Put your best present forward with these tips from a gift-wrapping expert

At her own house, The Queen Bee owner Michelle Beaubouef uses a classic and sophisticated color palette for her Christmas presents so they match her décor. Photo by Melissa Oivanki.

Buying gifts for the holiday season can be fun, but wrapping them … maybe less so. We all aspire to achieve the perfectly wrapped presents we see on Pinterest, but we have to admit that it’s harder than it looks. Not for The Queen Bee owner Michelle Beauboeuf, though, who wraps countless gifts during the holiday season through her gift and stationery shop.

Before wrapping any present, Beaubouef stresses the importance of acquiring the essentials. Naturally, it’s important to have a pair of scissors, an adhesive and wrapping materials to begin with, though Beaubouef doesn’t cut corners—pun intended—when it comes to choosing high-quality options. For her gift-wrapping classes held in store, for example, Beaubouef teaches what she refers to as “the trinity” of wrapping: high-quality paper, a bow or embellishment (including The Queen Bee’s signature bow taught in classes), and a personalized gift tag. Other small details can make all the difference, too.

“Your paper-cutting scissors should not be the same that you used to cut a ribbon,” says Beaubouef, noting that using the same pair for multiple textures could dull the scissors and lead to jagged edges on ribbons and wrapping paper. And as for the wrapping paper itself, opt for thicker options that will crease cleanly and without tears. Some of her favorites include good ol’ Scotch transparent tape and brands like Paper Source, Rifle Paper Co. and Midori for wrapping paper, though she also suggests checking out Paper Source’s “stone wrapping paper” for an eco-friendly twist.

“It’s a nontoxic biodegradable alternative to paper,” she says. “Everyone who buys it comes back and tells how great it is. It’s bendy like plastic, but cuts super smooth and is more forgiving. It really speeds up the wrapping process and is just such a game-changer.”

Other eco-friendly options include opting for cards without plastic sleeves, though some companies, like Seedlings, manufacture fully plantable cards made out of recycled paper.

“There are little seeds in them, which allows you to plant the paper in the ground,” says Beaubouef. “It’s really cool. We’ve definitely been seeing a shift in the industry toward earth-friendly options for wrapping.”

 

After wrapping gifts for years, Beaubouef has narrowed gift wrapping down to just a few steps, no matter the shape or size of the gift. If you’re wrapping something that needs to go inside a box, for example, start by ensuring that the box you choose isn’t too large. No one wants their gift rattling around in there and potentially breaking.

Then, when choosing which wrapping materials, don’t be afraid to mix things up when getting ready to put presents under the tree. “I would mix up some solids and some patterns, and even some textures,” says Beaubouef. “Midori has some beautiful, super-textured paper with gold foil. You can throw in some flat, solid-colored paper and some metallics. We have a sample wall in the store where you can see papers and ribbons next to each other. You don’t need several rolls—just three to four different styles can give a cohesive, well-planned look.”

Oddly shaped gifts can have their own rules, too, she says, though they’re still fairly simple. Take a gift basket, for example. “Just put some crinkled paper shreds or tissue to fill the bottom, elevate the items on a box or something to make it look more substantial, and then tie it up in a cellophane bag with a beautiful bow,” Beaubouef explains.

Gift-wrapping classes for this season are currently sold out, but Beaubouef still encourages those interested to join the waitlist by calling (225) 924-3530 in case spots open. 

In the meantime, to learn more about The Queen Bee and the shop’s upcoming classes, follow the store on Instagram at @thequeenbeebatonrouge.