We use "Christmas bags" for the majority of our gift wrapping. You can usually buy 2 of them for a dollar at most "dollar stores". But, that's cheap, because we re-use the same bags year after year. Gift Bags are not only easy to re-use, they are SO easy to wrap up a gift quickly, using no box, no bow and no wrapping paper to throw away! What could be better!
My daughter simply collects them up and folds them down to a small size. She keeps them in a box for next year's gift-wrapping, then at the next Thanksgiving, we get out the Christmas bags from the "Bag Box" and divide these between whoever in the family wants to re-use them. Then on Christmas night, back they go into the box for next year.
Yes, it certainly is! It's also very thrifty and 'super' enviro friendly :)
Along this same line of thought: I purchase holiday wrapping paper on sale the day after Christmas.
I try to pick solid colors or patterns that could be used for gift giving occasions throughout the year, as well as for Christmas.
I recycle any gift bags I can. If you are careful with them, they can be reused several times. I know many people who do this. I like to buy my Christmas gift bags after Christmas when they are marked down. Wal-Mart always has nice ones and once half price, they are pretty cheap. I really like those smaller ones that look like a printed lunch sack. I get those for less than a quarter ea once on sale. Not sure really how much I've spent because I've bought so many in the past several years that I have a large supply of them now. I won't even buy any this year because I am already storing plenty of them. You can fold over the top and then staple it closed, putting your gift tag on at the same time. You can also get a little fancier and fold over top of bag, paper punch two holes about an inch apart and run some ribbon through the holes so both ends come out in front and then tie in a bow, leaving tails that if it's curling ribbon, you can curl. If the item in the bag is small, you can also gather up the top and tie with ribbon. Gift bags sure make for some quick wrapping, that's for sure!
For the gifts that my family gives each other, I have made cloth drawstring bags. These are reused every year, and can be made in large sizes to hold things that would never go into a paper gift bag. Also, I save the paper that comes on gifts from non-recycling friends, and re-use that for gifts that leave the house, for school parties, for staff functions, etc.
We've practiced this in our family for years - it came more from trying to be environmentally conscious, but I love that I haven't had to purchase any gift bags for about 5 years now! I have wrapping paper that's been hanging around in the Christmas box that I combine with scrapbooking tools to create hand-made, personalized gift card envelopes for my older nieces and nephews, who get cash now they're all in college.
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