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"Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness."-Richard Bach


If I were rich I would totally pull a Candy Spelling and build a giftwrapping room in my mansion. Except unlike Candy Spelling, my house would have some class and it would be in the south of France. It would be an understatement if I were to say that I love giftwrapping more than life itself. I love everything about it… The wrapping paper, the ribbon, the tape, the tissue, the gift cards everything! If I do say so myself I am a giftwrapping expert. My very first real job in the entire world when I was 18 years old was at Ralph Lauren Beverly Hills. My job? Gift wrapper! So obviously, I was trained by the very best. :-)


Grace and I have been known to during the holidays to watch giftwrapping competitions. Swear. She would obviously never do this with me now. She would rather die. We did this when invisible tape first came out and it was all the rage. At my antique shop, Circa, we were dedicated to giftwrapping. Our signature giftwrapping was black lacquered paper, a fig green and black striped ribbon and a wax seal. For the holidays I would add a sublime black “Joyeux Noël” ribbon. Gorge. There is a shop in Santa Barbara called Upstairs at Pierre Lafond. Their giftwrap was fantastic. Kraft paper, colorful Santa Barbara colored ribbon and always five sprigs of dried lavender. Whenever we would be going to a party, I would make my husband go upstairs to the shop to buy a hostess gift. He would say, “What do you want me to buy?” I would say, “I don’t care, just get it gift wrapped!” My other favorite giftwrap is from Assouline Publishing. They use white glossy paper with an ox blood wax seal. Minimal and chic.

Giftwrap paper is almost becoming like wallpaper. There are so many choices, nowadays. Super clever choices. My favorite companies right now for giftwrapping paper are Rifle Paper Co., John Derian, Norman’s Printery and Mr Boddington's Studio. Look look look…

There is a great video on the Quintessence blog with SusannaSalk interviewing John Derian about all of his fabulous giftwrapping papers! Watch it HERE.

Ribbon, ribbon, ribbon! The icing on the cake. This is where you can get rather creative. The company I always turn to for ribbon is called Midori. Take a look at their ribbon and some other clever choices…

Wax seals can go both ways. You can do it by hand by melting the wax and using your own stamp. Nowadays you can use a hot glue gun with colored wax to speed up the process. That’s cool, but if you are doing a lot of gifts and you don’t have time to individually melt each seal by hand there is a solution! Custom-made wax seal stickers! They are exactly like the real thing. We used these for our store and I thought they were genius. The company is called

Do you remember when all we had was ugly visible scotch tape to tape up the packages? So 1970s! Well thank God for modern-day technology because life is better now. Now we have invisible tape, Japanese Washi tape and printed tape. A great company for this is called Cute Tape. Take a look.

The best advice I can give for giftwrapping is to get organized. Get all your papers together, use the proper scissors, have lots of tape handy etc. Supplies are everything. Check out this Martha Stewart giftwrapping hutch from Home Depot. Not bad. I like the green color that it comes in. I would buy this only if I couldn’t afford my custom giftwrapping room of course.


I definitely recommend checking out my Have Some Decorum Giftwrapping Pinterest board HERE and also my Have Some Decorum Wrapping Paper And Supplies Pinterest board HERE. There are some great ideas and great sources to get ready for the upcoming holidays! In the spirit of my new Parisian life, I think this year for Christmas, I will do an artist/painter theme for all of the gifts. Look look look.


So that’s it for The Art of Entertaining for now. Let’s get back to interior decorating and then let’s focus on the fall season and the holidays.

*Something you don’t know about me? I have never done drugs. Never even experimented. Not once. Not ever. Not in high school, not in college, not at any reggae concert, never ever ever. I think I deserve a medal for this because I grew up in Malibu for God’s sake! I could legally get a prescription for marijuana but I refuse to because I’m scared of marijuana. I’m scared of all drugs. Including my own medication, NyQuil, aspirin, anything over-the-counter and all prescriptions. My husband tricks me/drugs me without my knowledge to get me to take my medicine. I will say to him, “Why does this yogurt taste funny?” He always feigns innocence but I know. I know the truth. My father always accuses me of doing drugs. Swear to God. We were in Hawaii a few years ago after I was diagnosed with ALS and at the serene oceanfront lunch table he says to me, “Ellie, are you still doing drugs?”

A toute!


  1. I LOVE wrapping gifts! The wrap is part of the gift. I am the only person I know who still prefers to use a gift wrapped box rather than gift bags. Also real ribbons! I also like to use a wax seal on envelopes that are hand delivered.

  2. Ellie,
    I adore gift wrapping and am delighted to know that you are a woman after my own heart.
    Love Jenny over at Everyday Occasions who sells the gorgeous ribbons and things to use to create superb touches to gift wrapping.
    It does seem that everyone has or should have tried some sort of drug in our culture so it is a good thing when one stands true and decides to go their own way. Good on you dearie.

  3. I too adore to wrap presses!I tend to use tulle and ivy a lot.........
    Love the artist motif you plan on using for CHRISTMAS!The sticker SEALS sound WONDERFUL I will dash right over to their site after I finish up with you here.So, your first job was at RALPHIES!I just sent you an email this AM about eating there!Kinda FUN.I have a Niece who works in the sweater design department in NY for him too.AS for drugs...........GOOD FOR YOU!THAT took courage in your neck of the woods I am certain...........ME TOO.....NO DRUGS EVER.XO

  4. I used to have a gift wrapping business years ago when I lived in LA but people just don't get how much it costs to wrap a gift beautifully and I am an unapologetic snob when it comes to gift wrap and ribbons. I love delicious ribbon and gorgeous paper so much I would wrap for free just to be around the stuff. (Never said I was a good businesswoman.) AND I don't use tape unless a project really absolutely cannot be done without it--but say, the basic shirt box, never sees a stitch of tape. But I had no idea there were other wrapping nerds like me--well, besides Ms Spelling but really yes, you said it all. Thanks for sharing all your sources. Who knew!

  5. My favourite new word/concept from today's Art of - Gift Wrapping Hutch! No wonder Candy Spelling had to have a room, there's no way she would have countenanced a hutch! However much as I liked the word I will never be able to justify having such an item as I am terrible at wrap. I worked in Harrods, I gift wrapped a book for a customer, he unwrapped it and gave the wrap back saying he could do better at home! He was right and it was a free service - but still!!
    However I love Rifle Paper and John Derian, and enjoyed the video. I will wonder at the skill and devotion of this art by others, while continuing to bunch my ends and tear the tape with my teeth!

  6. Thanks for the mention Ellie! I have serious room envy for my best friend's skylight lit attic crafts room where she has a fabulous wrapping station you would love!

  7. Of course you like to gift wrap! I love it as well. It's just like designing pillows! But have to admit, sometimes people get their gifts late because I'm such a dysfunctional perfectionist I haven't found the right wrap for them. I love to buy antique or vintage ribbons when I'm looking for textiles…sometimes the ribbon costs more than the gift! But I save those for the people who would get excited about it:)

  8. I LOVE giftwrapping too and when I saw my friends room just for gift wrapping I gasped….it is wonderful. I love wax seals too, so so so, well, just "it" on a package! I am always keeping old ribbons from sample Lou bra price tags, ha ha ha….finding some way to use them…merci for all the places to seek out! When I have nothing, I grab newspaper, sometimes the ink gets on my hands, but it is better than nothing when I am in need fast….typically I do have some ribbon laying around….I keep every bag I ever got from stores…they are so handy, let my friends take home food in them, lol…..hilarious XO

  9. Midori. The best. Something you don't know about me? I'm a ribbon hoarder. Bought sublime velvet ribbons in Tokyo 15 years ago but have never known anyone who deserved them on their gifts. Until now. I'd use deep green velvet ribbon by the yard for you.