A keen eye, a bit of skill and some quick handwork are all it takes for Melinda Pace Cantor to transform a plain white box into an eye-catching package that pops.
"It all comes together in the wrapping. The final presentation is everything," says Cantor, owner of Only You Gifts in Islip, as she puts finishing touches on a gift box dressed in silver foil wrap and embellished with a shimmery purple poinsettia. "Wrapping is an expression of your own personality . . . there is no limit to what you can wrap with or even how you decorate the package. As one of my customers said to me the other day, 'If you wrap it, they will come!' "
And come they do.
Betty Walker, 50, of Bay Shore, dropped off four large boxes that need the works.
"You don't want to see me wrap," says Walker, who plans to return with another 24 items.
With Christmas fast approaching, some local shops will gift-wrap anything. Consider the service a present to yourself this holiday season, when you are pressed for time.
La Favorita: 336 Hillside Ave., Williston Park, 516-746-2130, lafavoritafavors.com
Turnaround time: Same day or next day.
At La Favorita, customers can choose from wrapping papers including classic solids, traditional Christmas or an elegant shiny metallics with a hologram design. Each box is dressed with a silk ribbon and adorned with a taffeta or curly ribbon bow. Owner Melina Ingral will go from elaborate to simple.
Cost: $2.50 for jewelry-size box to $3 for a standard shirt box, including wrapping, tissue paper and ribbon. Boxes sold separately. Pricing varies on volume or size of box.
Have You Heard?: 2554 Merrick Rd., Bellmore, 516-409-0283, haveyouheardinc.com
Turnaround time: Some items are wrapped on-the-spot; others may need 24 hours. Allow a few days for large orders.
Owner Ginny McClean will find a creative way to wrap a gift even if an item that needs to be wrapped does not have a box. McLean can wrap odd shapes. Shoppers can choose from a variety of standard to fancy wrapping and bows.
Cost: From $3 for a small jewelry box to $7 for coat box. Unusual hard-to-wrap items from $10. Price includes wrapping and ribbon.
Turnaround time: Same day.
Owner Paula Boccio offers wrapping from the traditional holiday paper to more festive modern wrap. Baskets can be trimmed with candy canes, pinecones and snowflakes. Discounts offered on multiple packages.
Cost: $3 for standard shirt boxes, $8 to $10 for harder-to-wrap items such as a golf bag. Prices include boxes; baskets are $5 to $15.
Only You Gifts: 549 Main St., Islip, 631-277-2333, onlyyougifts.com
Turnaround time: 24 to 48 hours
Owner Melinda Pace Cantor wraps gifts in purple and silver foil or gold with red and green. Embellishments include pinecones, bells and silvery leaves. Cantor says the secret is knowing how to use ribbons and tie special bows.
Cost: $5 to $7 for small boxes, from $12 for large and shirt-size.
Papyrus: Woodbury Common Shopping Center (516-367-8503) and Roosevelt Field Mall (516-739-2254), papyrusonline.com
Turnaround time: Same day.
(It is suggested to bring your own box since Papyrus doesn't have an assortment of different size boxes.)
Shoppers can choose from more than 20 rolls of holiday paper; fancier patterns sold by the sheet. Woodbury Commons manager Susan Kanellopoulos says this season's popular styles include glittered wrap and elegant flocked velvet patterns bright colors. The store also has embroidered wrap with real stitching, for a fabric-like impression.
Cost: $5 to wrap and ribbon-bow a standard shirt box, plus the cost of paper and embellishments ($3.95 to $9.95). It's best to provide your own boxes.