Save on Groceries - Download the CouponBar and never miss another offer!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gift Wrapping the Frugal Way

Well, I haven’t been making all of the posts that I had planned this past week. Once we got out of the craziness of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I started having computer trouble. Hopefully, everything is fixed now. I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving and got some great deals on Black Friday. You can read a bit about my Black Friday HERE. We had a fun Thanksgiving with my wonderfully dysfunctional family. It was the first time in a long time that we only had to go to one place, and not three. That in itself was something to be thankful for.

Ok, so last week I wrote some ideas to give you for Heartfelt Gift Giving. This week, I wanted us to look into ways to frugally wrap those gifts. With just a little creativity, you can come up with a beautiful package that others will hate to open because the wrapping is a gift in itself. Remember, these ideas aren't just for Christmas, they can be used year round.

First, we’ve all heard of wrapping our gifts in the Sunday comics. Not only do these colorful cartoons delight the recipients, and bring smiles to their faces, but it’s a great way to recycle. I only have one problem with this type of wrapping. The one time I tried it, black ink was rubbing off the gift and got everywhere. I have racked my brain and can’t come up with a solution, so if anyone out there knows one, send it my way because these gift do look adorable!

My favorite wrapping is plain brown paper. It’s cheaper than gift wrap, and you can usually find it in bigger rolls. If you live next to a paper bag making plant (International Paper, Exopack, etc.) you can usually get these for free. They can only run the rolls on the machine to a certain point and then they have to pitch the roll, even though there is several yards of paper still on it. You can decorate this plain paper to your heart’s content; use stamps, markers, stickers, scrap booking materials, anything you can get your hands on. One year, I let the kids color on them, and the grandparents loved it! Tie these up with anything. I like using dark green or red yarn, it can be cheaper than ribbon, and lasts a long time. I love the kind with gold or silver flecks in it. I’ve tied small bells, beads and even toys on the ends, or you could try pine cones, mistle toe, etc. If you have a gift for a girl, try tying it with a ribbon that she can use for her hair later.

The ribbon brings up another way to wrap---wrapping a gift with a gift. If you have a gift for a new baby, try wrapping it in a receiving blanket. Wrap a gift for the kitchen in a new dish towel, or a child’s toy in a new bath towel or t-shirt. Use your imagination. I always get the kids new socks at Christmas. Instead of wrapping their stocking stuffers, I think I am going to push them into the toes of the new socks before putting them in the stocking, saves on paper, tape and time!

I’ve never personally tried this next one, but I think I might try it this year. Put a cloth over your ironing board and lay out a piece of waxed paper. Sprinkle it with flower petals, dried leaves, confetti, etc., lay another piece of waxed paper on top and cover with another cloth. Iron on low heat to seal the edges. The flower petals would be perfect for Mother’s Day gifts!

So you don’t use wrapping paper, you bag ‘em, right? For small gifts you can use brown lunch bags, fold over the tops, punch out two holes, tie ribbon through the holes, and add accessories. Decorate as you would the brown wrapping paper. At the very least you can buy the plain solid color paper gift bags at Wal-Mart. These go for around $.50, and can be decorated with cutouts, stickers, etc.

When giving gift bags, tissue paper is the one thing I splurge on because it does not recycle well for future gifts. It tears, crinkles and generally just doesn’t hold up well, no matter how carefully I try to fold and store it. Does anyone have a way that they organize theirs to get the most re-use? Let me know!

Instead of tissue paper try using cloth napkins or dish towels in gift baskets, especially if you are giving baked goods.

Since I am one of those goofy people that don’t wrap their gifts until Christmas Eve, I didn’t have any pics I could show you, so I did an image search on the net for “homemade gift wrap”, and found some more really cute ideas to help get you going. I would love to hear any other ideas you might have, or even see some of your pics, so feel free to leave comments!


Lenox Knits said...

Great suggestions. I especially like the idea of wrapping up the gift with another gift.

Rachel R. said...

I have heard that one of the things that butlers learn is how to iron a newspaper so it won't smear when the master of the house reads it. I have always been intrigued by this possibility for gift-wrapping, but I'm not sure where to find out about how to do it properly.

Jami said...

I tried doing another internet search to see what I could find. No matter the keywords I typed, I only found more ways to wrap with newspaper. Nothing that addresses the ink smearing. Hmmm... Anyone else have any ideas?