An unwrapped gift isn’t the worst, but doesn’t a little anticipation make most things better? It really is worth the effort.

“Wrapping heightens the gift recipient’s anticipation and increases the element of surprise,” says gift expert Gisela Jelinek. “It gives a personal touch and that certain something to a present,” she adds.

Silver or white are fashionable colours this year, according to the German Pulp and Paper Association. Black, petrol blue, smoky blue and dark green can provide contrast, for instance as an imprint. The classic colours – red, green and gold – also continue to be used.

To be a little more eco-friendly, Environmental Action Germany (EAG) recommends forgoing glittery and foil-coated wrapping paper.

“Laminated wrapping paper practically cannot be recycled. The paper and the foil melt during the recycling process,” says Philipp Sommer from the group. “It usually ends up in the waste incineration plant.”

His advice is to use paper already in your household as gift wrap.

Those who think newspaper pages are not festive enough or who have not kept wrapping paper from past years can resort to large calendar sheets or old city maps.

But it’s important to make sure you have the right sort of paper. Instead of looking fancy and beautiful, a wrapped gift sometimes ends up lopsided, crooked and covered in creases.

Choose the right one: The strength of the wrapping paper is decisive as to whether the present would look good later.

Choose the right one: The strength of the wrapping paper is decisive as to whether the present would look good later.

The strength of the paper is key, Jelinek says. “To achieve clean, smooth edges and contours, firm material is best suited. Paper that is too thin will quickly tear or crumple,” she says.

If the gift is in a box that is not square or rectangular, Jelinek recommends wrapping it in cardboard packaging, fabric, a paper bag or cloth bag.

If the gift’s box is not firm or there is none, and the present is soft, Jelinek suggests covering it in tissue paper and then gift wrap. This prevents the recipient from feeling what the present is – “the element of surprise is bigger,” she says.

You can also decorate your gift with home-made trinkets, feathers, baubles or straw stars. “The decoration is, so to speak, the handwriting of the person giving the gift,” Jelinek says. “It is particularly nice if it can be re-used” to decorate your home.

EAG recommends using natural materials such as pine cones or branches rather than plastic trinkets. – dpa