A few years ago my husband and I decided we were not wasting any more wrapping paper at Christmas time. It seems such a waste of money and natural resources to be throwing all that wrap out. So, I went to Costco and bought a big package of gift bags and tissue paper. We use these bags over and over again, year after year.
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
You should mark the date and event on inside with marker. Then you'd have memories of the bag's previous use!
I too am tired of buying wrapping paper. So last year I decided to make cloth gift bags and reuse those. I have also bought plain paper gift bags for gifts for others.
FOR YEARS NOW I HAVE PURCHASED XMAS PRINT FABRIC AND MADE MY OWN GIFT BAGS AND TAGS. i SEW A RIBBON IN THE SIDE SEAM AND THIS IS USED TO TIE THE ENDS CLOSED. EVERYONE WHO RECEIVES A GIFT FROM ME SAYS IT'S LIKE RECEIVING TWO GIFTS. FOR MY QUILTING FRIENDS I USE A FAT QUARTER OF DESIGNER FABRIC AND USE A LONG STITCH LENGTH WHEN I MAKE THE BAG. THE LONGER STITCH LENGTH MAKES IT EASIER TO REMOVE THE STITCHES AND THEN THE FABRIC USED FOR THE BAG CAN BE CUT INTO PIECES TO MAKE A QUILT. THE OTHER BAGS I MAKE ARE USED OVER AND OVER.
I buy my wrapping paper during the 'After Holiday Sales', when I can get them greatly reduced, then I stock up & am well equipped for years!!
The cloth gift bags, sounds great, too. Most of my gifts, I have to mail back home, this is why I choose to wrap with paper, instead. Easy to pack.
Another idea is to price the plain brown wrapping paper, that you wrap mailing packages in, and design your own, you could use a sponge and a little gold paint, or stamping ink, or a gold marker and write inspirational words on it, and get the kids to help, also freezer paper comes in a big roll , or go to a craft store and get butcher paper.I just freak out when all that expensive stuff is thrown away.I love all the other ideas, especially the gift bag recycles.Another idea to go with the plain paper is that you can make little gift cards with the same paper and cut different shapes, or just write it directly on the paper.You can also cut strips of the paper and curl it like ribbon,If you happen to have any of the large pony beads you could use raffia or plain string or crochet thread and make your bow with a little beaded touch.You could also use comic strip paper or newspaper. You could decorate the black and white paper with a gold or silver marker, or use the plain brown wrapping and make a bow from comic strip or newspaper.The natural look is back in so many things so it's not only frugal but popular too.You could make small paper chains like the kids make, and put that in the middle of your package like a bow.Plz forgive my rambling, I have adult attention deficit, so I digress sp? a little.Hope it helps.
I like the shopping bags that the mall stores give away. Also, my library has heavy duty plastic drawstring bags for 25 cents. This is a great way to recycle baskets, mesh onion bags, thrifted tote bags, etc. Also, I like to put Christmas presents in cereal boxes, cup-o-soup boxes, oatmeal canisters, just for fun.
I have everyone carefully unwrap their gift and save the paper in a bin all year long. I also have heard of saving the sunday comics all year long. I also have reusable bows I had years ago. I also have no problem reusing gift bags.
I really love your idea. I have a gift bag and tissue sitting on my desk right now, and your message is so timely!
I have been using the comics from the newspaper or just using the paper. It is fun when they open the gifts and read the news, stock market or read the comics. Has a dual purpose without spending money to throw away.
We have used the gift bags and tissue for the past several years. Much easier to use and store when the gift-giving is over. We just cleaned out my parent's attic and threw away this huge stockpile of gift-boxes (remember when the stores would give you a gift box for your purchase? ). Now it's just gift bags with tissue. Another thing I do with tissue paper is that when it's reused it tends to be wrinkled and not looking so fresh, so instead of tossing it, I run it through my shredder and make pretty shredded tissue paper for the bags. The shredder I use for this makes long strands, not the cross-cut type. Makes for a different package and pretty too.
I am an avid post Christmas and other holiday shopper. My paper is less than a buck per roll. I decide on design of the next year, colors, whatever, and so may buy 4-5 rolls of the same. I go for the most square footage on a roll, never foils. Over all, I usually pick up 20 rolls for $5. And my family knows where it is stored and stop in before gift wrapping. Same with finding plain wrap or generic colors to use for graduation, etc. I also do bulletin boards at church, so seasonal helps there.
At my d-i-l's baby showers for her babies, I took all the gift bags home, stored them carefully, so when she or anyone else in the family needs, you stop by. My neighbor had a garage sale where she put all hers on it for $.10 each. And I stocked up there too.
For package ribbon, I buy on sale the 1/4 inch crafting/sewing ribbon. Usually 30 yards $.25. And pickup at garage sales after wedding in the family households. All sorts of neat things for packages.
For weddings, showers, etc I pick up 50 yard bridal tulle at $1 per roll--lots of colors--and tie up the gift bag handle with that. Pretty bow, just a few cents in expense.
Growing up very poor, we gifted in comics and also kitchen foil. I know that is a good alternative, but I can't do it--I recycle and reuse and collect and sort best I can, when done with something, I tell my friends/neighbors what I have good, first one gets pickings. Same with them--they pass on to recycle. One person's weeds is another one's compost!
Also if you buy the solid color gift bags, you then could decorate the bags to go with a theme using stamps, computer images, decorate it in things that the person you are giving it to likes.
One gift bag I saw not long ago, was solid color, it was used for Valentine and they cut out the letters that spelled "Love" and glue to the gift bag. My brain went into all kinds of holidays you could do this with or ways you could decorate.
You could even use old gift cards, greeting cards, to decorate a solid color bag up, glue ribbon or lace at the top, or bottom. So many ways to decorate it up, and it would be different from the year before.
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