Think outside the gift-wrapped box
Think outside the gift-wrapped box
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Think outside the gift-wrapped box

The gift wrapping industry continues to see year-over-year increases in spending and if you're in gift-wrapping mode, you know this is true. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have beautifully wrapped presents to give to for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, or graduation gifts. Below are seven wrapping tips that will hopefully inspire your creativity and your desire to keep more money in your checking account.  Plus, they may produce presents so pretty your friends and family will regret splurging on boring, regular wrapping paper.


1. Let Mother Nature wrap your gifts

Talk a walk outside for fresh air and gift wrap “shopping.” Find some large leaves and companion twigs, flowers, and branches to use as green gift wrap for a unique look this holiday season. If you can’t find any leaves large enough for your present, you can create these leaf gift tags to add a fresh scent and green accents to your gifts. Using greenery is unique and easy on both your wallet and the environment.


2. Repurpose other paper as wrapping supplies

From butcher paper to random sheets of colored printer paper, think about what you have on hand that you can tape together for a unique or random gift-wrap look.

Newspaper makes a great wrapping alternate. The comics section is a great option for children’s gifts and even plain text pages can look fancy when you dress it up with ribbon and rosemary. Don’t like the look of plain newspaper? Paint it before wrapping. A light coat of paint with print showing through will make a unique present.

Sheet music is another great substitution for wrapping paper. If you don’t have some old pages lying around that you don’t use anymore, you can print a few. Music notes look festive and fancy by themselves, but try to find pages for Christmas carols to tie in the holiday. If a gift is too large to wrap in sheet music, cut out your favorite verse and paste it on the front of your present for nice touch.


3. Optimize one roll of brown kraft paper

Kraft paper is the perfect blank canvas for wrapping gifts! With just one roll, you can create personalized, fun presents no matter the season, rather than wasting money buying various rolls of themed wrapping paper for holidays, birthdays, weddings, and whatnot. If you don’t wrap a whole lot throughout the year, use brown paper grocery bags instead of buying a whole roll of paper.

Take a look at tip #4 to see a few ways you can jazz up a brown paper-wrapped gift.


4. Convert plain paper to high-end style

Turn plain wrapping paper (or even brown paper, newspaper, or other recycled papers) look like a more costly endeavor by adding a few simple details:

  • Personalized monograms - cut out monograms from recycled holiday cards and glue onto the front of your gifts. This can eliminate the need to use gift tags at peak gift-giving occasions (as long as no one has the same first initial).
  • Add yarn or thin ribbon in a pattern to make a pretty presentation.
  • Expand beyond ribbon and use wired headsets, electrical wire, or jute
  • Paint a design on the finished gift, or make custom wrapping paper by stamping a pattern all over paper before wrapping.
    stamped-giftImage from the Stamping and Stitching blog
  • Use tissue paper – make your gift shine by sandwiching confetti or sequins between layers of tissue paper.
  • Add paper flower accents
  • Instead of ribbon, try woven strips of paper to bring in some color


5. Personalize your presents with photos

Incorporating pictures of friends and family in their gifts adds sentimental value and can also be used as an extra mini present for the recipient. Print out your favorite photos as collages for paper or singles for gift tags. We recommend using black and white or sepia photos for that extra touch of nostalgia.


6. Cover your present with a present

If you are giving a gift made of fabric, use the gift as wrapping material, giving your recipient two gifts in one and eliminating paper waste. Try wrapping small- to medium-sized gifts in one of these fabrics:

  • Scarf
  • Thin towel
  • Baby blanket
  • Button-down shirt

If you’re feeling extra crafty, use stamps or fabric paint to turn plain, cheap fabric into your own work of art. Check out this cute and easy hand printed fabric tutorial. Not only does it make a unique gift, it’s reusable wrapping not-paper.


7. Think outside the box when wrapping bottles and vases

Gifting a vase of flowers or bottle of wine doesn’t require wrapping, but if you want to have a nicer presentation, these can be a bit complicated. Here are a few new alternatives to expected gift bags:

8. Bonus gift tag ideas!

Because who doesn't like a little surprise at the bottom of the list here is one more crafty idea to touch up any gift, regardless of the outer wrapping.

Let your creativity — and your budget — be your gift-giving guide.

Tags: Budgeting, Seasonal spending, Spending

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