Updated on 12.15.09

How I Wrap Gifts, Christmas and Otherwise

Trent Hamm

Melanie writes in:

Between the wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, tags, and other things, I’ve often spent $20-25 on just wrapping the gifts at Christmastime. This seems silly. How do you wrap presents? I’m sure you’ve got a less expensive way.

To me, the purpose of wrapping paper is simply to disguise gifts from the receiver while at least looking moderately visually interesting – nothing more, nothing less. I don’t see the purpose in spending lots of money on the “perfect” wrapping paper or on elegant ribbons when they’re going to wind up being a big pile of trash on Christmas morning.

Instead, here’s my Christmas wrapping strategy. All told, I’ll spend about $4 on materials and those materials will provide more than enough for several Christmases.

The gift

In the picture above, I’m about to wrap a copy of the video game Nintendogs for my eight year old niece (her parents might read The Simple Dollar, but I’m pretty sure she does not). I’m going to wrap it in plain brown paper, the type you would use for packaging things to mail via the Postal Service or UPS.

You can get an enormous roll of such paper for just a couple dollars. Even better, you can get brown paper at the store by requesting paper bags and trimming off the bottoms of the bags. Starting in about September, I start requesting such bags at the store so that I can give the bags a second life.


Here it is, all wrapped up. A little secret: I took pictures of several presents being wrapped and this one turned out the best – I’m not exactly a gift-wrapping expert, even though I’ve done it many times.

This looks fine, but it is a bit drab. Surely, there’s something we can do to color it up a little…


Yarn is what I use. You can buy an enormous amount of it for a very low price (the depicted roll cost less than a dollar) and it adds a certain homespun flair that just isn’t captured with ribbons.

It’s very easy to use yarn to add flair to your package.

About seven times

To measure the length of yarn, I wrap it around the gift about three and a half full loops, or about seven times the average length of the package. It might be a little long, but you can trim off excess. I prefer to go longer than I need than to go too short.

After I cut off an appropriate length, I spread out the yarn in a straight line on the table, then set the package face-down in the middle of the piece of yarn. I pick up the two ends and…

The back

… loop them together like so. Then, I turn the package over, tie a simple bow on the front (one that can be opened with a good tug, basically the same knot as is used to tie shoes), and I’m finished with the wrapping.


I like the big, floppy bow look – you may not. If you want a shorter bow, just tug on the ends of the bow until the loops are as short as you like, then trim the long ends. You could also use very long ends to make a lot of loops for a more decorative bow, if you’d like.

I personally really like the aesthetics. It calls to mind the old Rodgers and Hammerstiein tune … little brown packages tied up with string / these are a few of my favorite things.

What about the name?

Final gift

I simply write it on the package in black marker, no fuss, no muss. You may also choose to write it on the back so the front looks undisturbed by the ink – whatever you’d like.

If you use paper bags from the store, the cost of such wrapping is approaching free – you’re using a tiny fractional amount of a roll of tape and of the yarn bundle and that’s all. Even if you’re using a roll of packaging paper, the cost is still far below what one might spend on typical wrapping paper.

Other ideas to consider:

Have grandchildren decorate packages for grandparents. Give them some markers and have them decorate such a package to their heart’s content.

Use the comic pages from the Sunday newspaper for children’s presents. Just save them for a few weeks and you’ll have plenty.

Print your own designs on the brown paper. Measure off a size that your printer can handle and print a design right on the brown paper. This works really well for smaller gifts.

Good luck!

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...
  1. Des says:

    We just wait until a few days after Christmas when the 75% off sales hit and stock up for next year.

  2. Vicky says:

    I just use the comics from the newspaper :p

  3. Dave says:

    +1 to Vicky. My parents used to just use the funny pages.

  4. Holly says:

    Other ideas:

    1. Save gift bags. I have probably 100+ gift bags in all sizes/colors – for all kinds of occasions – simply because I save the ones I receive (if they’re in good condition). I have so many at this point that I doubt I’ll ever need to purchase packaging again.

    2. Brown paper is good, but (imo) boring unless you jazz it up a bit. I do this with stamps (cheap foam ones). Or – when my baby was small, I’d also use his footprints for gifts to the grandparents and such – they loved that. As he gets older, we’ll probably do some handprints and drawing on the paper.

    3. I’ve found rolls of holiday wrapping paper for pennies on the dollar at garage sales.

    4. I save bows too; but I don’t use them very often. I tend to use ribbon more than anything. Buy it on sale – it’s pretty cheap.

  5. Henry says:

    Requesting paper bags from the grocery when you normally don’t? If you make your bag choice at the grocer an environmental one, and you have decided plastic is better, getting paper bags part of the year is not a good substitute. The bags are so much heavier than any wrapping paper, and after they’re sliced up, the bottoms, top perforated edges and parts of the seams have to wind up in the garbage without a second life. You may be able to wrap one gift with a bag. If you’re giving a toaster, coffeemaker or $400 game system, you’d be patching bag pieces together and wind up with something pretty sloppy looking.
    As a kid my family was never one to wrap gifts, nor do we wrap now. We all had sense enough to realize giving objects that came in packages was not the point of the holidays, and that Christmas doesn’t have Christian roots. Sure, there was gift buying for the children so they would feel normal in comparison to their peers, but it was either cash in an envelope or they were taken to the store and allowed to pick things out until they spent a certain amount.
    However, we have found ourselves in situations where we had to bring a wrapped gift to parties or the like, especially company affairs, or not be able to go (which would have been no loss if not for the free food and open bar, and a chance to hear juicy pieces of gossip from lubricated co-workers). In those cases, we just used newspaper (I don’t get color comics in mine, so yeah, b & w newsprint) to conceal the gifts. It works because a big sheet of newsprint covers those sorts of gifts with plenty of room. I’ve never had anyone that was being given something for free complain about the wrapping.

  6. bethany says:

    I’ve seen people use foam or rubber stamps to decorate brown paper, or make their own potato stamps (this is a time-consuming messy craft project, probably best reserved for people who enjoy this activity as entertainment).

  7. geoff says:

    Craft/brown paper is great … but be warned both UPS and FedEx are starting to reject packages wrapped in it. I’ve run into this situation twice in the last month.

    They want their own envelopes and boxes (or similar) used. The rationale I’ve been given is “handling”.

  8. Anne KD says:

    Even drawing squiggles and doodles on brown or light-colored kraft paper with crayons or colored markers is good, and less messy than dyes/paints and stamps. :) I keep a roll of light-colored kraft paper around for when nieces/nephews come over, and a bowl of crayons. The same roll occasionally gets used for wrapping presents.

  9. kat says:

    A great idea for family gifts if you sew at all is to make drawstring reusable bags out of fabric. You can use leftovers from projects you have done, or purchase colorful sheets at your local thrift store. The idea behind this is that all of the family members reuse the bags each year. You could also use different prints for baby showers, birthdays, and so on. My friend’s mom has done this for years, and there are at least 3 dozen different sized fabric bags in pretty colors being exchanged among her family.

  10. Monica says:

    Trent – where do you get your enormous rolls of kraft brown paper? I have yet to find a good source.

    I use holiday stamps with red and green stamp pads to decorate the kraft brown paper, and I use colored or natural raffia string to keep the look natural. I have also been known to take a fresh cut flower or greens and tie it in with the raffia. I save any ribbons of any kind that I receive, as well as gift bags.

    I am also known to use comic paper for my gifts, too – especially for kids!

  11. Kristen says:

    @kat. My family did this when I was a kid. We would buy Christmas material on super sale after Christmas to make bags for the next year. This alternative is still not that economical unless you get your family in on it.

  12. Walt says:

    I just buy wrapping paper at the dollar store. A few bucks will get you all you need.

  13. Enh, I think it’s a personal choice, but I’m going to say that for most people (myself included of course) I’m not with you on this.

    It seems pretty cheap, especially since there are a lot of inexpensive options that will look pretty (wrapping paper is NOT costly). No you don’t need to buy arm-and-leg wrapping paper from The Papyrus, but unless you’re a) a bachelor guy and b) an engineer, I just don’t think brown paper cuts it, especially if you’re wrapping a present for someone who isn’t a clueless guy engineer. Maybe with a pretty bow, but yarn? Sorry Trent, I wonder why your wife hasn’t banished you from present-wrapping by now, I would have! (and I think you’re great, so this is a very isolated banishment!)

    I guess for me (admittedly artistic/creative with a strong tendency for visual beauty) it comes down to this: Why bother with a present at all, if you don’t value the person enough to make it look nice? A $5 well-chosen book in a pretty wrapping conveys all kinds of warm fuzzies. A $50 gift in weird paper that looks like you just rummaged through the cupboard under the sink at the last minute? Not so much with the warm fuzzies. Now, if you know that you’re gifting someone practical (and a bachelor engineer guy) who doesn’t like fancy trappings, go with the newspaper – but probably for most people (especially of the female persuasion! We like pretty things just *because* they’re pretty, even if totally useless! Why does this surprise you at present time?) you should stick with the cultural norm of pretty wrapping paper.

    Oh, and #5 Henry? While you were laughing at your drunk coworkers, most of them were and probably still are wondering about your weird gift wrapping. “I’ve never had anyone that was being given something for free complain about the wrapping.” Right, that’s because they have class. However, since they also gave something away “for free”, they had expectations of what they in turn would get – and you didn’t meet them, I can pretty much guarantee. Newspaper to a work function?? Really?? Do you not care about your professional reputation at all??

    Sorry, going cheap on presents only works if it is done with an inversely proportionate amount of consideration. Newspaper ain’t it, not at all. Brown paper with yarn, maybe, although it still doesn’t scream “I value so much, and I hope you love what I’m giving you”. Again, this is cheap that doesn’t need to be cheap – just buy the bloody $3 roll of wrapping paper! Even make it generic (striped or polka-dotted or flowered in neutral non-holiday colors) so you can use it at birthdays and such later.

  14. Kate says:

    I use this method and have made (and kept for future use) our own stamps to decorate. We cut them out of sponges using cookie cutters as templates and then sponge paint decorate to our hearts content. If you use metallic craft paint ($.75 a bottle) they end up looking very impressive.

  15. BirdDog says:

    Wow, Trent, this is just sad. I like to be frugal myself but the brown paper by itself looks much better than that tacky yarn bow. Hit up a Walgreens about a week after Christmas, you can get wrapping paper for about 50 cents a roll. Surely that would look better than what you have showcased above. The comics from the newspaper make a cute gift wrapping.

    I’m not one to get caught up in being super fancy but this is frugality gone mad. I often buy discounted wrapping paper after the holiday and try to get a roll or two that doesn’t look too holiday-ish to use for birthday, wedding, anniversary gifts.

  16. Jenny says:

    I grab a free Chinese newspaper from the row of free publications around the corner from my apartment — it looks really cool, and, well, it’s free! My Christmas presents look pretty nice, I have to say.

  17. EGD says:

    I’m frugal and I LOVE to wrap, and wrap well! This year I purchased only the tape necessary and wrapped all our gifts from my stash — wrap, tags and ribbon purchased 90% off, my folder of wrapping paper scraps saved from ends of rolls, gift bags saved from years past, ornaments from our “give to Goodwill” collection as package tie-ons. Everything in my stash was either FREE or MUCH cheaper than even Kraft paper and yarn.

    My best tip is to wrap your biggest presents first — if you end up trimming down a large sheet of paper, you can use the smaller pieces to wrap smaller things. My mom and I like to save our scraps and trade them every couple years, so we each get lots of variety to work with. We also always save bows, and trade those back and forth until they fall apart.

    On-clearance purchases totaling less than $5 per YEAR is all I’ve ever spent on wrapping gifts, and I definitely get more than $5 of enjoyment from it.

  18. Lilian says:

    When I get a gift I always keep the wrapping paper and ribbons!

  19. Anastasia says:

    I second the idea of buying wrapping paper and bows, ribbon, etc, on sale after Christmas.

  20. Henry says:

    @ #13 tentaculistic I worked in a factory and couldn’t stand the majority of those people, and they knew it. So no, I did not care what they thought. I wasn’t laughing at my drunk co-workers, I was listening for the drunks to tell private and professional secrets so I could tuck the info away for later use to either start a fight or just embarass someone. Middle management that could actually affect my job made it a point to never attend those parties, since they were recruited from our ranks and the raucous atmosphere could easily lure them back to questionable behaviour. Senior Management was present though, and they could care less what happened with those on the ground floor as long as the money came in. I’m sure they would only show for the freebies and to make sure they got what they paid for from the caterers. They sure didn’t socialize with anyone outside of their income level. After about the fourth one of these parties, they had to suspend them due to the excess drinking, arguing and nudity. I hear they all get a ham now for Christmas, and now argue over who got a bigger one.
    It’s now been two years since I’ve seen any of those people that I wasn’t friends with outside of work. So no, I could care less what they thought of me. As soon as I set my vacation down on the schedule, they would run to plan a pitch-in dinner for every lunch break everyday I wasn’t going to be there.

  21. Amy says:

    I agree that frugality doesn’t have to mean plain, ugly, or downright sloppy. Brown craft paper can look lovely if dressed up with a bit of stamping or something, but I have to say, I would at least make the effort to write the names in a pretty script with a flourish or two! (I don’t want to be insulting, but with that printing, I honestly wasn’t sure if Trent printed it or one of his kids did.)

    Wrapping paper is super inexpensive at the dollar store. Wrapping paper handled carefully can even be reused once or twice. A pretty fabric sack can be used year after year. As one commenter suggested above, gift bags received can be reused.

    But what I see in the photo? To me, that’s depriving everyone of the pleasure of seeing pretty packages, wrapped with care, which really IS part of the whole experience.

  22. Michelle says:

    I’m not a fan of this. I think newsprint is kind of low-class (my SIL does this and it bugs the heck outta me, it’s like she doesn’t care enough to actually find something nice to wrap with). Brown paper is better, but with a nice bow. At least make it look like you tried. Wrapping paper doesn’t cost that much!

    I paid 99 cents a roll at the party supply store ($3), and then $2.50 at Wally World for some ribbon. I made my own bows, which look better than the pre-made bows and are not hard (tutorials are all over the internet). Most stores will give you gift boxes when you buy things (one store gave me 7 boxes for just buying a shirt!). I don’t know who is spending $20-$30 on wrapping paper and bows, but you’re not doing it right. I spend around $10 total and my gifts look nice.

    Inexpensive wrapping and beauty are not mutually exclusive, you just have to be creative.

    Sorry Trent but your wrapping screams one thing to me, LAZY.

  23. Matt Jabs says:

    Very solid idea. I’m going to work to convince my wife that this is the way to go… and see if I can sway her by the time Christmas rolls around.

    I think I’ll tell her that whatever we save in gift wrapping cost, we will put toward a day at the spa for her…

    Ha ha, now we’re talkin! :-)

  24. Jon says:

    Wow, so some of you don’t care how crappy the gift is as long as it is wrapped nicely?
    I agree the yarn is a bit much unless you can do it right, but I don’t see any problem with using brown paper or newspaper or whatever else you have. In fact, I prefer thick brown paper in order to prevent rips in the paper while transporting it.

  25. ChrisD says:

    I think brown paper is lovely, certainly because of the song, ‘brown paper parcels wrapped up with string’. However, nowadays the post doesn’t like you using string as other things get caught in it.
    When I moved and had to take the absolute minimum I gave away all my pretty wrapping paper, but I did bring the brown paper as it is functional for stuff you have to post as well as useable for wrapping paper. When I wrapped some presents in this with some pretty ribbons (tip use more than one ribbon in matching colours) I still got compliments on the wrapping. Or if you find some nice old lace to wrap the parcel, with maybe some home dried roses or lavender.
    You certainly don’t need to spend a fortune on wrapping but you can do a bit better than yarn. Though off cuts of very fancy fluffy wool might work quite nicely.

  26. Cara says:

    Huh. I kind of like the brown paper and the yarn- it’s cute.

  27. Chelsea says:

    I don’t know if this is tacky or not, but we are wrapping all our gifts in copies of The Onion this year. I thought it would be fun for everyone to read the story on their gift as they were opening it.

  28. Johanna says:

    I’m in the “wrapping paper is not that expensive” camp, and I vastly prefer the look of a nice, tasteful Christmas-themed gift wrap to plain brown paper or newspaper. Tags aren’t that expensive either, but you can eliminate the need for them by choosing a gift wrap pattern that has large, light-colored areas that you can write on. I don’t bother with ribbons or bows, most of the time.

    I think the single biggest thing you can do to save money on gift wrap is to pay attention to the size of the roll when you’re buying it. The rolls may look the same size, be the same price, and be sold from the same bin, but with the fancy, foily, “premium” patterns, you only get a tiny fraction of what you can get for the same price if you choose a more basic pattern.

  29. Adam says:

    Admittedly I don’t wrap a lot, 10-15 gifts a xmas or so, but for about $10 CDN I can get enough wrapping paper to last me 2 Christmases, and the paper is very nice and colorful and cheerful. To each their own, but I don’t think saving $5/ year is worth having brown grocery bags as my wrapping paper. Christmas is supposed to be special. *shrug*

  30. Tom says:

    Yes Trent, where did you find the roll of brown paper for very little money?! Once I get some, I’m wrapping my gifts up in brown paper and twine.

  31. Anne says:

    #20 Henry – surely you meant to say that you could NOT care less?

  32. Noadi says:

    I like the look of brown paper and packing twine for the gifts I give. Very classic and pretty so I like to do that. As long as you wrap it neatly it’ll look great. I always have card stock or manila filing envelopes on hand, cut into squares and punch a hole and you have a nice tag. Using a rubber stamp to add a nice design will dress it up a little.

    However I also offer gift wrapping for my customers and that is a little more colorful. Dollar stores and post Xmas sales are great for stocking up on wrapping paper, tissue paper, tape, and ribbon. I buy solid or geometric patterns like stripes only, that way they’re appropriate for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, etc. Takes planning in advance and a place to store the wrapping supplies but works great.

  33. Hannah says:

    That red yarn is seriously depressing. Poor Hannah. In my family, wrapping is part of our tradition, so giving a gift without making any effort would be akin to handing someone a $20 bill with out a card or anything. I only spent $1 last January at the dollar store to buy a few rolls of wrapping paper on clearance. The important thing is that I am going to put some effort into selecting which print matches each personality.

    I used to write the names out in silver ink, but now I look for small tags or cards on the internet that I can print out, to add more personality.

  34. Rebecca says:

    Eek, the thought of using newsprint makes me shudder a little. Have you ever look at your hands after handling newspaper? Ink all over! Giving it to a kid dressed up in nice Christmas clothing … not a great combo.

  35. Gretchen says:

    Not only does this look cheap as heck, wrapping paper on sale (there will be Christmas 2010, too!) would probably be cheaper.

    I still use bows from my childhood, too. Just never remove the sticky part and tape it on. That’s one of those things I thought all families did.

  36. cookie says:

    I have some red/silver/white yarn that my mom bought 15 years ago to make some kind of craft. It looks a little classier than the plain red, and my mom thinks it’s funny that I still use it. Otherwise, I reuse gift bags and their enclosed tissue paper as much as possible. Torn/damaged gift bags can be cut into flat wrapping paper, although it is a bit thick and difficult to work with. Tissue paper, wrapped multiple times around the gift, works well. I always save ribbons and bows and ask people to give me theirs instead of throwing them out.

  37. KC says:

    I just buy cheap wrapping paper (on sale or after Christmas) and wrap presents that are already in boxes. Each year we save boxes, bows, and gift bags and reuse them the following year. I can’t remember when the last time I bought wrapping supplies was.

    It helps that we don’t buy many gifts period. My husband and I might buy each other 1 or 2 things at most. This year we traveled so that was our gift to each other. His brothers and Dad usually get CDs or DVDs which can easily be wrapped with a minimum of paper. His mom, my parents and sister might just go in gift bags.

  38. David says:

    They’d have to be fairly large gift bags, or their feet would stick out and that would give the show away.

  39. Henry says:

    @ 31 Anne. No, not really. To say ‘I could care less…’ is fairly common here, proper or not. To take the time to put the ‘not’ in there would just take away from the cadence of the statement.

    @ 34 Rebecca. Some newspapers leave ink on the hands, some don’t. Besides, why does everyone have to assume the idea is no good because it’s not good for kids? Many of us are childfree by choice and will also have a lovely childfree Christmas. I love newspapers, and know a variety of them very intimately. Your weekly small town papers are most prone to leaving ink, your more mid-sized, six day a week publications less likely to do so, and your big city dailies will likely leave no ink traces at all.

  40. ChrisD says:

    Forgot to say, printing out a photo on plain white paper, in a repeat pattern is a great way of getting personalised wrapping paper for small presents. This way the recipient is the subject of the photo.

  41. Patty says:

    I’m in the wrapping a present is important camp along with not spending a fortune on the bit n’ pieces to get it wrapped.

    My family re-uses pre-decorated boxes. I took an ordinary brown cardboard box, hinged the top so it was one piece, and then went into my stash and took the fronts of greeting cards (by topic – like santa’s for kids) and glued them to the box. The whole box is decorated and it has become a tradition of who is going to get the box each year.

    Happy Holidays to everyone!

    Trent – I’ll crochet you some ‘ribbons’. It can help dress up the wrapping!

  42. Bobby says:

    Thanks for the post.
    I have to agree when it comes to wrapping a gift. I like wrap it so it looks nice but I don’t think going all out is really the best way to go about it. If I want to pay big bucks I will take it all to the mall and have them wrap it there. Usually it is for charity. Write off!

  43. kat says:

    as for the cost of the fabric bags, it is very cheap, a king size sheet at the local thrift store is only 4 dollars, and you can make a LOT of drawstring bags out of one. Also you can make ones for small presants with fabric you have left over from sewing projects. You can even make the drawstrings yourself out of leftover fabric. I think that the total cost of the ones in my friends family was around $15.00, and they have been passed back and forth for over ten years.

  44. Diane says:

    Trent,buddy, the brown craft paper is fine but the yarn bow…not so much! Go to Walmart and buy a giant roll of curling ribbon with about 500 yards for $2. Choose the right color and you can use it for birthdays too.

  45. Rosa Rugosa says:

    For non-christmas gifts, I’ve been using leftover red rosin paper from our hardwood floor installation project. Pretty shade of pink, and heavy, high-quality paper.

  46. Julie says:

    This is definitely not for me. I bought a large roll of paper from costco three years ago and am still working on it. It is multicolored and works for any occasion. I use it for anything and everything, including christmas gifts. With the number of gifts I have wrapped so far, and with half the roll left, I am sure it is cheaper (and way more attractive) than the brown paper. The yarn is just sad and depressing lol I would feel bad getting this gift as I would feel the person giving it could not afford it.

  47. Leah says:

    I agree with the naysayers on this one! For me, part of the joy of the holiday season is seeing the packages wrapped prettily under the tree. I buy all my wrapping supplies at Hobby Lobby, which is great about having ALL of their Christmas stuff marked 50% off BEFORE Christmas.

    I just can’t stomach the thought of having only brown packages and yarn under my tree!

  48. k says:

    I think this is charming, and do think it is the gift and the thought that makes giving special, not the package that the gift is wrapped in. I don’t remember wrapping paper from gifts received last year or 10 years ago, but I do remember the gifts.

  49. Kate says:

    I concur with #48k and want to add that my method of gift wrapping is this: I buy the reusable cloth tote bags from Target and then I put the gift in and staple the bag shut. The bag is festive (Target prints cute designs on them), inexpensive –$1.00, and best of all it’s reusable and doesn’t end up in the landfill with all the wrapping paper…

  50. Dena Bugel-Shunra says:

    Thanks for posting this! We do the same thing, and I end up having a great time each year, trying to come up with a new twist/theme to jazz up the inside-out paper bag-based wrappings.

    I add stickers & (very) primitive art, I write limericks and love notes on the packages… I end up having more fun wrapping than buying :-)

  51. jess says:

    #1: the proper term for yarn as depicted above is skein, not roll.

    #2: I do plain paper, but I buy plain metallic gift wrap, which is available in large rolls cheaply (although not quite as cheaply as the butcher paper), but is a bit classier.

  52. Bill says:

    I don’t know how to sew or the costs involved, but would it be reasonable to make those re-usable grocery bags and use them for presents?

  53. Gwen says:

    I like the brown paper and string. I am going to use it this year. I think it looks nice.

  54. mstreemn says:

    we have been using gift bags and tissue that we save year to year. I think some of them are reaching the decade mark…we just divide them up again the recycled bag is part of the fun. We do a white elephant exchange with a $5 limit. We play group games instead because we only see each other every few years. We travel long distances “home” so gifts are not practical. We explained to everyone many years ago that we could afford to travel to see everyone or send small presents not both.

  55. Todd says:

    I like beautifully wrapped presents too. I always tell the story of spending a fortune on gifts for my daughter’s first Christmas, and all I could get her to play with was the wrapping paper and bows! We have photos with all those toys in the background and her surrounded by all the gift wrap. Now, for Christmas especially, I’ll skimp a little on the cost of the gifts in exchange for the beautiful packages under the tree. Same goes for parties. I guess it depends on what the recipient would like and what the occasion is.

    Great post for the season though, Trent!

  56. Sheila says:

    I make cloth bags out of Christmas material that’s on sale after the holidays along with ribbon material. We can reuse them for years. It’s pretty labor intensive, however, the first time you make them. I also reuse paper gift bags–we have fun crossing out the TO and FROM on the stickers and writing in new names. We only do that with family, of course, because others would think it’s pretty tacky, I’m sure.

  57. Michele says:

    I always buy single colored wrapping paper at the after Christmas sales. The ginormous rolls are super cheap and with different colored ribbon can be used for birthday and other type of gifts. I am also in the camp of beautifully decorated gifts. I try to put my personal flair on them- I use raffia from other gifts, pretty bits of wire ribbon I received on other gifts, stamps, glitter I get at garage sales as well as berries from winter bushes and greens from the bottom of the tree.I also watch for sales on cool stuff like chinese take out boxes that I can stamp or glue pretty colored ribbons and such. You can be frugal and creative and make the gift look as wonderful on the outside as it is on the inside!

  58. Tamara says:

    I do many of the things that have been listed:
    – re-use gift bags and boxes that I have received
    – use newspaper
    – use brown or white paper that comes in packages ordered in the mail, then I stamp or paint or draw on them
    – ribbon, twine, string, and yarn
    – old buttons and flowers from the dollar store to “pretty” it up

    I am a crafter/scrapbooker, so I have *lots* of different types of paper and ink and paint and embellishments to use.

  59. What’s your address? I’ll mail you some wrapping paper, we have plenty. ;-)

  60. Jules says:

    Remind me to make a few cloth bags this year…that’s a good hint.

    But I have to agree–the brown paper and yarn looks tacky and cheap. I’ll grant you that expending serious effort wrapping presents is usually not time well-spent, but that doesn’t mean it should look like you forgot about wrapping until the last minute.

    I get some cheap “balloon” ribbon, a sheet or two of contact paper, and a new permanent marker. Curl a couple ribbons, cut a shape out of the contact paper, and write person’s name on the contact paper. Assemble on the wrapped present. It looks really classy.

    We solve the gift wrap problem by buying gift wrap throughout the year. We usually stick to gold-themed wrap, and buy it whenever it’s on sale.

  61. Carmen says:

    Brown paper packages tied up with strings
    These are few of my favourite things…

  62. evi says:

    I wrap presents in newspaper – for ecological reasons, I don’t see the sense in producing paper solely for the purpose of being thrown away. Therefore, I think getting brown paper-bags from stores is not a good idea (unless you used the bags before but then they will be wrinkled). I also use brown paper for wrapping because I like the look (and maybe I am Austrian and know that half the US is expecting me to eat Schnitzel with noodles and crisp applestrudels – HA! ;->). However, my family-in-law gets their presents in nice wrapping-paper because they like it that way and I don’t want to hurt their feelings or come across as disrespectful. They wouldn’t understand the newspaperwrapping and think I don’t care for them. Therefore, I live the compromise and wrap presents according to the recipient.

  63. The yarn really does it–nice touch!!

    And nice technique on the wrapping! I ship packages all the time and I still suck at wrapping!

  64. Pattie, RN says:

    Love your blog, Trent, but I agree with all the other posters who give a giant thumbs down to this idea! Part of the joy of Christmas is the sight of sparkly gifts under the tree, even knowing that most are socks, PJ’s, and office supplies!!!

    Like others, I stock up the week after Christmas for 50-90% off. I just don’t care for the idea of gifts looking like a nice pork tenderloin from the butcher shop……..

  65. Peggy says:

    My wrapping is part of the gift. A cookbook wrapped in an apron, kitchen tools wrapped in a new tea towel, etc. The kids usually get a new outfit or two, and those serve as the “wrapping” for their other gifts.

    We have a small town newspaper that regularly runs low on their large roll of paper. If you ask, they will usually give you the remainder end of the roll. The printing press won’t accept a roll with too little on it, so they have to change the roll before it’s all the way used. One year we used that remainder for ALL our wrapping. Add glue, glitter, stickers, potato stamps and ink and we had not just wrapping paper, but a whole day of fun making it!

  66. Jill says:

    I liked the yarn when I thought you were wrapping it multiple times around the package. Three+ times around looked WAY nicer than just the one time.

    The bow could use some oomph. Maybe like a pom-pom? Hold a lot of loops together, tie the middle, and then cut the loops on either side. Secure it to the strings you have wrapped around, and now there’s some volume!

  67. Melanie H says:

    I really like the “rustic” look of the plain paper & yarn. I think the idea of getting the kids to draw on the grandparents wrapping paper would be very nice.

  68. Anna says:

    Yes, a well-chosen gift deserves to be well dressed. It’s part of the experience of giving and receiving presents. But wrapping need not be costly.

    In my time (ahem) we saved the gift wrap paper and reused it, and reused it, and reused it. We never used tape, which would have torn the wrapping during removal, and we unwrapped packages carefully so as to preserve the paper. Ironing the paper on the wrong side with a warm iron took out last year’s wrinkles. Ribbon in those days (ahem, again) was satin or grosgrain, so it too could be ironed and reused.

    Big pile of trash? I was shocked out of my mind the first time I saw my mother-in-law gather up the wrappings on Christmas afternoon and stuff them all into the trash. All that good material gone to waste, demonstrating such scorn and disdain for pretty things.

    Now I use many of the suggestions mentioned above:
    Big rolls of paper bought at the dollar store or during the sales
    Red yarn wrapped around the package several times and tied in a many-looped bow
    Red yarn crocheted into a single chain if I have time, with the ends tied into knots to prevent raveling
    Gift bags made from cotton cloth in seasonal prints, or saved from gifts received
    Tags cut out from last year’s Christmas cards with a hole punched in the corner for tying to the package

    Curling ribbon can’t be reused easily, but a big roll of it is inexpensive, and the curls make a dressy presentation.

    With a little practice, gifts can be wrapped securely without tape.

    Dressing gifts nicely can be part of the pleasure of giving. Let’s not throw it out.

  69. Kbet says:

    Trent, love your blog, but sorry,I really hate this idea! I love gifts that look pretty and that look like I put some time into making them look that way. You can get wrapping, cards, ribbon, gift tags, etc…after Christmas for 90% off! Also, the dollar stores offer some really pretty wrapping papers, ribbons…etc. I’d NEVER give a gift that looked like this one, EVER!!!! It’s pretty awful. You missed the mark on this one for me.

  70. Lindsey says:

    Love the brown paper. I typically use newsprint or the wrapping paper you buy at moving stores (which I had left over) and left over yarn from knitting projects. This year I bought a bunch of reusable bags and have embroidered them to use for wrapping. It’s a bit pricier and time consuming, but can be used again and again and substitutes for a present in some instances.

  71. Karen says:

    I reuse wrapping paper, bows, and bags, and seem to have an unlimited supply. If I ever run out, my plan is to switch to fabric bags that can be reused. I think there’s value in being environmentally frugal, as well as economically.

  72. chris says:

    Other ideas:
    Use a different color ribbon for each kid. My sis does this. Each of her 4 kids are assigned a ribbon color. They don’t know which color is theirs until C-mas AM. Works great.
    We have a local store that still uses plain brown bags. No need to cut them up. Put item inside appropriate size bag. Fold down top a few times. Use a sturdy hole punch to punch through all the layers two holes that are a few inches apart. Run a recycled ribbon, yarn or jute though holes and tie a bow, attach gift tag to one of the strings. Agree with plan now for exactly what you will need on after holiday sales. Best purchase-things that are red-can be used for valentines,memorial day, the 4th, and Christmas. Be sure to put all your paper scraps in the recycle!Junk maps also make interesting wrapping but I prefer for birthday & other gifts. Rafia is cheaper than yarn and makes a good rustic bow on brown paper pkg. add a color decoration and it really pops.Happy holidays all!

  73. Amy says:

    I’m really disappointed that a comment I left yesterday has not appeared. Since it had a link in it, which meant it had to be moderated, I guess that Trent did not approve the comment. (If it’s just a matter of time and the comment will be approved in due course, my apologies for being impatient, but I did have this happen a few weeks ago, and that comment never appeared.) Is there a policy of “no links ever” in comments? If so, why doesn’t it say so?

    The link was not commercial, was of no personal benefit to me, was specifically relevant to this post, and, in my opinion, “contributed to the growth and thoughtfulness of other readers.” It was a link to the Craft blog, showing how someone there found a lovely way to use brown paper and still put some thought into their gift wrapping in order to enhance the recipient’s pleasure.

    Between wasting my time contributing comments that don’t appear, and a strong negative reaction I had to a retirement post that appeared a few months ago, I’m afraid I’m close to dropping this blog off my to-read list. It’s giving me more negative feelings than positive these days.

    In any case, I hope everyone has safe and happy holidays.

  74. Jen says:

    the lyrics are “brown paper packages tied up with strings.”

    Henry, actually, you do need to say you could NOT care less, because that shows that the amount you do care is so minuscule that it could not be smaller. To say you “could care less” implies a larger amount of caring when you are trying to say you don’t care.

  75. jana says:

    If you are a member of AAA-use the free maps to wrap packages!

  76. Missi says:

    Trent, where do you find your brown rolls of kraft paper? I have been looking with no success. Thanks!

  77. J says:

    @Amy — I’ve never had a comment appear with a link in it, even when the link supported the post or added information to the discussion.

    IMHO if posts with links aren’t allowed, it should be clearly stated and/or they should be rejected on submission. I can understand if it’s a spam killing measure or whatever.

    As for cheap wrapping paper, I’m on board with the people who hit up the store after Christmas. You can even pick solid colors or patterns so you can do double-duty for birthday gifts, too. We have a couple bins of the stuff hanging around and I can’t tell you want we paid for it, but a few rolls literally last years, so it’s not something I worry about too much.

  78. Emily says:

    I go to the dollar tree and buy rolls of paper for $1 – they have really nice kind too. I buy about 5 or 6 rolls. Then I buy curling ribbon for $1 and a package of nametags for $1.

    I wrap presetns for 5 kids, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and siblings for about $6 or $7.

  79. clc says:

    we’ve done the brown paper/paper bag thing. under the tree the presents look beautiful, especially if you have a couple of yarn colors. these days, it is impressive because of the recycling thing, too. besides markers and crayons, we had our elementary aged kids draw with colored pencils (they are decent artists at this age)- snowman, especially, look nice in white colored pencil on the brown background.

  80. Steffie says:

    I save money all year long, I splurge on real wrapping paper, (even though I bought it at after Xmas sales, they practically give it away then!) Thrift store clothes do not seem so used when they are in shiny paper with a big bow ! Yes, the kids do get new clothes too!, the ‘trendy’ stuff comes from the thrift store. And I save the bigger pieces for next year for a smaller gift. My mom has paper that has to be at least 30 years old, child of the Depression that she is.

  81. DivaJean says:

    My mother in law made fabric gift bags about a decade or so back. These are used for Xmas, birthdays, etc and the bags go back with her. The bags are made out of nice materials with sewn on ribbons to tie them shut. There are some bags that the color combinations and extras make them absolutely gorgeous- and others that are more utilitarian- but we all love to see them coming back around. My favorite is a black print fabric with silver and pink ribbon ties- she almost always directs my gift into that bag, knowing I love it so.

    I have copied this idea and do the same now for family members. One year, I just bought a bunch of Xmas fabrics at deep discount after the holiday. The next year, when it came time to wrap, it took me a little longer to make a bag- but once it was done, its there forever. I had many diverse sizes for presents, so I have plenty of different size bags to use. If I end up with a present that just doesn’t fit what I have (either too small or too big for whatever bags I have left), I just make another and know I’ll have it handy for whenever. When my kids are old enough to not believe in Santa, I plan to make bags for each kid to use forever. In the interim, I do wrap their presents, but I stick to a color code: Oldest daughter is red, oldest son is green, youngest daughter is gold/yellow, youngest son is blue. Their bags will likely follow suit. Because of the color code, I don’t have to tag Santa presents– just put their stocking on top of the color coded pile. Kids understand what color is “theirs” and I will likely continue the color coding after I move on to making them bags.

    If you were a family just starting out- it would be easy to get your child used to getting Santa sacks rather than wrapped gifts. No mythology would have to be built around why gifts came in bags- it would just be that way.

    And for those presents that are somewhat incidental- secret Santa at work, pastor at church, etc- we do use wrap. It really isn’t that expensive— I just hate the wasting of paper.

  82. Kathy says:

    @tentaculistic (#13) Well said! I’ll use paper bags for wrapping things I ship, but for gift wrapping this is officially crossing the line from frugal to cheap.

  83. Bonnie says:

    Prices are really relative depending on where you live. Where I live, wrapping paper purchased at 75% off after Christmas costs less than that brown postal service paper. In fact, I’ve never purchased the brown paper because it’s never seemed worth it.

  84. Tammy says:

    I have used the newsprint or cool magazine pictures more for birthdays than for Christmas. This year for Christmas, with decidely less money to spend, I went up to my attic to peruse the gift wrap situation. When I actually took the time to sort out what I already had, I found that I had 15 rolls of partially used Christmas paper, 6 bags of bows, 2 unused rolls of curling ribbon, a mountain of recycled gift bags, tags, tape the whole works.

    Amount I am spending on wrap this year? ZERO. Probably next year too! Don’t underestimate the volume of stuff you may already have!

  85. Matt says:

    The real question is what you paid for Nintendogs… No more than $10-$15, I hope, or else the loss of money on that gift more than negated the money you “saved” on your tacky giftwrapping choice.

  86. Sunshine says:

    I am so all about this. I love the simplistic beauty of the wrapping. Were I to do it, though, I would probably put some fancier bow/ribbons on it, but that’s a personal preference.

    I’ve been trying for years to get the missus on board with this, but it ain’t happening any time soon. I hesitate to do this type of wrapping on my own, because I’d rather use up what we have in the house. But hen, of course, more gets purchased. Maybe for next year’s gifts.

    However, most of this is a moot point, because I’m never on the ball enough to get my presents wrapped anyway!

  87. Linda says:

    Yes, try using maps as wrapping paper. Looks beautiful. Also great for shelf lining.

  88. kristine says:


    I am having the same problem with completely innocuous posts not showing up (no link). I thought maybe because I was redundant of another post, but then I noticed a lot of these are redundant.

    Then I figured maybe I made a comment the writer didn’t like, so I got booted to a “no-publish” list. Who knows? I wonder if this one will go up.

  89. Sharon L says:

    When you recycle wrapping paper, don’t try to recycle paper with foil on it. That gums up the works.

  90. princess_peas says:

    Here is a suggestion I have heard about but never tried yet. It was suggested for the pretty, but I think it should be pretty cheap too:

    Go to a florists and buy a roll of the spotty cellophane they use to wrap the flowers in. The rolls are massive, so even if you have to sink a few dollars into it, it will probably last at least a year (birthdays etc too). Maybe more. Then wrap gifts like so: cellophane on the table, piece of coloured tissue paper (buy it from stationery suppliers you can get it in bulk. Time it wth a sale too), put the gift in, pull both tissue and cellophane up, tie any old string round the top coz it will be hidden by the bunching up of the cellophane and ta-dah!

    And for most presents you only need one sheet of tissue paper – if you were pooffing the tissue paper up to put in a gift bag, you’d probably use more than one anyway.

    This wrapping technique is also suitable for any occasion. Pretty, quite cheap, versitile, faster than regular wrapping paper (you know all about the value of time and so forth, right?), I can’t see anyway you loose, unless I really underestimate the price…

  91. kristine says:

    princess peas- The tissue paper idea is great! But the cellophane wrapping is not so eco-friendly- it does not get re-used.

    For a free solution, and it gives a second life to something-when I break out the stored wool winter coats, I use the plastic dry-cleaning wrap as wrapping! I just cut off the top and bottom with a pinking shear. Some saved balloon ribbons at the top poof, and it’s good to go!

  92. Sharon L says:

    Kristine, this can be extremely dangerous if small children or pets are involved in the home. They can easily suffocate in dry cleaning plastic wrap.

  93. Jean says:

    If I wasn’t so frugal, I could be a Hallmark junkie–I too love the pretty package! So my rule is to stock up when the paper, ribbons etc are 75-90% off after the holidays, and only buy red, green or red & green prints so everything mixes and matches. My mother accuses me of spending a fortune on wrapping,but I don’t spend much and I probably have six to eight rolls of very pretty paper that I paid less for than one roll of brown paper costs anywhere!

  94. My sister uses plain brown wrapping paper (and some fancy ribbon), and her gifts always look so adorable and low-maintenance. Of course, she is also one of the best wrappers – all the edges are crisp, the folding is symmetrical.

    My trick is to find old old maps at thrift stores and vintage stores – the kind that still have Rt 66 as the best route across the country. Wrap something in those & overlay with a paper snowflake, and people think you’re really creative!

  95. Giorgio Sironi says:

    I agree with commenters that brown paper just does not work. When I buy a gift I simply ask the clerk to wrap it in a gift package. Period. If you are buying a gift at the supermarket the wrapping is not your problem, you should wonder why you’re making a gift at all (if it’s not a practical joke).

  96. Patty says:

    I agree that it sometimes depends on who is receiving the item and on what occasion. Family and close friends vs coworkers or the person that will save and reuse the bag vs the person that unwraps sitting next to a trash bag.
    Does anyone else get Santa presents in a different wrapping paper/style than family exchange presents? My parents always had a special design roll from Santa and those gifts didn’t appear under the tree until the kids were sleeping. My husbands family always used white tissue paper and red yard for the Santa gifts no matter how other gifts were wrapped.
    How do some of you store your decorated re-usable boxes and bags or storebought bows throughout the year? I’ve bought bags and bows before usually on sale but occasionally from a nieces school sally wrap program. Now I’m taking steps to be more environmental so I will use and re-use what I have or use some of the above tips but not buy more stuff.
    I hope everyone has the chance to be merry and bright this year and spread good tidings and cheer!

  97. kristine says:

    Sharon, yes, it can. But I am well past the small kids stage! I mostly use this for things like a tray with a wine bottles and candles.

  98. Auntielle says:

    Sorry, Trent… I also agree that your gift-wrapped package is sad looking, and that it really does go beyond being frugal and into the cheap/miserly category. JMO, of course, and I’m NOT saying you’re a “miser”. Just that the gift wrapping job appears that way to me. As someone said earlier, I would feel badly accepting a gift wrapped that way, because it looks like the person who wrapped the gift was so poor that I would wish they would have spent the $$ on themselves instead of on a gift for me.

    Really, there are SO many opportunities to buy pretty Christmas wrappings, ribbons, labels and so on for pennies on the dollar after Christmas that there is no real “need” for most people to scrimp to the degree that Trent showcases here. As has been pointed out, rolls of Christmas wrap can be purchased after Christmas for significantly less than a roll of the brown kraft paper.

    I’ve used yarn myself instead of ribbon to dress packages. But I use 3 strands of yarn instead of one, and make the yarn bow fuller as well. I do it all year round, using different colors of yarn which match the particular gift wrap I’m using at the moment. The yarn is inexpensive enough that using three strands instead of one is still very frugal, but it looks cheerful and festive, not sparse and meager.

    There IS a way to do the brown kraft paper wrapping that DOES look beautiful and classy, without spending a lot of money on the trim. At the after-Christmas sales, one of my friends buys a few big rolls of lovely red/green plaid fabric ribbon to add to the brown kraft paper wrapping. She dabs a bit of “Fray Check” (available at craft/fabric stores) to the cut edges of the ribbon to prevent fraying, and irons the ribbon year after year to use season after season on her gifts. Another beautiful look is to use a rubber stamp and a metallic gold stamp pad to add a shimmering design to the brown paper. Then use raffia to tie up the package in a pretty bow. Really, the combo of the brown kraft paper, the metallic gold stamped design and the raffia equals the custom gift-wrapped results of a fine boutique. The raffia can be reused for several years.

    One caution about stapling gift bags closed as was mentioned above: It is very easy to end up piercing your finger with a staple as you’re pulling the bag open to see your gift. And even easier for a staple to fly off the bag as it’s being opened… winding up in the carpeting and eventually into someone’s bare foot. So I don’t think the staples are a safe idea.

    I realize that paying out anything for gift wrapping supplies may be hard for some frugal folks to do. But really, I’d rather scrimp on my own expenses a tiny bit during the year if I have to, in order for the loved ones I buy or make gifts for to see and feel that creating a special gift experience for them is worth more to me than saving a few cents at Christmastime.

  99. Marle says:

    What I’ve done is wrap shoeboxes and other boxes so that you can open them without ripping the wrapping paper. Then each year as I get presents I put them in the boxes and close them with ribbon and bows around them. This makes for really easy wrapping (now I don’t say wtf at the presents my husband puts under the tree ;) ), and everything is very reusable for the next year, so we just need to buy tape and maybe some more ribbon. Very convenient and frugal. :)

  100. K Ann says:

    I love wrapping packages in plain brown paper! Last year I wrapped all our Christmas presents in brown paper and used strips of plaid flannel to wrap around each package and tie with a bow. Attaching fallen pine cones from the tree in our front yard using a bit of hot glue added a holiday look. Seriously, the packages I did were a tremendous hit because they were different than all the bright red, green, silver and gold etc… They had a warm homespun look – it was great!

  101. DrFunZ says:

    OK, I can handle the brown paper wrapping, although gift wrap on sale is very cheap. BUT, at least make something fun with the yarn… a pom-pom, a little dolly, an octopus!!! You can get two popsicle sticks and make a star or a cross or a cat’s eye (which is very cool; I have one from when I was child 50 year’s ago.)

  102. Leah says:

    I’ve got quite a number of rubber stamps from a teenage obsession. I trimmed down my collection so that it all fits in a tackle box. When I wrap presents, I often use the brown paper method. Often, I will decorate the paper with stamps — usually before I wrap, but sometimes after, depending on the look I’m going for. With a little practice, it often looks like I bought wrapping paper.

    Also, some crazy comments here. It’s one thing for people to have a dissenting opinion, but I can’t believe all the negativity at lambasting you for your method. Personally, I think a variety of looks in gift wrapping is neat. I think your method would really stand out in a sea of Christmas-print wrapping. Plus, it’s got an almost mystery flare to it.

    Personally, I’d be happy if people spent less (money, time, etc) on wrapping and more on a present. The wrapping lasts for only a short while; the present will likely stick around, especially if good thought went into it.

  103. I really like the idea of using brown paper bags from the grocery. Sure, the fact that it is frugal is a great plus, but I also like the idea of being able to recycle. I have also read where others are buying the “green-reusable” shopping bags, and putting gifts in those. It is far more expensive than your wrapping method, but includes a secondary gift (the bag) that can be re-used by the recipient from then on.

    In the past, I have asked family members to wrap my gifts in comics from the newspaper. Much like your idea, it is extremely frugal, but it also gave me something fun to read while I waited to open my gifts. :)

  104. KateandWillsMom says:

    Besides the cost and waste of wrapping paper on Christmas morning, I find that I spend the entire morning shoveling it into the recycling or putting it away for next year. This year I am going to TRY to wrap ONLY in other pracitical use items. For example, the children will get new beach and bath towels (with gift wrapped inside), adults might get bath towels or dish towels (depending on the size of the gift) etc. This way, we are replenishing items that get old and dingy (towels, napkins etc) and not creating more waste. I keeping a list of ideas for my ‘gift wrap’ and I thought this post was great. My ideas isn’t as cost effective as others, but it does elminate waste.

  105. Melissa says:

    I love saving money AND I love visually appealing gifts. My solution is solid color wrapping paper and bulk rolls of curling ribbon. I’ve had the same four spools of ribbon for 5+ years now and they’re not even close to gone. I love the solid paper because it works for every occasion. I enjoy mixing and matching the colors of ribbon with the paper. It might cost a little more than brown paper & yarn, but it’s a far cry from Papyrus prices and my clients and friends still get a huge warm fuzzy. Basically the more ribbon I curl for you, the more it means I like you! It shows effort and looks great.

  106. Anna says:

    I have bought plain white gift bags in bulk and also buy various solid colored tissue paper (usually in bulk and on clearance) and mix and match it to make it look either more boyish or girly or seasonal (red and green for Christmas, etc.) If it is a larger item that won’t fit in a smaller gift bag, I either reuse a bag or use one that I bought on clearance (I keep an eye out for gift wrap on clearance because I really like giving gifts and making them pretty) OR I use wrapping paper that is versatile and again can be made to look more feminine/masculine or seasonal.

  107. Fawn says:

    I think your wrapping job is fine, if that is what floats your boat! Don’t listen to these other people! ;)

    I personally like to get a roll or two of wrapping paper for a few dollars and use it for years. I like the ones that are patterns, so I can use them for other holidays too! :D And then just get some plain ribbon and make your own bow! :D

  108. Fawn says:

    And then we use the paper to start our fireplace. And snuggle around it, enjoying family! (we would have to use paper anyway, so might as well use the wrapping paper!) And poo on anyone who has bad things to say about burning things! Where I live, we have fires in our fireplaces. ;)

  109. Jane says:

    I believe in wrapping. The Japanese custom is that the wrapping is a second gift and I spend a lot of time wrapping. I get paper and ribbons at yard sales all year long for Christmas and other times of the year. A barely used roll of paper can be had for 25 to 50 cents. Solid colors, as someone said, are the best since they are the most versatile. I also pick up gift bags and boxes at yard sales for a dime or a quarter. Recently, I found an old Martha Stewart recipe file – silver-colored metal with an M and a bee on the lid and quite large. I put homemade jams inside and gave it to my sister, Martha, who has glasses and mugs with bees on them.I tied it with a silver-colored recycled bow of beautiful wired ribbon. Everything will be recycled and the package is as much the gift as the contents. I also collect acorns, magnolia leaves etc and hot glue arrangements on the boxes. My niece has kept the box toppers for ten years on a bulletin board.
    Once, I found an old newspaper from the 1930s at a yard sale for 25 cents with an article on the Dionne Quintuplets. I wrapped a present for my mother in it and she just loved it. I was careful to place the article on the top of a largish package so it would be all in one piece.
    I enjoy spending the extra pennies on beautiful wrapping and use recycled things most of the time. I actuially consider wrapping packages to be my hobby – and it is not an expensive one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *