Here are tips for saving money on wrapping paper as suggested from the ThriftyFun community. If you have a favorite technique that hasn't been suggested here, please post it below.
Stock Up Right After Christmas
If you save some money for after Christmas sales, you can get all the wrapping paper and supplies you need for the following year at 90% off. Don't buy the expensive paper (it just gets ripped apart).
By Chris A from Syracuse, NY
Keep Paper And Cards In House
Keep wrapping paper and all occasion cards in the house. I live 8 miles from town and this saves me a lot of money. Just yesterday, I bought 4 rolls of different kinds of wrapping paper, $.50 each, never opened.
By Betty G.
Decorate Brown Wrapping With Raffia and Pinecones
Brown paper bags can be used as gift wrap. Cut bags to lie flat, turn the printed side on the inside, and wrap your package. Then decorate! Add some raffia or natural-looking ribbon for an earthy touch. Add pine cones, dried thistles, or evergreen touches to the raffia if desired. Brown paper bags can also be block stamped with designs in ink or paint, hand painted, or crayon colored by the kids for even more interesting wrapping paper.
Add Plants From Your Garden When Wrapping
I wrap gifts in brown paper bags, then tie ribbon around them, then tuck plants from my yard into the ribbon. Usually I can find something blooming. Otherwise, things with contrasting leaves can look good. Now that I've planted a rosemary bush in my yard, a sprig of rosemary is always included for a nice aroma.
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).
Use Thrift Store Scarves
I buy pretty scarves at rummage sales or thrift stores (they usually cost about a quarter) and then tie with a piece of ribbon. Your recipient gets two gifts!
Freezer Paper and Ribbon
For affordable Christmas gift wrap, I have used freezer paper and used lots of curling ribbon in red and green (pretty cheap) to decorate the packages. This looks good under the tree as well as the gift.
Use Toy Store Fliers
As Pauley mentioned about the newspaper comics, I would like to suggest something similar and even more economic - if you can believe that....
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!
Deli Containers for Food Gifts
I can usually get the deli counter to give me a few extra clear containers that I use for packing holiday food gifts. Add a few stickers and a bow on top!
I've purchased wallpaper rolls on sale ($1-$5) and used them for parcels, as well as covering plain photo album covers. Wallpaper and wallpaper borders can also be used for backgrounds and embellishments in scrapbooking!
I buy all of my wrapping paper at the dollar store. Usually they have a lot, and bunches to chose from, all for a dollar. It's not that bad.
I bought a huge roll of white paper at Costco. I let my kids paint and color on it (as they would do on smaller paper every day anyhow). I am using that art work as gift wrap. I just wrap the gifts up and add reusable wired fabric ribbon as decoration.
Reuse Gift Bags and Make Your Own Tags
Some people may say that this is not the thriftiest idea, but I really like using gift bags. I mainly made gift baskets to give as gifts this year, and the bags are so much easier to package them in. The Dollar Tree has the best selection to me; even the huge bags are only a dollar (compared to $4-5 at Wal-Mart). Any gift bags that I receive with gifts, I save and re-use (much easier than saving and re-using wrapping paper) and encourage the rest of my family to do the same.
Another good idea I've found is to save last year's Christmas cards to make gift tags with for the next year.
Shredded Paper for Gift Bags
Since gift bags are so popular, and usually the gift is hidden in layers of tissue or shredded materials, I have found that instead of buying shredded material for these bags, just take all the colored advertising inserts from your newspaper, and run them through the shredder. Once shredded, you only see the many colors. Or instead of discarding the wrapping paper from your gifts this year, run it all through the shredder and store with your Christmas decorations to use in gift bags next year.
By Harlean from Arkansas
Paper Bags and Old Christmas Cards
I use plain brown paper bags (large grocery bags or small sandwich bags)cut open to wrap or just to put the gifts in and tape shut. I use old Christmas cards for decorating the bags. Cut out special pictures or verses with crafting scissors and paste on to the bag. Add a little glitter and or a small bow. Use rubber stamps or finger paints and put a child's hand print on the paper. It is fun and can be a family project.
Tableclothes or Fabric
Buy the huge holiday table clothes at the Dollar Tree and use them as wrapping paper. Also the $1/yard fabric at Walmart - either make into reusable gift bags, or use as is as wrapping "paper".
Fabric Gift Bags
I have made gift bags out of fabric, then save them from year to year. This works with family, when the opening present event is here at my house.
Check Big Discount Stores After Christmas
I find shopping the big discount stores the day after Christmas cuts the cost of buying wrapping paper (and many other Christmas things) to be about 1/4 the cost of buying these things just before Christmas.
Use Cheap Craft Paper and Decorate
I recently wrapped several presents in plain brown paper that I bought at a surplus store for $.45 a roll! I decorated them with craft paints and they turned out so cute. You can use markers also or cut out magazine pics, dip in a mixture of Elmer's glue and water and apply them to the package. Your presents will be original if nothing else! It doesn't have to look cheap because you meant to do it.
Recycle Wrapping Paper
Don't forget to recycle wrapping paper afterwards (if you're not refolding it and saving it). All but the metallic paper can be recycled.
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.
Frugal Gift Tags
Glue pictures you have cut out from magazines, coupon ads, etc. onto old/used business cards. Now use them for gift tags!
Watch For Sales
I live on the North Shore in Massachusetts and we have many Building 19's. Right now they are offering 100 foot rolls of Christmas wrapping paper at $1. per roll. What a buy! Markdowns will start soon on the tags and cards so keep your eyes open in the fliers.
Save Pretty Paper Sacks
Every time I get a pretty paper sack from a business, I save it for wrapping paper. This would also work for plastic/mylar bags. Cut off the parts of the paper with print and you have a nice piece of wrapping paper.
Using Tinsel as Basket Filler
Pick up tinsel (icicles) cheap at the after-Christmas sales. Use it next Christmas as "nesting material" for your homemade gifts -- put a layer of tinsel in a Christmas-themed tin, cover with a layer of plastic wrap, then lay your homemade cookies, etc on top. Or use tinsel in a basket you've turned into a themed gift basket -- use the tinsel just like you would use easter grass in an easter basket, and top it with your goodies! Looks very festive and it's CHEAP!
By Becki in Indiana
Frugal Tips From Year to Year
What we do is we buy our wrapping paper from the .99 store and we buy a lot of it. Then we save it for years and years of use by keeping it in an old diaper basket we keep in the shed. Usually, when we buy our paper, we get 3-4 roll packages with multicolor pictures and some we don't even open until the next year! Also, we never buy tags. We take scraps of the paper we use and cut out the different shapes and write the to and from on them! Also, we don't purchase bows either. We create the by hand by holding a ribbon in the middle and wrapping them around our fingers 4-5 times depending on the size of the person's hand making them. Then we fold it in half and cut at an angle in the center to make the center. Then we unfold them and tie them with another piece of ribbon and open the bow by opening the bows by pulling them apart--every other bow going up and down back and forth. They are very fun for children to make!!
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!!
Save Gift Tags With Free Address Labels
I get a lot of free address labels, most of them come with a few gift tags that stick on just like a sticker! Save them all year and you might not have to buy any labels, I didn't!
By Kay N
Buy Clearance Bows After Christmas
Buy a couple of bags of bows after Christmas. If you can find some no-holiday colors, get them. Then you have bows on hand to match any birthday or other occasion gifts.
Foreign Language Newspapers
I search for newspapers in foreign languages that have been left behind at bus stops, coffee houses etc. Asian writing looks especially good. i buy the little plastic flower stem holders,from my florist, the ones that hold water, with the small plastic top. wrap with newsprint, then tie the flower holder on. put a little water in the container and any "live" sprig first.
Saving Gift Bags, Bows And Tissue
I do use gift bags but never buy them. I have a stash of all sizes because I carefully save the bags, bows and even the tissue paper received from gifts. The bags are saved in a see-thru plastic over-the-closet-rod container I bought on sale at a discount house just for that purpose. The tissue paper is smoothed and folded, then housed in a large shirt gift box, and the bows are stored in another box on a shelf. If tissue paper is too wrinkled, iron it on top of a bath towel before reusing. Sometimes I use several different colored tissue papers in a gift bag for more visual impact.
Green Alternative for Wrapping
For this next Christmas, I am not going to wrap my presents in paper or put them in paper gift bags instead I am making cloth gift bags so I can save on buying paper and I won't be using any paper that will eventually wind up in a landfill.
Almost any lightweight paper can be used to make curly decorations on top of a package. First cut the paper into narrow strips. Next run it between your thumb and the edge of a scissors, just like you would with "curling ribbon."
I have not tried this with strips from a paper shredder. It might be too thin and would break easily.
Thrifty Gift Wrap
For gift wrap, don't overlook your possibilities: newsprint, postal paper, architectural drawings or maps.
By Terri H.
Plain kraft paper or white rolls of paper look cute if decorated with a child's handprint or with rubber stamps. I have also found that you can't beat the cost of both cards and gift wrap from the mail order catalog Current. Their large rolls are very economical.
I always save mylar balloons. Cut around the edge and you have two round pieces of wrapping paper. You can place the gift in the center, then pull the paper up and tie with a piece of curling ribbon also saved from that balloon bouquet. I have wrapped bridal or house warming gifts in bath towels and dish towels. The last lingerie shower gift I gave was a matching black bra, panties and half slip. I put the bra and half slip in a white shirt box then stretched the panties from corner to corner on the outside of the box in place of a bow.
Buy Plain Gift Bags on Sale
Instead of buying lots of different kinds of gift bags, buy them in solid colors of various types and sizes when you see them on sale. Then buy various themes of tissue paper to use to fit different occasions. You can find tissue paper of various themes at dollar stores. Also, buy an all occasion box of gift cards for when you need them. I found some the other day at the dollar store where I got 20 for $2.00. With all the gift giving at my house with my kids, husband for co-workers, etc. this really saves money. Take care and blessings!
Exchange Homemade Gift Bags
I do not buy wrapping paper. I make my own bags out of material. the best idea is to get everyone making bags in the family and that way the bags are always rotating. In my house, all 3 of us use homemade bags.
Have Little Crafters Decorate
If you have little crafters in the family, use Christmas stencils on paper bags and a sprig of holly or pine bough and small cone to sit on the top this way you recycle and have a work of art signed by the artist. You won't need a name tag just write on the paper!