I preach thriftiness but there’s no escaping the fact that sometimes, you get what you pay for. I learned this lesson the hard way when I decided to purchase cheap gift wrap at the dollar store last year. It had a cute pattern, and with the price, I thought “why not?” Well, I’ll tell you why not. Dollar store gift wrap is just about the worst wrapping paper ever made. And since I’m extraordinarily gift-wrapping challenged, the thin paper tore like crazy. Every single package had a gaping hole in it, which was made worse by my attempts to patch it up with even more cheap paper.
The truth is I couldn’t wrap a gift correctly if my life depended on it. Wrapping paper is not my friend, so this year, I’m taking a different approach: Out of an effort to be more eco-friendly and to not be embarrassed by my stack of presents on Christmas morning, I’m going to avoid wrapping paper altogether. Think it can’t be done? Well, as my early Christmas present to you, here are some paperless ways to wrap gifts so you can save money and have cute packages.
In a classic gift bag
It’s the obvious choice, because some gifts are just not made for wrapping. Whatever shape your gift is, whether it’s round, octagonal, or just plain lumpy, the gift bag is a great way to wrap presents without using wrapping paper. They’re classy, easy to open, and, best of all, re-giftable!
With snazzy decorative tape
Whoever said tape has to be clear? Take a plain box and cover it in decorative tape, like these from Scotch. Scotch has some really cute patterns, but if you’d like to go a little glitzier, I’d recommend tinsel tape, shiny tape that adds great sparkle.
In a piece of fabric
Fun fact: Wrapping gifts in fabric is a Japanese art called Furoshiki. If you can fold fabric and tie a knot, you can probably figure out some basic Furoshiki. The best part is that you can get fabric for really cheap. Just keep your eyes peeled for sales at craft stores, and snag some cute fabric when the time is right. For tips and patterns for wrapping your gift, check out Furoshiki.com.
In a stocking
While I’d caution you against buying wrapping paper at the dollar store, I’d highly encourage you to pick up a cheap stocking or two while you’re there. Stockings make great gift bags. For a personal touch, write the recipient’s name on the front in fabric paint.
In a reusable shopping bag
Reusable shopping bags are all the rage now. They’re eco-friendly, and they’re more substantial than plastic bags. Instead of buying pricey gift bags or gift wrap, invest in some reusable shopping bags. You can guarantee they’ll be reused and appreciated.
In a scavenger hunt
One year, my grandmother got me a life-sized Barbie for Christmas. It was three or four feet tall, so she didn’t even try to wrap it. Instead, she set up a scavenger hunt. After all the gifts were opened, she told me I had one more gift to find. She had me follow a ribbon that was trailing along the floor. The ribbon led to a closet door, and inside was my giant blonde Barbie doll. This is a great idea for young kids. Whatever way you do it, whether you set out a trail for them to follow, or leave a note with clues, it’ll be a memorable and out-of-the-ordinary way to save on wrapping paper.
Inside another gift
Take the “gift inside a gift approach.” Wrap the main gift in a scarf, bandana or other textile gift. You might have to get a little bit creative with your wrapping job, but they’ll enjoy getting two gifts in one.
In a clay pot
Clay pots are cheap, and they make great packaging. Add a little pizzazz with ribbons, decorative tape or paint.
If you’ve got enough creativity, there are plenty of ways to wrap gifts without ever laying hands on a roll of wrapping paper. What’s your favorite paperless way to wrap a gift? Let us know in the comments section!