Few images sum up the Christmas spirit more than the sight of a pile of brightly coloured, beautifully wrapped Christmas presents, in a pile beneath a tree.

The spectacle is likely to thrill youngsters, and tantalise them too.

How many of us remember weighing, shaking and peering into well-wrapped presents, trying to work out what might be inside?

People take a different approach to the task, ranging from an immense investment of time and creativity to complete something worthy of display in a magazine, to the last-minute scrunching of a gift into some wrapping paper picked up from the local shop.

For the ultra-keen, special T-square rulers, rotary paper cutters and cutting mats are recommended to ensure geometric wrapping perfection.

For the rest of us – who have lives to live – the addition of a ribbon and a gift tag might well be effort enough.

So many choices are available, in terms of wrapping paper, ribbons, stickers and gift tags, and fashions, in terms what’s hot and what’s not for gift wrapping, come and go over the years.

One woman who has more experience and expertise than most us in the realm of gift wrapping is Jane Iles, who works at Wyevale Garden Centre, Swindon.

The store offers a gift wrapping service at key gift-giving times of the year – like Mothers’ Day and Christmas.

Jane has been working at Wyevale for eight years and has wrapped hundreds of presents – an occupation she finds very satisfying.

“I love it,” she said. “I like to make it look nice.”

Jane’s basic technique involves laying a piece of tissue paper over a piece of seasonally decorated cellophane, and trimming it so the paper covers the object, with about an extra four inches to spare for the folds.

It is important not to leave the paper too large, as this makes the folded corners bulky.

She likes to use either red or green tissue paper, to give the gift a seasonal appearance, and recommends pinching the folds to make them crisp and straight.

When wrapping gifts for customers, she either uses special pull bows, which scrunch up the ribbon into luxurious, multi-loop bows, or pulls the scissor edge along the bow’s tails to make them curl.

At home, Jane is an enthusiastic and inventive gift wrapper, and likes to be creative in her choices.

“My brother’s an economist – so I’m wrapping his present in pages from the Financial Times,” she said. “And I like using natural materials, like brown paper, which you can stamp with your own designs, and raffia and string.”

These can be adorned with natural elements, such as leaves, or tiny fir cones. The shabby chic style of gift wrapping is still popular too. This style might incorporate elements such as white linen, aged papers, strips of lace or recycled sheets of music.

At Wyevale, Jane wraps dozens of plants, placing the pot in the centre of a square of tissue paper over cellophane, then pulling the four corners up and binding the pot with a long piece of ribbon.

The hardest thing she was asked to wrap was a large stone birdbath.

“We were having a free wrapping service day, but I had to tell the customer the best I could do was put a ribbon on it,” she said. “It weighed a ton and it would have just torn straight through the paper and destroyed it.”

Store manager Khyas Stone said the gift wrapping service was often busy in the run-up to Christmas. and the pace is set to pick up in the weeks to come.