Wrap It Up: Favorite Paper Places in LA

Wrapping paper trends -- yes, there are wrapping paper trends -- come and go; seems like plain brown paper is quite in vogue now (we remember years ago when it was the comics page, or old term papers, or gas-station maps). There are certain qualities we like in a good roll of wrapping paper -- a low price, high wit, and a holiday-ish theme that isn't too on the (red) nose. While we don't give it much thought -- after all, it slips off a package in an instant, especially in the hands of the under-10s -- it is a part of the entire holiday, well, package. With that in mind, here are some local paperies purveying in the mistletoe-iest rolls.

Paper Source:  A chain with high quality papers, plus greeting cards so clever you must stand and read them aloud to nearby strangers, not to mention rubber stamps, and other bits of stocking-perfect ephemera. We venture into the Beverly Hills location vowing -- vowing! -- to get one sheet of paper. And, within seconds, that vow is lying puddled at our feet as we eye the book display.

Embrey Papers: Very elegant San Vincente spot with the kind of wrap you might use on your mother-in-law's gift (at least during the first few years of your marriage). Highly browse-able items, sniff-worthy candles and stylish stationery. They also sport some one-of-a-kind-ish ornaments this time of year, ideal for a quick, on-the-run hostess gift.

Target and Kmart: Two of the biggies, with expansive selections. We've been practically chittering like squirrels over the Martha Stewart woodland motif at Kmart this year, and the confections line (think cupcakes and candy-store colors) is toothache inducing, in a good way (if you've got young nieces, this is the perfect paper). And the prices? We almost want to hug them.

Trader Joe's: The classic paper bag, and sturdy as all get-out; you almost feel like they could hold a hot, drippy roast without going soggy and breaking. Turn 'em inside out, so the printed side faces in, and you've got some very unrippable wrap. We stock up on the bags during the year, and then use stickers on them for the young'uns, or doodle on top for the grown-up. Free, of course, with grocery purchase. Hands up if you like free!

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