Pondering where to pick up gifts for your loved ones this year? Let our editors guide you with their pick of the best shops, emporiums and design stores on the most inviting shopping streets around the globe.
As the year comes to an end and a new one begins, ringing in the festive season, we’re taking you on a whirlwind tour around some of the world’s best retail cities, shopping streets and independent stores, from Budapest to Tokyo. These are places our editors have stopped in and shopped at on their myriad reporting trips; places to explore and marvel at. You’ll find a fantastic new bookshop in Brooklyn, a pint-sized gem of a home-goods shop in Tokyo, a destination for local design in Mexico City and a family-run antiques store in Lisbon.
We’ll show you the finest neighbourhoods to visit and roads to linger on. After all, finding the perfect gift is just as much about discovering a new part of town and stepping inside a shop that you’ve never spotted before as it is about selecting that well-made present to bring home. Let the following pages be an inspiration for your Christmas wishlist and a shopping guide that will serve you all year round.
From department stores to one-of-a-kind specialists, shopping in Tokyo is so diverse that it can leave you feeling spoilt for choice. Explore our pick of under-the-radar finds from our Tokyo bureau.
What to buy:
Hoek: This hardware and design shop is tucked away inside a retro apartment building in Harajuku. The concise inventory includes tableware and leather goods, along with jewellery, toys and vintage finds that are made to last.Gift suggestion: Ryota Nishimoto’s playful wooden popsicles and biscuits.502 Chisan Mansion Harajaku, 2-33-16 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; hoek.jp
Itoya: Wrapping stylists and paper concierges are among the specialists at Itoya’s flagship store in Ginza. This stationery wonderland includes floors dedicated to paper, paint, pens and more.Gift suggestion: Fountain pens and fine writing tools for fans of the written word.2-7-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku; ito-ya.co.jp
Higashiya Man Marunouchi: Find Shinichiro Ogata’s considered approach to design at the newest Higashiya Man shop and tea salon, offering Japanese tea, from sencha to hojicha, craft tableware and wagashi (Japanese confectionery).Gift suggestion: Immaculately packaged treats including senbei, macarons and more.1-4-5 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku; higashiya.com
Akomeya: Akomeya’s flagship includes a grocery shop and a section dedicated to rice, as well as items for cooking, entertaining and everyday life.Gift suggestion: Gourmet ingredients and regional condiments, ideal for washoku (Japanese food) afficionados.2-2-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku; akomeya.jp
Waltz: Cassette tapes, boomboxes and records can be found in abundance at this neighbourhood music shop that celebrates analogue media.Gift suggestion: Vintage Sony Walkman paired with a classic album from a past era.4-15-5 Nakameguro, Meguro-ku; waltz-store.co.jp
Neutralworks Tokyo: This multi-brand sports shop carries functional clothing from the likes of The North Face and Goldwin, suited to both active pursuits and everyday life, providing high performance with an understated look.Gift suggestion: Comfortable merino wool items from New Zealand brand Icebreaker.2-7-22 Kita Aoyama, Minato-ku; goldwin.co.jp/neutralworks
Towel Shop 441: The city of Imabari by the Seto Inland Sea is renowned for its production of high-quality towels. One local manufacturer, Yoshii Towel, is behind this shop in Aoyama, which presents a creative take on the bathroom staple.Gift suggestion: The 5 Trees collection, designed by Maho Ukai in gently textured cotton.5-4-44 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku; towelshop441.jp
Musubi: When it comes to wrapping a small gift, wine bottle or something special, the humble furoshiki provides a smart solution. Musubi specialises in these wrapping cloths, offering an abundance of designs in a range of useful sizes.Gift suggestion: Colourful floral patterns by the late nihonga painter Takehisa Yumeji.2-31-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; musubi-furoshiki.com
Fennica: Director Terry Ellis has assembled an impressive mix of ceramics, craft wares and furniture, intermingled with fashion collaborations at the International Gallery Beams.Gift suggestion: Handwoven wool scarves and throws from Hokkaido.2F, 3-25-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; beams.co.jp
Mizusai: Taking its name from a mystical beast, Mizusai is a Kuramae-based shop and gallery with an eclectic selection of Japanese crafts. Ceramics are the main attraction and range from bold artwork to functional vases, cups and bowls.Gift suggestion: White porcelain tableware from Gifu-based potter Tsutomu Takeshita.3F, 1-6-2 Misuji, Taito-ku; mizusai.jp
Husband-and-wife team Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey want their Heath Ceramics shops to be about more than just tiles and tableware. The urban factory-cum-shop in San Francisco’s Mission District, for example, has an excellent newsstand. “We want to connect and have an experience that is not just about shopping,” says Petravic.
Producing tiles, mugs and more, Heath has collaborated with everyone from local food trailblazer Alice Waters to Artek – with which it produced a tea trolley and a set of stools. “There aren’t a lot of places like Heath,” adds Petravic. And he’s right.
2900 18th Street, 94110; heathceramics.com
What to buy:
Drinks set: Part of Heath’s Winter Seasonal collection, this set comes with fine glassware in slate green and calamine blue by R+D Lab, a bowl by Studio Prepa and a Kaymet serving tray.
Stillwater bowl and napkin set: A pair of two Plaza Dessert bowls, matched with a pair of linen Block Shop napkins.
Cooking set: Heath’s classic Deep Serving Bowl is accompanied by a tea towel from Växbo Lin, a maple cutting board, a large stainless-steel serving spoon and a cookbook by Gabriela Cámara
Toskaft throw: This Røros Tweed throw, woven with soft Norwegian wool in a grey and turquoise pattern, looks good on the couch and keeps you warm on chilly nights.
Doris pillow: Part of Finnish designer Johanna Gullichsen’s Normandie Collection, this cushion is inspired by the era of luxury ocean liners.
Don’t depend on Amazon’s algorithms to guide your next book purchase. Instead, search out havens of the printed word such as The Center for Fiction, which recently moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighbourhood. The bright space encompasses a lending library and studio spaces for members, as well as a fantastic bookshop.
“There was the sense that people need a physical place to come together with those who share their interests and create a feeling of community,” says director Noreen Tomassi. To this end the space is open until 22.00 most nights and there is even a bar and café, not to mention a vibrant line-up of workshops and talks.
The shop has what Tomassi calls a “very, very deep and strong fiction category”, including plenty of international works, plus forays into non-fiction and poetry. On a recent Friday afternoon monocle spotted plenty of people perusing the shelves and one punter enjoying a glass of red wine at a nearby table while surveying The New York Times. Pretty perfect if you ask us.
15 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 11217 centerforfiction.org
What to buy:
A Novel Approach: Based on a 45-minute consultation – on the phone or in person – the Center tailors a year’s worth of reading material to you for $200 (€180) and sends you one book a month.
Membership: Buying membership for someone starts at $180 (€160) a year and includes access to a collection of more than 70,000 titles, plus discounts for events, workshops and the bookshop.
Pick up a book from the shop: Here are our recommendations: A Fairly Honourable Defeat by Iris Murdoch; Sparse Black Whimsey: A Memoir by Marcus Scott Williams and Parade: A Folktale by Hiromi Kawakami (translated by Allison Markin Powell).
Berlin’s biggest department store first opened in 1907 as The Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe), bringing exotic fruit and Parisian couture to Germany. Today KaDeWe continues to showcase the best products from around the world, from fashion to food. The most festive of all floors is the sixth, with its terrazzo food hall. Here you can pick up beautifully packaged delicacies while enjoying wine and oysters.
Offering hard-to-find and luxury brands, the recently revamped women’s and menswear departments were recently furnished by designer India Mahdavi and Storage Milano respectively. The renovations are part of architect Rem Koolhaas’s conversion, which will help KaDeWe look good for years to come.
Online shopping may be convenient but it cannot match the eclectic experiences KaDeWe offers, from musical performances to gift-packing services.
21-24 Tauentzienstrasse, 10789; kadewe.de
What to buy:
Präsentkorb: A personalised gourmet gift basket, including Schrödinger's Katzen Gin and Belgian biscuits.
Bag by Maison Heroïne: This Berlin label creates functional, minimalistic bags.
Abstract Arrow scarf by Off-White: Made by the Milan brand in black or orange, as you see fit.
Secrid wallet: Designed and made in the Netherlands, these wallets are also fitted with an aluminium card protector.
Beauty set by Und Gretel: Organic Wint mascara, Tagarot lipstick and Luk Creme eye stick from a local make-up brand.
West of Vienna’s historic city centre, in the 7th district of Neubau, you’ll find a bastion of independent retailers, from family-run antique shops to contemporary concept shops. The area has long been populated by traders and craftspeople, helping to make it the city’s established stronghold of liberalism and freethinking. That said it too conforms to the city’s strict Catholic rules: no shopping on Sundays and certainly not on Christmas Day.
Neubau’s main thoroughfare, Neubaugasse, often turns into a multi-block flea market, while the Christmas market in the district’s Spittelberg quarter is considered one of the best in the city. From mid-November the street is lit up by dozens of market stalls selling seasonal ornaments, wooden toys, snow globes and ceramics, not to mention Glühwein.
Here’s our pick of some of the district’s best buys.
What to buy:
Sous-bois: This colourful shop-cum-coffeehouse, founded by French graphic designer Chloé Thomas, sells smart stationery from brands such as Kaweco, Koh-i-Noor and Midori, along with prints and a selection of art books.
Gift suggestion: A classic Kaweco rollerball pen in rose gold.
33 Neustiftgasse, 1070; sous-bois.at
Irenaeus Kraus: Opened in 2010, this shop in the hip Burggasse sells old-school charts and maps, as well as a wide selection of vintage posters and placards. “The idea is to bring graphic design, in the broadest sense, onto people’s walls,” says owner Christoph Resinger.
Gift suggestion: A 19th-century wall chart by botanist-illustrator team Zippel and Bollmann.
28-32 Burggasse, 1070; irenaeuskraus.com
Sight: Founded by designer Vivien Sakura Brandl in 2007, this womenswear shop moved to a larger space earlier this year and sells hard-to-find labels such as Boessert Schorn and Lila & John, as well as her own Sightline brand.
Gift suggestion: A mini bag by Austrian designer Julia Skergeth.
46 Neubaugasse, 1070; sight.at
Park: A fashion emporium that focuses on designer and streetwear, including pieces by Maison Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester and Vienna-based Gon.
Gift suggestion: A piece by Malaysian label Moto Guo (modelled by the shop’s 97-year-old neighbour).
20 Mondscheingasse, 1070; park-onlinestore.com
Mühlbauer: The famous milliner’s Neubau shop offers everything from fedoras to merino-wool flat caps and rabbit-fur headwarmers.
Gift suggestion: An Otto Karl piece based on the traditional Alpine hunting hat.
34 Neubaugasse, 1070; muehlbauer.at
Wall: Owner Andreas Wall’s concept shop stocks clothes, accessories, books and grooming products. Expect independent labels such as Barbara I Gongini, Esther Perbandt and Lederhaas.
Gift suggestion: A comfy pullover by Viennese brand Brandmair.
5A Westbahnstrasse, 1070; kaufhauswall.com
Jarosinski & Vaugoin: Founded in 1847, this is the spot to find pens, cufflinks, baby rattles and traditional dinnerware, all crafted onsite in the 150-year-old atelier. “We’re proud to be the last silver producer in Vienna,” says sixth-generation owner Jean‑Paul Vaugoin.
Gift suggestion: A silver letter opener.
24 Zieglergasse, 1070; vaugoin.com
Inspired by their travels around the world, South Korean Aamu Song and Finnish native Johan Olin opened one-of-a-kind shop Salakauppa. On their trips the pair visited craft masters in Finland, Russia, Japan and beyond, learning techniques to create artisanal toys, clothes and homeware.
“It’s important to have our own shop to follow the full cycle of the product, from birth until it finds a good home,” says Song. At their shop-cum-atelier, visitors can learn about their craft and purchase an item or two over a cup of tea.
10 Laivurinkatu, 00150; 1 Postikatu, 00100 salakauppa.fi
What to buy:
Blue Bear: This painted, bear-shaped birch tin is for storing keepsakes and is handmade by Master Sunohara in the Nagano region of Japan.
Lucius and Lucia candleholders: Song and Olin designed these candleholders for their Secrets of Finland collection, which celebrates Finnish craft and festivities.
Small City puzzle: An eight-piece puzzle in the form of a decorative birchwood cityscape, designed by Olin and manufactured by Haapareppu in Finland.
Fruit Matryoshka: This set of six nesting fruits (pineapple, grapes, pear, apple, mandarin and apricot), created by Song, is ideal for festive table decorations.
Mama Bird: These five finely designed figurines are characteristic of the duo’s designs: they are pretty to look at and fun to play with.
Mexico City’s shopping scene is a mixed bag: independent shops steered by savvy entrepreneurs have popped up next to colourful markets and tianguis (street stalls), selling everything from pre-Hispanic artefacts to secondhand goods.
The fashionable and more pedestrianised areas of Roma Norte, Condesa and upscale Polanco are where you’ll find the city’s most coveted contemporary-design goods and are your best bet for gift shopping. While areas such as menswear are still finding their feet, the city has a strong contingent of furniture and homeware-makers, bringing together traditional craft and modern know-how.
What to buy:
Xinú, Polanco: Designer Ignacio Cadena founded this perfumer in 2016 with the help of Mexican “nose” Rodrigo Flores-Roux. The aim is to make scents using plants found solely in the Americas. “We also work with plants that have been lost or forgotten,” says Cadena.
Gift suggestion: The zesty Aguamadera perfume, made with agave, guayaco wood and cedar.
161 Alejandro Dumas, 11560; xinu.mx
Taxonomía, Cuauhtémoc: Laura Natividad’s showcase for Mexican design features brands chosen to express a fresh, contemporary style that’s distinctly Mexican, thanks to indigenous materials and reinvented traditional patterns.
Gift suggestion: Contemporary ceramics by Guadalajara-based studio Encrudo.
73 Río Amazonas, 06500; taxonomia.mx
Utilitario Mexicano, Juárez: Husband and wife Enrique Arellano and Libia Moreno, designers by trade, source household objects from local craftsmen. “Each has its history and was built to last,” says Arellano.
Gift suggestion: A cast aluminium tortilla press.
3A Marsella, 06600; utilitariomexicano.com
Onora, Polanco: New Yorker Maggie Galton and Mexican María Eladia Hagerman showcase artisanal craftwork.
Gift suggestion: Felted wool cushions from Chiapas.
330 Lope de Vega, 11560
Silver Deer, Polanco: This sleek menswear shop stocks labels such as Thom Browne, The Gigi, Baxter of California and harder-to-find names including Orciani and Sage De Crezt.
Gift suggestion: Penny loafers by Tricker’s made especially for Silver Deer.
82 Anatole France, 11550; thesilverdeer.com
Casa Bosques, Roma Norte: The city’s most handsome bookshop, Casa Bosques was conceived and furnished by design studio Savvy (its offices are upstairs) after identifying a lack of architecture, fashion, design, art and film literature in the city, especially for English speakers.
Gift suggestion: Casa Bosques has its own line of chocolates.
25 Córdoba, 06700; casabosques.net
Loose Blues, Juárez: This space comprises a concept shop downstairs and a Japanese diner above. Both are owned by Mexican Jacqueline Mota and her Japanese husband Shota Kimura.
Gift suggestion: Parallel Spanish-English literature by Ediciones Acapulco.
44 Dinamarca, 06600; +52 55 5546 4359
Budapest’s design scene is buoyant and the Hungarian capital is both an obliging host and a safe bet for one-off finds for picky recipients. Csendes Concept Store(Art N Craft) on leafy Karolyi Square is piled high with handsome hand-thrown ceramics, plus stationery, soap and furniture (and a small deli if you’re peckish).
Mono Art and Design shows off a breadth of the best design the city has to offer, including pots from Eniko Kontor and womenswear from co-founder Judit Garam’s brand Nubu. On the Buda bank of the Danube and not far below the castle of the same name is Prezent, which rounds out the city’s craftiest collection of notebooks, bags and leather goods.
For furniture a single stop will do (though Fabrika deserves an honourable mention). Möbelkunst, located in the industrial ninth district (take a taxi), shows off owner Andras Fugerth’s impeccable taste in Scandi side tables, mid-century sofas and even a few budget-friendly Hungarian knock-offs of interwar chairs and pendants.
For a sense of the city’s tradition, hotfoot it to Vass Shoes for a pair of dapper derbies or double monks, or the nearby Nanushka clothing store for a taste of the homegrown fashion scene.
Lastly try Irok Boltja. Opened in the 1950s as a state bookshop it turned independent in 1991 and now hosts events and stocks works (English upstairs) from the nation’s best writers. All in all, Budapest is writing a riveting new chapter in its retail history.
csend.es; monoartanddesign.tumblr.com; prezentbudapest.hu; mobelkunst.hu; vass-shoes.com; nanushka.com; irokboltja.hu
Tucked away east of Downtown LA, the Arts District has become an urban oasis for design aficionados. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this sprawling city you’ll find walkable streets lined with creative studios and quirky shops, making it a good antidote to Rodeo Drive.
The best place to start is 1Alchemy Works on East 3rd Street. Run by husband and wife Raan and Lindsay Parton, this space combines retail with an art gallery and is popular for its hand-thrown ceramics, eyewear and grooming products. Nearby general store 2The Good Liver is a safe bet for high-quality and functional products with a classic design aesthetic, including Japanese Usuhari glasses, Kaweco pens and Robert Herder Windmühlenmesser knives.
For fashion head to 3The Voyager Shop, which carries some of the best new designers in California and beyond, with an impeccable collection of accessories, Scandi-inspired clothing and utility bags. If you’re looking specifically for menswear try neighbouring 4Wittmore, which stocks brands such as La Paz, Officine Generale and Mollusk.
5Hennessey 1 Ingalls is a mandatory stop: this minimalistic bookshop specialises in the visual arts, architecture, photography and design. It has since grown from its foundation in the 1960s as a niche shop to a cherished staple among creatives in the city.
To get a sense of what’s being made in the city, head over to Row dtla and explore 6Still Life Ceramics: it’s a studio and shop where you can pick up homeware crafted by local artists – or even better, make something yourself.
Round off your shopping spree at 7Wine Stop, a boutique wine shop with a vineyard-to-table concept serving bottles from some of the best independent producers in California. If you’re not sure what to buy, don’t worry: there’s a tasting bar at the back of the shop where you can take your time.
alchemyworks.us; good-liver.com; thevoyagershop.com; shopwittmore.com; hennesseyingalls.com; stilllifeceramics.com; mywinestop.com
Lisbon’s neighbourhood of Príncipe Real has seen the most change in the city’s recent transformation. New restaurants serving worldly flavours, and shops selling international brands, have sprung up in this fashionable district, giving it a particularly cosmopolitan feel. Despite that, Príncipe Real has managed to retain its traditional character.
Pastel-coloured apartment buildings line the hilly streets where the famed yellow tram passes, while residents gather in the neighbourhood’s park, or play chess at the nearby Oliveira kiosk, an institution since the 1980s. The area’s main street, Rua da Escola Politécnica – which runs from the Natural History Museum past the lush Príncipe Real garden and continues down to the Chiado area as Rua Dom Pedro V – has evolved over time to encompass a diverse assortment of independent retailers. We’ve picked our top shops on this picturesque stretch.
What to buy:
Espaço B: This multibrand womenswear shop is the go-to location if you’re on the hunt for smaller brands, such as Germany’s Annette Görtz and Hache from Italy.
Gift suggestion: Hat by Tuscany’s Grevi.
94 Rua da Escola Politécnica; espaco-b.com
Loja Quer: Beautifully crafted wooden rocking horses, colourful drums made out of cork, soft toys made by Danish brand Maileg: this is the place to go to spoil the kids.
Gift suggestion: The white-bird mobiles are the shop’s bestsellers for a reason.
82A Rua da Escola Politécnica; +351 966 625 296
Livraria da Travessa: This is the first international outpost of Brazil’s famed bookshop, which has become well known for its diverse but on-point selection and intimate atmosphere.
Gift suggestion: A title from the shop’s hefty art and architecture coffee-table book collection.
46 Rua da Escola Politécnica; travessa.com.br
Casa Pau-Brasil: Head to the 18th-century Castilho Palace for Brazilian goods including Q Chocolate, Granado soap and iconic Brazilian furniture.
Gift suggestion: Osklen’s fashionable espadrille-style shoes make a great gift for those longing for warmer days.
42 Rua da Escola Politécnica; +351 213 420 954
21PR Concept Store: This lovely shop sells everything from clothes to sunglasses and carries a mix of international and local brands, such as Gustoko and Campomaggi handbags, as well as rugs and textiles from Morocco.
Gift suggestion: Portuguese Musgo Real-scented soaps by heritage brand Claus Porto.
20 Praça do Príncipe Real; +351 213 469 421
Embaixada: Since 2013, several independent Portuguese shops have taken up residence in the grand Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha, which dates to 1857. You’ll find a showcase of Portuguese design, craftsmanship and gastronomy, such as Porto swimwear brand Latitid and Organii cosmetics.
Gift suggestion: A shirt by Isto.
26 Praça do Príncipe Real; embaixadalx.pt
Solar: This antique tile shop, run by the Leitão family since 1957, sells salvaged azulejo sourced from castles, churches and palaces, ranging from the 15th century to the 1930s.
Gift suggestion: You can never go wrong with a traditional white-and-blue azulejo.
70 Rua Dom Pedro V; solar.com.pt
Central Sydney has a host of good retailers, from Koskela to Belancé, but it’s worth heading out to the St Peters suburb for interior designer and author Sibella Court’s design studio-cum-shop The Society Inc. The home-goods store has a range of handcrafted items, including Court’s own designs (think campfire toasting forks and boat-shaped mirrors) made from her favourite materials: blackened steel, brass, zinc, leather, canvas and cane. A maritime influence can be found throughout, right down to the only Christmas decoration in stock: a pipe-smoking pirate.
75 Mary Street, St Peters; thesocietyinc.com.au
What to buy:
Couta leatherknot key chain: Designed by Sibella Court, this leather key chain is inspired by the couta: a timber boat used to catch barracuda fish in the 19th century.
Panama hat: “It’s my favourite hat,” says Court of the ivory hat made in Ecuador. “You can’t go wrong with a Panama, at any age.” Enough said.
Ship cushion: Inspired by a Dutch painting of a ship sailing on stormy seas, these linen cushions were originally created by Court for a hotel – and are an artwork in themselves.
Apothecary matches: Lighting a candle is a joy with these extra-long matches, stored in hand-blown apothecary jars.
1803 kitchen knife: Made from carbon steel in Canberra, these knives are offset with an antler handle (sourced from red deer in New South Wales, which shed their antlers naturally).
Paris has plenty of shops to discover but none quite compare to the expansive Haut Marais-based crafts marketplace Empreintes. Run by the professional fine-arts federation Ateliers d’Art de France, it showcases a selection of works by about 6,000 member ceramicists, glassblowers, metal artists, woodworkers and sculptors from throughout France. “When we opened Empreintes in 2016 we wanted to invite people to rediscover the authenticity of objects born of today’s crafts professions,” says brand manager Morgane Couteller.
With three floors, a video projection room and a book corner with self-published titles, Ateliers d’Art de France has put a lot of effort into creating a space in the former jewellery workshop that blends store and gallery. From Morpho Bleu bone china mugs to bronze sculptures by Philippe Buil, all objects can be touched, to show the importance of materiality in craft. A few key works are exhibited in individual booths, wallpapered with photos documenting the manufacturing process. “We believe in the value of objects with a story behind them,” says Couteller. “This is gifting in the most sustainable sense.”
5 Rue de Picardie, 75003; empreintes-paris.com
What to buy:
Table lamp: This lighting collection by Studio Pok brightens up winter days with a beechwood base and Limoges porcelain lampshade in a variety of shapes.
Dachshund toy: Ludijouet’s wooden dachshund on wheels is not your typical children’s toy. It’s a collector’s item, handcrafted from cherrywood by the Pays-de-la-Loire based Pierre Vignaud.
Recycled glass vase: Glassblower Jean Michel Daluzeau uses old glass bottles to create colourful vases that are decorative and playful in equal measure.
Table set: Pia van Peteghem’s Cosmo line of speckled ceramic jugs, mugs and bowls puts a Jackson Pollock spin on everyday tableware.
Oversized earrings: Wood artist Salomé Charly has branched out into creating wood-and-silver jewellery with sculptural lines.
Looking good in paper
By Marie-Sophie Schwarzer
Gift-wrapping is an art in Japan. If you follow these simple steps you can prepare your present within 30 seconds, just like they do in Tokyo. Well, with a little practice…
Place your gift box diagonally on the wrapping paper, so that the top corner of the paper is in line with the centre of the box and leaving enough room for the paper to cover the entire parcel. Now neatly fold the bottom corner of the paper over the box.
Tuck in the edge flap, then fold the left-hand side of the wrapping paper over the parcel, ensuring that it’s neatly aligned.
Now tackle the top edge. Once again, tuck the edge flap inwards towards the side of the parcel. Then rotate the box twice, ensuring that the edges of the paper are perfectly aligned.
Move on to the bottom right-hand side of the box. Tuck in the edge flap while neatly folding the right-hand side of the wrapping paper over the parcel to form a triangle. Tuck under the excess paper to ensure the edge of the triangle meets the bottom right corner of the parcel.
Tuck in the last edge flap on the top right-hand corner of the box and fold the last bit of wrapping paper over the parcel.
Once again, tuck under the excess paper to ensure that the last flap forms a perfect triangle with the corners of the parcel.
Now get out a piece of tape (the only one you’ll need) and fasten down the final flap.
Voilà: your gift is wrapped. And there’s even a slot for you to place a card.