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