Frugal Christmas Wrap

If you have managed to avoid the elementary school children and their wrapping paper fundraisers, it will soon be time to purchase wrapping paper for all those Christmas presents. Last year I challenged myself to not spend any money wrapping gifts. I would much rather spend it on the gifts themselves. I ended up spending a few dollars on wrapping supplies, but this year I planned ahead.

After Christmas I stocked up on fabric and ribbon that was discounted over 90%. I combined that with coupons and created quite a stash of wrapping supplies for this year. If you have extra fabric lying around you can make these easy fabric gift bags. It is easy enough for a beginning sewer and you don’t even need Christmas fabric, a solid color with a nice ribbon looks great too!


After I ran out of fabric I used grocery bags to wrap the rest of my gifts.


Are these crowding your mailbox this month?

Take advantage of the coupons and buy some cute ribbon to dress up your brown paper packages. I have also used butcher paper and had my kids color, paint, or stamp holiday designs. Grandparents love getting a personalized package and the kids love to help decorate!

The best part is all these options are either recyclable or reusable, while most gift wrap is not. This Christmas you can save some green by going green.

For more frugal tips visit Life as Mom.

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  1. Thanks for the idea! I love this. good tip!

  2. I love these ideas! I don’t know about the sewing part, but I will give it a try.

  3. Amanda McKee says:

    I LOVE the idea of the paper bags! I can have my son color them for a more personal touch!

  4. Very creative. I usually stock up on wrapping paper for the next year after Christmas when it is very cheap, but the fabric is a cute idea as well.

  5. Another reason for me to break out the sewing machine that I picked up a while back. I would love to make wrapping bags. We have used brown paper bags from grocery shopping, and I have to say with pretty ribbon, it really rocks. I love your examples! 🙂 We did a lot of stocking up last year too. There were a lot of crazy sales at our local Target.

  6. What great ideas! I would LOVE to get gifts wrapped in seasonal fabric . . . to which I’d either use to re-wrap another gift or tear apart for a seasonal craft (thinking Advent calendar this year! 🙂

    However, I’m neck deep in Christmas wrapping paper this year – I hit the JoAnn’s sale last year after Christmas and bought gift wrap for something like 90% off. Each roll was around 20-cents. So, for the next three years we’ll be seeing the same gift wrap! 🙂 I LOVE your idea of a fabric gift bag though!


  7. Thanks for your great ideas. I can’t wait to try something different this year. What a fantastic blog idea!

  8. I made a bunch of cloth gift bags years ago and I think they were as big a hit with the recipients as were the actual gifts inside the bags!

    Mary, mom to many

  9. I used the free “shopper ad” newspapers you can pick up at the convenience stores…the ones with cars and washing machines for sales, to wrap my kid’s gift the last few years. Sometimes I’ve used a sponge to paint on stars or xmas trees, but sometimes I don’t bother. He just rips them open anyway, and the paper goes in the woodstove. 🙂 I’m sure I’ll do the same thing this year…I’m extremely limited in my budget, and I’d rather spend my money on his gifts! I like the fabric idea, too. I’m not a sewer, but I’m sure I could find cheap fabric at the second hand store (even here in France)

  10. I have use the brown paper wrapping before and people loved it!

    I have also used plain old black & white newsprint with a festive red ribbon – looks great! A wonderful way to wrap gifts inexpensively AND recycle!

  11. That is awesome!!! I love it. 🙂

  12. for those who don’t sew (or don’t have a machine), you can use fabric glue instead. :o) (here’s a link: ) There are several different kinds, though. My mom used to used it to hem my pants! lol

  13. I have been hitting the post-holiday fabric sales for several years now. I get both fabrics and ribbons, and make drawstring bags in a variety of sizes. So we don’t even have to tie bows…my husband had never liked the complexity of wrapping (especially oddly shaped items) and my kids love using the bags because even the little ones can wrap things all by themselves. Just drop in the item, snug up the drawstring…
    Yes, I suppose that technically it would be really easy for people to peek at their presents before Christmas, but nobody ever has. We all know that it’s more fun to be surprised, so nobody does it even though it would be super easy. Meanwhile, we have a variety of pretty fabrics (better variety than most folks get with paper I’ll bet!) and it always looks great under the tree.
    PLUS, on Christmas morning we just stuff all the empty bags into one big bag as we open gifts…easiest cleanup ever.
    AND during the year we use the bags to wrap/store fragile decorations or strings of christmas lights in the bigger boxes (no tangling!)

  14. I love this idea. I’ll be hitting the after-Christmas sales for festive fabric this year.

  15. I always buy gift wrap after Christmas for 70% off and look for wrap that you can use throughout the year. Last year I was able to find wrap that had a blue background with various colors of packages on the paper. So I’ve used it for showers and birthday all year. Fabric bags sound fun. I never by wrapping paper from school children as it’s so expensive.
    Take care!!

  16. You’d better believe I’ll be hitting the clearance fabric sales hard after Christmas this year! I’ve been thinking of doing fabric bags for a while, but this has given me the push to jump in! Any suggestions on sizes? I imagine it would be quite easy to do the first year – you make the bags to fit the gifts! – but subsequent years might be a bit more difficult. :>) I linked to this on my weekly roundup – the post is under my name. Thanks!!

  17. TheHappyHousewife says:

    I think you can make multiple sizes. We give a lot of books and DVD’s so I make a lot of the smaller bags.

  18. Great ideas! Thanks!

  19. Butcher paper or an end roll from the local newspaper works great, too. 😀 I remember my mom wrapping some gifts in comics, too.

  20. I save the Sunday funnies section out of the newspaper and keep it handy to wrap gifts all year long. I use this at Christmas, for birthdays, baby showers…people love it!!

  21. Whenever I buy or receive something that comes wrapped in tissue, I save it to use as gift wrap (at Christmas or any time of year). Since crinkled tissue can look just as cute as crisp tissue, it’s easy to re-use it as long as it isn’t too torn. I also like to knit as many gifts as I can, so I save a scrap of the yarn I used to knit the item to use as the bow, which can look quite cute.

  22. I coupon and so when I am buying 5 papers a week, instead of mulching my garden with the comics, I am saving them and will use them as gift wrap for presents this year. My kids fight over them now so, at Christmas when all the gifts are wrapped in them, I wonder if they will even remember there is a gift inside. lol

  23. I’ve wrapped them in newspaper, funny paper and even white kitchen bags. Taking your time to do a good wrap job and then either spending a little on ribbon and decorations or getting really clever with what you have is what makes them stand out.
    One year I wrapped all the gifts in brown paper, the cheap stuff you get for mailing packages…( I know but grocery bags are really hard to find in these parts. All they have is plastic anymore.) I did a very simple stamp job on the paper ( potato + cookie cutter = stamp) used red and green ink pads I picked up at the dollar store. Then tide them up with plain white cotton twine I had dipped in red and green food coloring. I made Christmas ornaments that year and tied one to each package. They really did turn out cute, every one loved their special packages and it really was pretty cheap. Besides who doesn’t feel special when someone takes the time to make the wrapping special.

  24. That’s a great idea but I’ve been giving all of my Michael’s coupons lately to a young bride-to-be who is buying all kinds of decor items for her reception. The wedding is this weekend so I’ll be using them myself when the next coupons come out! 🙂

  25. I buy wrapping from thrift stores and yard sales to stash. Estate sales are the best; when a house has to be cleaned out, usually wrapping goes too. I once got an entire under the bed storage box full of wrapping for only $5! We also purchased a large roll of kraft paper about 8 years ago… it is still going strong! Obviously we don’t use it wrap every gift, but at those times when we don’t have more traditional paper at the ready, it’s fantastic! The only time I’ve purchased wrapping at a normal store and paid full price is when we buy “Santa” paper for my boys gifts. When I finally have more space to store it, I also plan on purchasing the wrapping i see in stores that i love during the after-Christmas sales.

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