When they ask paper or plastic say "paper, please". Grocery brown bags work great. Cut them so you are using the (blank) underside of the bag. If you have stamps, colored pencils, pens, or stencils, use you imagination for a one of a kind package. The brown bag background gives you a neutral that all colors match. It can be quite pretty with a bow, bright stripes, and best of all it's free!
Bags, ribbon, and bows can be bought at the Dollar Store. They may be last season's, but really who cares? Look be thrifty and get the most for you buck. This is the rule whatever store you are at.
Look on clearance items. Yes, it isn't Christmas merchandise. However all of the summer, Halloween, birthday, wedding, and baby shower items are on sale. It could be wonderful having pink, baby blue, or bright orange bags, tissue paper, and bows.
Tissue paper is very inexpensive and comes in many colors. It can be also reused over and over. Many times a sheet of tissue paper can work as wrapping. If you can purchase 24 sheets of tissue paper, double it and that's 12 gifts wrapped.
When I was young my parents wrapped packages with newspaper. It still works great. It's the thought that counts not the wrap. Recycling is an issue today. I hope someone reading this keeps that in mind.
Going to a feed store is another really neat idea. They always they have free twine. Twine works well instead of ribbon. It can also be died with food coloring, tea or coffee. Put the twine in the colored water, let it soak up, and then let it dry. Very pretty if used up against the brown bag wrapping paper.
You can also use yarn and fabric when on sale. It's usually not a large amount, but great for a brightly wrapped gift. Fabric is nice; on those last chance racks at thrift store. May not be something you would want to wear, but how nice to wrap a present in. You can still keep a color theme, if that is important to you. Using texture is quite "trendy" in decorating. Look at all of the rags you will have afterwards.
I last purchased cheese cloth for dish towels in my kitchen it was $2.00 for a big roll of them. It great wrapping and it all coordinated. It also can be dyed what ever color you wish.
Saving boxes you may have now can work like empty Kleenex box, cereal boxes and check book boxes are great for small things. I have saved so many jewelry boxes, over the years. These can be used on a jewelry instead of purchasing another box. Earrings may be on a sale rack, but they look so good in a jewelry box. If you do have these boxes, don't ever throw them out; thrift stores love them as donations.
It doesn't have to say "Merry" anything if you are giving baked goods, or candy. They go very nice in containers you already have, brown bags or a gift bags you got on sale.
Shipping is very expensive, most of the time. It is cheaper to use the box they supply, because whatever you can fit in the box is at one cost. Go pick up the boxes (free at post office). Bring them home so you can pack everything safely, using as small a box as possible.
Buying the Styrofoam peanuts isn't necessary. You can use plastic bags, newspaper, rags, old socks, or stained clothes. If you receive a gift with peanuts as packing material, try saving them instead of throwing away.
If you can't use the boxes at the Post Office for shipping, try looking at the grocery, liquor and drug store. Boxes can be found free whether for shipping or wrapping. Ask every store, and catch them before they go into the machine that flattens them. I would spend the money I saved on boxes for shipping insurance, because I know that is well worth buying.
Name tags are the biggest rip in my opinion. Cut off a piece of the wrapping paper, fold it in half like a card. You can cut 3x5 inch recipes cards, used envelopes or a piece of paper cut into a heart, all works great. If you use post its make sure they don't fall off. Whatever you use, do a double ring of scotch tape to hold securely.
If you use your stockings, then you really don't need to spend extra money on wrapping paper.
Be inventive. If you do use on sale new paper, recycle it. This year after Christmas everything will be on sale again, so stock up. I think your family would be happier having the money go into the present, instead of what it's wrapped in.
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
I had done this for years without thinking about it and then, when I had to move out of state, I decided to dispose of the fairly large collection of used gift paper I had and boy, did I miss it last year! This is why I have decided to start again, and maybe tell y'all about it too.
You don't think about it from looking at it, but 90% or so of all gift wrapping paper is perfectly reusable. We all know that 3 out of 10 gifts (especially for items such as books and clothes) can be eased out of the wrapping with no visible damage to the paper, and that then one can ease a similar sized book or object and reuse the paper in that instance. But that figure quickly goes up when we go through the trouble of salvaging as much of the wrapping paper as one possibly can from one's gifts.
Besides the technique mentioned above, a thrifty person can use an Exacto knife and carefully cut out the tape when opening the package, and salvaging most or all of the wrapping paper on said gift. One can also tell one's family members to save the paper and be respectful of it when opening the gift. One can easily even salvage a lot of paper that has been abused by cutting out the intact bits. Think of the many small gifts we are apt to give, a gift card, lipstick, a box of Whitman's Samplers - for which that small but nice scrap is good!
At the end of the gifting event (ie. Christmas or baby shower) I take it all home, put a fun DVD in the player, get scissors, Exacto knife, and a box. As seen in the diagram, I undo all tape, straighten the paper out as much a I can, put like with like: large together, small together, Santa's together, etc. and roll them up for storage.
This practice saves a significant amount of money, but is also to me more respectful of paper and gift giving in general.
By Alicia C A.
Having run out of tissue paper for packing around gifts, I shredded some wrapping paper. It looked great. Now instead of paper gift wrap (even the most crumpled bit! ) going to the bin it goes in the shredder and I have my recycled packaging.
Happy new yew year to you all.
From Derry/Londonderry U.K City of culture 2013
By Mary H.
There is just the two of us at home so we use those bags for gifts to each other and then carefully fold them back up for another year. We also have gotten the family into it and we pass around gift bags for birthdays that have been going back and forth for years now. I love not having the big garbage bag of wrap and the guilt over wasting so much. It now costs us nothing to wrap our gifts too!
By justanothercowgirl from Ontario, Canada
By Catalinita from The Bay State
By Chris A from Syracuse, NY
By Betty G.
This wrapping method is especially good if you find yourself wrapping gifts at the last minute anyway; then your flowers still look fresh when you present your gift. (It doesn't work so great for mailing, unless you dry the flowers first.)
The only cost is ribbon; I get fabric ribbon on clearance from fabric or craft stores (the skinny kind is extremely affordable even at regular price). It ends up looking very fancy even though I'm really wrapping it in a garbage bag and then sticking weeds into it.
Of course if kids or pets will be around, you might want to avoid poisonous plants like mistletoe. And if you're lucky enough to have a rose blooming, make sure to break off the thorns (just bend them sideways).
When we were growing up, we had VERY little money for extra things. In fact, Santa gifts were never even wrapped, but the gifts that we exchanged with each other were wrapped in flyers (circulars) from stores like Kmart, Zellers (Canadian, eh?) and other places that had toys in the flyer. My siblings and I used to spend a lot of time figuring out what was in the packages, since we were sure that the gift in the box was on the paper it was wrapped in.
I cannot convince my hubby that we should do this because his family always did things differently. Maybe when the kids are a little older, I will be able to get him to go along with this, because it is still one of my favorite Christmas memories!
Another good idea I've found is to save last year's Christmas cards to make gift tags with for the next year.
By Harlean from Arkansas
Another idea is packaging paper. I'm so frugal I use things that come my way but don't cost anything at all. A friend recently moved to my town and had a four foot stack of clean newsprint she had bought and used to move. What a gold mine! Wrapping paper never got cheaper than free!
If you have a fireplace or wood stove though, remember not to burn commercial wrapping paper as some of the dyes still use lead and can be toxic when burned.
By Becki in Indiana
Another thing we do for wrapping paper, is use paper bags that have been decorated by drawing pictures on them using crayons or by rubbings with a leaf or other things under them! Wrapping papers are decorative and fun and at Christmas, children should be able to do more than just unwrap their presents!!
By Kay N
I have not tried this with strips from a paper shredder. It might be too thin and would break easily.
By Terri H.
Well here's a way to make it look practically like new again. IRON IT!
Yes, ironing with a Medium hot iron and steam will take almost all the wrinkles and creases out and make it reusable. CAUTION: Keep the iron moving on the paper or it will burn.
Source: My Mom
By Kalene from Oregon City
Don't buy new Christmas wrapping paper if at all possible. There are lots of things you can use instead; try to recycle and reuse instead.
By Ness from Lakeview, NY
I wanted to save money on Christmas wrapping paper. I started saving the Sunday comics to wrap children's gifts. However, when I went to use the comics, they had faded and are not pretty any more. How could I keep the colorful comics from fading?
By Marjorie from MI