Spending money to buy a loved one a gift makes a lot of sense to me. Spending a lot of money on wrapping those gifts? Not so much. Over the years I’ve discovered numerous frugal gift wrap ideas to save money.
Buying gift wrap can add up. And did you know that most wrapping paper is non recyclable.? So not only am I paying a lot but I’m filling landfills too. But here is the real problem, nobody wants the gifts they wrap to look ugly!
Several years ago I didn’t want to spend any money on gift wrap. The paper is almost always thrown away and I would rather spend that money on more gifts for the ones I love. We are also trying very hard to stay within our budget this Christmas season. My husband and I both have a tendency to go overboard with gifts, but not this year!
Since paper grocery bags are free and plentiful at my house I used them to wrap the present. I spent about $8 at Michaels on ribbon, because my goal here is to think green not look cheap.
One thing I realized is because the bags are thick, I needed to use more tape. But this is a positive because thicker bags mean less chance of paper being torn open during shipping or kids peeking.
I would love to show you a before picture, but…. my family does claim to read this blog now and again, so I am only able to show you the after picture.
If you don’t have any paper bags- kraft paper works as well, but it isn’t free. A large roll costs about $12.
Thankfully, saving money, helping the environment and having stylish and interesting gift wrap are not mutually exclusive! Here are a few ideas that I think you might enjoy.
More Eco Friendly and Frugal Gift Wrap Ideas
Wrap using Maps
Use the Sunday Comics
The Gift is the Wrapping
Reader Suggested Frugal Gift Wrap Ideas
From Kate and Nancy: As far as gift wrap, you can use the Sunday comics (they are colorful) – I did this in college, with masking tape and binder twine – for regular gifts. For Christmas, you can reuse old wrapping paper or have your kids decorate (paint, rubber stamp, crayon) butcher paper. I have a gift bow stash that would make you laugh – I save any ribbon that looks remotely reusable. Why not – after all, I mail most gifts and the bows get squashed anyway!
- From Sherry: As far as presents go, I reuse gift bags and also I have gotten an end roll from a newspaper which you can decorate with stamps, paint, stickers etc, plus it is recyclable. Which reminds me that I need another roll. Mine lasted about 3 years.
- From Kristen: Here is another idea for making wrapping paper. You can purchase a large roll of brown Kraft paper for very cheap at the store and have the kids decorate them with markers or crayons. Or for the super frugal, grab some paper bags from the grocery store, cut them into a sheet, and decorate those and use for wrapping paper.
- From Cammie: Wrap your Christmas gifts in brown grocery bags. Cut them open along the fold, stamp or decorate them with a Christmas motif and use them to wrap your gifts. This is an old trick from my school teacher days…you know, we had to wrap those classroom-made hand print wreaths in something.
- From Amy: Re: gifts at Christmas, I wrap in newspaper with either green or red ribbon. It’s actually both classy and festive, and the newspaper can be recycled.
- From Jenny: I agree with using store bags. Closer to Christmas when you do your shopping, often the bags are Christmasy or at least festive. If it’s a “cool” store, you can just add a ribbon and some tissue paper. Sometimes you can cover the store name with stickers, and bigger bags can be cut up to wrap smaller gifts. If you have access to anyone who works in an engineering firm you may be able to get large rolls of white paper…My husband brings them home when they change the size they use…or old plans.
- From Mimi: I buy wrapping paper on sale, very seldom use bows, reuse gift bags, buy scotch tape buy the box (usually on sale). I have used the society page from the newspaper for wedding gifts, wrapped baby gifts in diapers or receiving blankets, crib sheets, etc.
- From Kristi: I love the idea of sewing gift bags! I was going to go with the Japanese form of gift wrapping called Furoshiki.
- From Julie: I heard the greatest tip for Christmas wrapping this year. Use reusable shopping bags! Buy a bunch at Meijer or Target or wherever you shop…heck, get some custom ones… And put your gifts in those! It’s like getting another gift because you can reuse it!
- From Marcia: My favourite Christmas wrap is brown paper (Kraft wrap) and a bright ribbon in red or green. Cheap and looks beautiful. Here in South Africa, brown paper is about R1,99 a roll, where Christmas wrap is R7,99 a roll – so HUGELY cost-effective
A few more ideas to check out:
- No Sew Wine Bag
- Brown Bag Basket (made from fabric scraps and a brown paper bag!)
- Hand Painted Tote Bag
- Use Extra Pillowcases
Want to save money on gifts? We have an awesome post on 100 Homemade Christmas Gifts!