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I've been collecting inexpensive cloth tote bags for gifts. I buy these tote bags at grocery stores and thrift shops. They cost $1 or $2. I put birthday and Christmas gifts inside the reusable tote, instead of a gift bag or wrapping paper. I'm saving money, recycling, and the recipient gets a handy cloth or recycled tote bag. I've picked up some really nifty tote bags over the summer.
By Christine from Dover, DE
I love the holidays, but I really don't like wrapping gifts and bags can get expensive to buy.
So now I use cloth or Tyvek shopping bags (like the ones found in all stores' check outs) to wrap gifts.
Look for ones that have great designs (they are cheaper then buying paper gift bags and stronger too!)
I went to an online printer and purchased 5 of them, adding a photo of a painting I had painted, but you can even add a photo of a family member or pet for personalized bags. Great memories or laughs too!
You can use them again and again each year too.
Here's a gift wrap idea for you. Years ago when my church gave a baby shower for a young woman in dire straits, I was helping an older lady pick up the gift wrap and get it ready to be tossed. I was middle aged at the time and she was probably the age I am now. After we filled up 2 toilet paper cartons, we both declared we would never spend another nickel on gift wrap.
On a few occasions, I have used the gift bags which I recycle. Mostly, if I am going to a wedding shower, I wrap it either in kitchen or bath towels and use a tuffy scrubber for a bow. Everyone needs safety pins so you can use those to secure it instead of scotch tape. For a baby shower, use a crib sheet or blanket and a rattle or small toy for the bow. You can use diaper pins instead of scotch tape to hold everything in place. All of it is usable and nothing will be thrown away.
You can use gift bags not directly related to the occasion with some ingenuity. I cut out candy images from an advertising mailing and put them on non-Christmas bags to make them more festive. This way I can use pink and violet bags, for example. Candy colors, no? Think of sugar plums!
You could save old greeting cards and paste/tape them onto gift bags or store bags. (I touched up the slight wear on a metallic bag with a permanent magic marker - They are wonderful!)
Collect colorful magazine images and newspaper ads, etc. and crumple instead of tissue. Coordinate with the colors of the gift bag(s).
P.S. Did you know that you can IRON tissue paper on a very LOW iron to refresh it? And many ribbons can also be ironed, just make sure you don't try that on the lurex (metallic) ones, as they might melt!
By pam munro from L.A., CA
Fabric is a great reusable wrapping paper solution. It is a sustainable and thrifty gift wrap choice. You have to spend a little more up front, but as long as you get most of the wrapping fabric back, you can continue to reuse it for years to come.
My daughter in law has been going through the granddaughter's toys and arranging them by type, like Barbie's, etc. She purchased some plastic bins of different sizes for this task.
I wanted to use a reusable wrapping for this small gift. The wrapping is made out of the silky fabric of a book cover.
Decorated Gift Container Instructions. Give your gifts in this huge WOW factor container.Cover the container with contact paper to eliminate any label. Alternatively, spray or craft paint the container and let dry.
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Sustainable, reusable shopping bags, that all stores now offer with their logo, make great and very reasonable gift bags. The grocery bag costs $2.00 or less, decorator gift bags can cost as much as $7.00 to $10.00. The best part is the grocery bag can be reused many more time than paper. The proposed tax on traditional paper or plastic grocery bags makes this gift idea even more economical.
Source:My own idea. It started out as a joke with a Good Will bag for my sister's birthday.
By Barbara from WI
I've actually done this myself, it's a great idea and everyone needs reusable bags! :) Thanks for sharing (06/11/2009)
I have done this several times. First time was when I bought a baby gift at BabysRUs and saw their reuseable bag. Bought the bag and put the gift in it and gave it to the new mother at the shower. I told my daughter and she's done it also since then. Great at a wedding shower too.
Target's bags are really pretty. Makes a lot of sense and saves money to boot. (06/20/2010)
I have done this for years, first with the paper and now with the plastic. If I don't care for the logo, I make something fitting and glue it on. Looks better than bought! (06/20/2010)
Great Idea! I've been making my own reuseable grocery bags from crocheting, making some out of Tshirts and other things which would normally be given away or tossed. Your idea has given me a way to share what I am making. Two gifts for one! (06/20/2010)
By Dee Terry
deethundercloud, making and gifting Reusable shopping bags is a great idea!
This is a great idea. I am a reuser at heart; can't believe I never thought of this. Especially good if you are bringing groceries to someone's home to cook or bake something for them. (06/20/2010)
I can't claim to have done this before, but wish I had thought of it and I will do it now because it is a fab idea! (06/20/2010)
"Great mind's think alike" ; ) I'm been doing this myself for sometime. Perhaps others will catch on as well. Nice to see it posted. (06/20/2010)
Great idea! I have begun to see some stores don't have their actual logo on the cheaper bags. Gonna do this one! (06/20/2010)
Such a good idea. I will definitely use this tip! Actually, I quit buying the gift bags last year. I started buying the clearance tote bags and started putting the gifts in those. They can be reused and are great for picnics, overnight bags, book bags or whatever and cost the same as a gift bag. I hated paying $5-10 for gift bags, using them once and having them thrown away. This store bags are an even better idea. (06/20/2010)
Three thumbs up. Thank's for posting this great idea. (06/20/2010)
Why buy packaging boxes for money? Instead of throwing away packaging boxes (such as cereal boxes, cake boxes or any box that is clean on inside), I save them for use in gift wrapping any items that need boxes. I normally decoupage on top to make it special or wrap in newspaper and ribbon. But as an idea, why not let the children collage on top then use the box for great personalized packaging for $0.
By cara from Kent OH
We use them also but we take them apart at the seams and turn inside out for the plain brown side. You can then refold them and glue them as they were using the folds already there. You can still decorate as you want. Thanks for sharing. (11/05/2009)
By Ann Winberg
I've been doing this for years. I use jello boxes for tiny items, of course cereal boxes. Also bath soap boxes. I also use the laundry detergent boxes which are very sturdy and have a handle. I just wrap them in wrapping paper and it's an instant gift bag and reusable for storage. (11/05/2009)
By Ivette Farah
I thought every body did this! Look how many people you've enlightened! It's a great green way to go, too. (11/03/2010)
I cut up cereal boxes and use them to drain grease when frying food. (11/03/2010)
I am so in love with this idea! Thanks for posting, and I am going to personalize them for each child! I love this so much you and inspired me on to new heights!
By Robyn Fed
Instead of investing in paper gift bags, that are usually used one time, I purchase re-usable totes from various stores!
s I am not a gift wrapper, I usually buy my Christmas gift bags from the Dollar Store, and of course they are $1.00 each.
Instead of using wrapping paper or paper gift bags I use reusable grocery tote bags. I watch for bags which do not have printed advertisements on them.
For Christmas gift wrapping this year, I purchased some of the recycle bags that stores are selling now, canvas and usually green, the cost is usually a dollar.