OK, we’ll just come out and say it: We can’t help but get a little sentimental around the holidays. There’s just something about watching someone you love open a gift that you put extra care into finding. We asked our Madewell fam from near and far to share their stories of unforgettable gifts—and from an inflatable moose head to a Swiss family vacation, they didn’t disappoint.
This year we like to think we’ve really got your back—from gifts to buy, to what to wear, to how to make present wrapping not totally terrible. We’re sitting down with our team to glean a little pro advice to get you through the season with flying colors (blue being a nonnegotiable, of course). Next up is our friend, model and vintner Michele Ouellet. She divides her time between the East Coast (modeling) and the West (working for her family’s winery, Lorenza). So she knows a thing or two about schlepping from here to there. And not looking like she’s, you know, schlepping.
This year, we like to think we’ve really got your back—from gifts to buy, to what to wear, to how to make present wrapping not totally terrible. We’re sitting down with our team to glean a little pro advice to get you through the season with flying colors (blue being a nonnegotiable, of course). First up is our head designer, Joyce…
Great-looking gift wrap doesn’t have to be a chore. We tapped one of our favorite creatives—the crazy-talented graphic designer/art director/illustrator Lotta Nieminen—to show us how to create clever, customizable wrappings out of the simplest already-in-your-closet supplies. “I love collecting paper and ribbons in different colors,” she says. “Then I mix and match them based on the gift and the person receiving it.” The result? Packaging so beautiful, no one will ever guess you did it at the last minute.
Problem: You Need a Red-Ribbon Alternative
Solution: Use artfully tied twine or ribbon to create a patterned effect on plain paper (bonus: this is the perfect way to repurpose all those paper bags you’ve stashed under the sink—just flip them over to hide any logos). Nieminen created a charming crisscross design (above, right) using our favorite Knot and Bow™ baker’s twine. We love the way she doubled up strands for extra texture.
Problem: You’ve Run Out of Paper
Solution: Layer leftover swatches of paper together for a colorful collage. For her Madewell project, Nieminen contrasted tiles of bright tissue with an unexpected accent of hammered copper (above, center). No worries if you don’t have a little stash of scrap metal handy: “Paper stocks of different textures create a similar effect,” says Nieminen.
Problem: Your Present, Uh, Isn’t the Best
Solution: Compensate for a less-than-perfect gift with blow-them-away-crafty wrapping. The Finnish designer cuts out playful figures (above, left) from regular copy paper (the thin paper is easier to handle than thicker stock) and colors them with marker. Paste down your own artistic efforts using Lotta’s favorite UHU Stic glue. “I’m always covered in glue and bits of paper by the time I’m done,” says Nieminen. “But that’s part of the fun!”
Because it’s the one time of year when it’s totally OK to out-sparkle those twinkle lights, we’ve gathered some of our favorite gleaming and glittering gift ideas. An old-school silver harmonica for the musically (or nostalgically) inclined. Our shimmery Pavé Arrowstack Necklace as that perfect “you shouldn’t have” present. Or a little gem-like set of jacks to give that kid at heart a way to pass those long winter nights. And with that we say, shine on (and gift on).