Wrapped up with holidays

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Two crafty ladies are getting all wrapped up this season with an idea that’s gaining momentum.

Kayla Smith-McCowan, of Black Diamond, and Virginia Johal, of Turner Valley, are offering their gift-wrapping expertise to people with busy schedules or who would like extra care and attention put into their gift-wrapping.

Johal, who has been unemployed since September, got the idea after seeing an online advertisement for gift wrappers at a mall.

“My husband said, ‘You should do that’ because I love to wrap presents,” she said. “Rather than drive into the city, why not just do it from home. I thought I would give it a shot.”

Johal spread the word on social media, posted pictures of her creations and began getting requests. Her creations range from simple wrapping paper with a plastic ribbon to elaborate creations with different paper and accents like coloured twine, artificial tree boughs and Christmas ornaments. Her prices range from $2 to $5 for an average-sized gift.

“I just Google ‘trendy Christmas wrapping’ and go to Pinterest,” she said. “I don’t want to make it identical, but I like to put my own spin on it. It drives my husband crazy because I’m very anal. I’ve got it down to a science.”

Johal even makes her own bows using wire ribbon and hot glue and cuts letters out of the pages of old books to spell out people’s names.

“It’s more of a hobby than a business,” she said. “I’ll be happy if I cover my supplies this winter. It’s keeping me busy, which I’m enjoying.”

Both Johal and Smith-McCowan say the rustic, old-fashioned look is this year’s gift-wrapping trend.

“The rustic look has been trending for four years in the wedding industry,” said Smith-McCowan, also a fan of Pinterest.

Having wrapped presents for the Calgary Counselling Centre to earn volunteer hours in high school and as co-owner of Paisley Floral Design in Okotoks, Smith-McCowan has plenty of experience with finishing details.

She decided to give gift-wrapping a whirl.

“I put out the post on Facebook to see if there would be interest,” she said. “There were quite a few people who said, ‘heck yeah.’”

Smith-McCowan accumulated a large selection of papers and finishings including string, bows, googly eyes, ribbons, glitter and fresh greens like pine, cedar and pine cones.

“Everybody wants their gift to look like the gifts out of a catalogue, but nobody really has the time to sit and fiddle with it,” she said. “Everybody is so busy right now. I hope that’s where I can help people.”

For Smith-McCowan, it’s just another creative outlet. She charges $2 and higher, depending on the size of the gift and the amount of embellishments.

“I am always drawn to doing things that allow me to add those really creative elements to it,” she said. “Everybody who knows me would say I’m crazy busy and it’s ridiculous that I’ve added that on to my plate right now, but that’s how I work.”

Turner Valley resident Erinn Bosch hired Smith-McCowan to wrap some special gifts for her this month.

“I basically just wrap everything the same,” she said. “It simplifies everything for me. I have three boys and I run a business from home. It’s chaos in my house. It’s not something that I would really put a lot of time into.”

Bosch considers Smith-McCowan’s wrapping cute, creative and unique. She said she used craft paper with wrapping paper accents, string and created a reindeer with a bow for its nose, googly eyes and antlers for one gift and Santa Claus with googly eyes peaking around the wrapping paper for another.

“You can tell she put a lot of thought into it,” said Bosch.

“For somebody to be able to put that time into it for such an affordable price seems so worth it for me.”

Both ladies can be contacted for their gift-wrapping services via Facebook.

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