Frugal Sustainable Gift Wrapping

Today we have something a little out of the ordinary at the kind of Self Sufficient Life; a guest post from Kate Willson about helping achieve a frugal gift giving season this year.  So over to Kate:

Christmas is fast approaching, and as some of you may know, sometimes buying the wrapping paper can cost as much as the actual gifts. To save money this season and continue with your mission to live green, below are some great and cheap ways to package your gifts this Christmas.

  1. Old Gift Bags/Wrapping paper—The easiest way to save and be green is to simply reuse old wrapping paper and gift bags. Scour through your old Christmas stash and pick the pieces that have the less damage. If you don’t save your wrapping paper, bags, bows and or ribbons, make it a habit to save them this year. Just try not to savagely rip open the present to keep the paper in good condition for the following Christmas.
  2. Brown Paper Bags – If you have not jumped on the bandwagon and started to use fabric totes for your grocery shopping, reuse the brown paper bags from the grocery store. You can give it a classic look by adding some natural twine, hemp, or natural pine-cones, shells or twigs of berries fro m your yard. If you want to give it a fun and creative look you can decorate it with some art work like your children’s hand-prints or stenciled flowers. If you want to be extra sustainable, you can even draw on ribbons with crayon and marker.
  3. Newspapers –Reusing newspaper as wrapping paper can be seen as cheap, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. The trick to making it look sophisticated is to avoid sections with a lot of ads or photos. Again, add some twine or a simple black ribbon to complete the look. If you’re wrapping the gift for a child or someone with a really great sense of humor, then use the colorful comic strip section.
  4. Old Children’s books – Similar to the comic book option, using pages from old children’s picture books for wrapping is a fun and expensive way to package gifts.
  5. Road Maps – Wrapping gifts in old travel maps isn’t only aesthetically pleasing, it’s also educational. You can also personalize it—was there a special place that you and the recipient traveled together?
  6. Sheet Music – If you have some old sheet music lying around, it can serve as some artistic wrapping paper. This alternative is also extremely appropriate if you are giving a musical gift such as an iPod or CD, for example. If gives them a little hint of what’s to come.
  7. Gift Baskets –For the gifts that can’t necessarily be wrapped (maybe they’re odd shaped) use wooden gift baskets, bottles, mason jars or tins that you have around the house or that can be purchased at your local resale shop. While typically these kinds of containers are used for edible gifts, you can put all kinds of items in there, including jewelry. You can either wrap the containers in fabric or old wrapping paper, or simply put a bow on it.

Extra Tip: If you are packaging something that is fragile, make sure to use biodegradable, organic “peanuts” which can be composted in the garden. Another alternative is to use popcorn. Attach a note explaining how the popcorn can be transformed into bird feed.

This guest post is contributed by Kate Willson, who writes on the topics of top online colleges.She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

4 Responses to “Frugal Sustainable Gift Wrapping”

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  1. The popcorn packaging idea is a great idea I never thought of! And it’s also very smart to include a note about how it can be reused.

    You can also use newspaper to pad packages – either wadding it or shredding it as you need it. The newspaper can later be used as mulch in the recipient’s garden. Free and recyclable!

  2. This is a nice collection of ideas. I like #4 especially! I actually picked up a small Babar book at a local rummage sale with the idea to make it into cards or gift decorations. It turned out that we actually like reading the book too much to cut it up. Maybe next time!

  3. ayesha christmas says:

    Another good idea is to use attractive versions of the reuseable shopping bags that supermarkets and other retailers like Ikea and OXFAM sell cheaply or even sometimes give away as promotions. You know the kind of thing, jute or calico, or canvas and plastic.
    If you use these there are several benefits, they are useful, often attractive and may be used on a daily basis long after the present has been consumed. The gift that goes on giving!

  4. Liz says:

    All great ideas! I have a collection of old calendars that I use for gift wrapping.