It's the time of year when practically everyone I know is shopping for a gift, giving a gift, getting a gift—or all of the above.

And with the careful selection of an appropriate and thoughtful gift comes... the finale of the gift's wrapping.

"Stylish gift wrapping doesn't have to mean stretching the bank to purchase a myriad of gilded, glamorous and glossy papers," says expert gift decorator, Suzanne Montes. "You can create dazzlingly different delights courtesy of an investment in a selection of brilliantly colored ribbon and a bit of imagination," she assures us.

It's the "icing on the cake" demonstrating an added dimension of thought and effort directed to the recipient Nevertheless, how a gift is wrapped will enhance our appreciation for the gift. It's the "icing on the cake" demonstrating an added dimension of thought and effort directed to the recipient.

To assist those of us less gifted in the art of gift-giving—even those of us who have been granted ten unnimble-fingered thumbs—the news wires are chock full of worthy tips to embellish our own arrangements. Among the best suggestions for presentation, I've read:

  1. Decide on a color scheme. Choose your palette in ribbons and papers. The variation of colour gives each gift its unique appeal.

  2. Play with texture. Go beyond the pervasive satin ribbons to create distinct statements with grosgrain, rickrack, velvet, gauze, patterns and more.

  3. Mix and match. Use multiple ribbons in dissimilar shades.

  4. Be unconventional. Don't be afraid to use your own imagination and self-expression.

Reading the various methods of dazzling gift wrapping, made me think about other, less tangible gifts we give to others.

The gift of our time is probably one of the most valuable—the time that we share with our loved ones, with our children, our spouses and our families, as well as the time we share in voluntary commitments to others in need.

A kind word to a disheartened stranger. A cake we deliver to a new neighbor. An hour designated to spend alone with a child who needs our undivided attention. An invitation extended to someone wanting a warm and nourishing meal. An unexpected telephone call to our spouse in the middle of the day just to say we care.

These are all invaluable gifts that we give. But like a shoddily wrapped present, the wrapping on these gifts can also reflect our attitudes.

Do we color these gifts with warmth and brightness? Or does our packaging reflect haste, impatience or even slight annoyance? Does the recipient get the feeling that this is just something to be checked off our "good to do list" to assuage our own guilt? Or, does the accompanying "wrapping" reflect our extra care, true concern and kind consideration?

Do we sabotage our gifts by wrapping them in subtle tinges of resentment? What types of "textures" encase our gifts? Do we sabotage our beautiful presents by wrapping them in our own subtle tinges of resentment? In the time that we give to another, are we carrying over some shade of frustration, or perhaps even anger that we experienced earlier on in our day? Or have we filled our mind and heart with love, compassion and generosity?

We need not be conventional in wrapping our gifts. Every person is unique and might need a different touch of emotion or feeling to accompany their gift—a kind word, a sympathetic hug, a warm smile, an expression of affirmation, or just our exclusive, doting attention.

It's not the number on the price tag that makes our gifts special. Rather, the hues of our moods and the vibrant textures of our attitudes in which they come wrapped will make all the difference