Who wants to spend 10 percent of their gift budget on wrapping paper? This year, spend it all on buying gifts for your loved ones – and save yourself a trip to the store – by wrapping gifts in things you already have around the house. It's a simple way to reduce waste and save money on wrapping supplies without sacrificing style.
There's something delightfully old-fashioned about wrapping gifts in newspaper, even if the process does leave your fingertips slightly stained with newsprint. Not a daily subscriber? Look for free local papers to use as wrapping, or give your gift added value by taping together sheets of coupons from free circulars.
Wrapping gifts in maps isn't just a way to save money and minimize waste. It also gives your gift an extra element of thoughtfulness and whimsy. Giving a framed photo from a trip you took this year? Wrap the frame in a map from the place you visited.
Magazine pages are designed to be visually appealing, so doesn't it make sense to use them to wrap gifts? Use a razor blade to slice pages out of your favorite magazines and tape them together to make larger sheets of wrapping paper. Delight your loved ones by creating customized paper based on their interests. Use fashion spreads to wrap a gift for a clotheshorse, or use recipes cut from cooking magazines to wrap gifts for foodies.
Do you have that one out-of-the-way cabinet that's stuffed with random old baskets you can't use and don't remember buying? It's time to stop looking at them as a waste of space and think of their potential instead. Grab an old basket, arrange some crumpled tissue paper in the bottom and fill it with small items that fit a theme. Pack it with candy, popcorn and DVDs to make a movie-night basket, for example. Tie a bow on the handle and ta-da, you're done.
If you don't already own more mason jars than you know what to do with, well, you're in the minority. Instead of letting them gather dust, put those jars to use. Fill them with edible gifts like candy or peppermint bark, tie ribbon around them and your wrapping is done. Alternately, paint mason jars with shimmery paint to conceal the gifts inside.
Paper Grocery Bags Wrapping
They were sturdy enough to protect your textbooks throughout high school. Paper grocery bags are plenty sturdy enough to wrap your gifts, too. More importantly, though, they provide the perfect blank slate. Wrap ribbons of varying width and patterns around the gift, glue on pompoms or sprinkle the paper with white paint to simulate snow.
Really, any piece of fabric can be used to wrap a gift. Tie the ends of the fabric together to keep it in place, or wrap string or ribbon around the bundle.
When your lucky recipient is marveling at your ingenuity for using foil as wrapping paper, maybe don't point out that is basically the laziest possible way to wrap a gift. Forget measuring paper and struggling with rolls of tape. Grab a roll of foil and go to town, no tape needed. This is the ideal solution for anyone who's tired of being mocked for bad wrapping jobs – there's really no "wrong" way to wrap a gift with foil.
For lightweight and hard-to-break gifts like scarves and paperbacks, why waste boxes and paper? Simple tissue paper provides more than enough protection. Wrap the gift in a layer of paper, then wrap that bundle in another few layers of paper. Secure the package with string or yarn for a simple, old-fashioned look.
Paper Lunch Bags
It's nearly impossible to wrap gifts in brown paper lunch bags without humming "My Favorite Things" at the same time. That's just a bonus, though. The other major perk of wrapping gifts by placing them inside paper lunch bags? There's no need to buy a separate card. Draw a funny picture and write a message on the bag before tucking the gift inside.
Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Tubes
It's impossible to get anyone else in the house to change the paper towel roll, let alone throw the darn thing away. Might as well take advantage by using these empty tubes to wrap up small gifts. Paper towel and toilet paper rolls make the perfect containers for gift certificates, or for loose candy and other odds and ends that would otherwise get lost inside a stocking. Cover the ends with colored paper and secure them rubber bands for a 10-second wrapping project.
Pringles Container/Oatmeal Canister/Coffee Can
When you reuse your Pringles cans for wrapping gifts, it's easy to justify stocking up on more sour cream and onion. You're going to need those, after all! Truthfully, any can works as a sturdy wrapping container for delicate gifts. Wash them out with soap and water, fill them and tie on a big ribbon bow and you're done.
Potato Chip Bag
Silver foil wrapping paper is nice and all. But considering how much it costs, you might wonder if it's made with real silver. If you want the foil paper look and you've recently satisfied a craving for chips, you're in luck. Carefully cut down the sides of a foil-lined chip bag to create one sheet that works like real wrapping paper. Be sure to use a soapy cloth to remove any grease or crumbs first.
There's one good thing about cold and flu season: Every emptied tissue box can find new life as a gift box. Tuck gifts inside and wrap the box with paper. Those gift givers who like to play tricks on their loved ones (there's one in every family) can slip small gifts between layers of tissues inside the box and make the recipient dig around inside to find their presents.
Who knew that your kitchen cabinets were already full of wrapping supplies? Save your cereal boxes to double as gift boxes. You can wrap them in paper, or leave the box as it is. Yours is bound to be the only Cheerios box in the gift pile.