I was not going to repost last year’s post on gift wrapping, but every time I go on Facebook another friend is complaining about wrapping presents. They have expressed frustration over the cost, the waste, and the difficulty of wrapping presents (though alcohol may have been a factor in the last complaint because I detected some slurring in the status). I thought about rubbing in the fact that I am done, but decided out of the spirit of Christmas charity to share this post instead.
There have been several great posts on frugal, eco-friendly gift wrap solutions, so I have really debated whether another post on the subject was needed. However, I realized that I do a couple things that I haven’t yet seen so I have decided to go ahead and share some of my gift wrap solutions.
I love wrapping items in something that the recipient can reuse. I wrapped oddly shaped Tiffin boxes in napkins and tied them with ribbon. My sister in law enjoys putting up holiday towels in her bathroom and kitchen, so I often use them to wrap her other presents.
I switched over to REAL ribbon ten years ago and sold my in-laws on the idea nine years ago. Now we exchange ribbons back and forth each year. Since I make use of the ribbon I receive, I have not had to buy any ribbon in eight years. If you want to get started using ribbon, both Michaels and JoAnne’s Fabric store have 50% – 60% off sales on ribbon BEFORE Christmas, so you don’t have to wait until the 26th to pick some up. I have included a tutorial for making bows at the bottom of this post.
My kids love to receive packages wrapped in brown paper! My son calls them “old fashioned wrappings”; my daughter thinks they look like something out of Little Women. My sister sent these delightful packages to my children: brown paper, wrapped with twine, and topped with adorable tags. All of the items will be reused. The brown paper will be given to Rew to color. The twine will be saved for tying tomatoes next summer and the tags will be used to make cards.
My daughter and I loved this paper and carefully doled it out to make it last four Christmases. This year when I pulled out the wrapping paper, I realized that there was only enough to wrap one more package. I thought about wrapping one of her presents in it, but then I found a very sturdy box and wrapped the box and put her present inside. This will allow us to enjoy the paper for several more years.
To make a reusable gift box, you need a non-collapsible box. Measure the paper, leaving enough to fold over the box. I finger press all of the paper around the box. Then I tape the paper down inside the box. Repeat for the lid. The box will fit a little tighter when you put the lid on. I use ribbon to tie the box up, so little eyes cannot peek. Be sure to attach the name tag to the ribbon. You will shorten the life of the gift wrap if you tape a tag to it.
We have been reusing gift bags in our house for over twenty years. I just flatten them after Christmas and place them on a high, hard to reach, and rarely used shelf in the closet. However, the bags pictured are new additions. The large red bag is made of felt and was perfect for the ride on toy, my in-laws, had shipped directly to my house (I think it is 2 1/2’ x 3 1/2’ and was $5.99 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond). Unlike plastic bags, it will not lose it’s shape. I am sure we will use this many times during Rew’s childhood. The nutcracker bag was not frugal, but it is made of 100% recycle paper, so I indulged and bought one for my oldest.
I already mentioned that we save ribbon, but we also save paper. The small pieces of salvageable paper are rolled up and placed inside a cardboard wrapping paper tube. The large pieces are wrapped around a tube and held on with hair scrunchies. I find that we are able to reuse paper longer if I buy a good quality, thicker paper. I haven’t had to buy paper for several years and I think I will probably be able to go a couple more years before I have to. However, if I see a paper that I like enough to look at it for ten Christmases, I will indulge and buy it.
Badly Photographed Bow Tutorial: You need: Salvaged (or new) Wired Ribbon, Scissors, Salvaged Metal Ties (I saved these from the packaging from one of Rew’s toys). Make a loop. Hold it between your forefinger and thumb. Then twist the piece of ribbon between your finger and thumb.
Make another loop and twist. Alternating making loops to the right and left of the center loop. Make 4 – 5 loops on each side of the center loop. Make sure to twist after each loop! When you have as many loops as you want, cut off the ribbon. Place the tie through the center loop, center it over all of the twists in the ribbon, and then twist the tie to secure the bow. After the bow has been secured, alternate pulling the loops up and down to fluff up and round out the bow: The bow from the tutorial was placed on the napkin wrapped present in the first picture. If we have enough of a particular ribbon, we will wrap the box with the ribbon and then put a ribbon bow on top.
Visit these blogs for more gift wrap ideas:
So how are you wrapping your gifts this year? Have you come up with any fabulous frugal and/or eco-friendly ideas?