You could also use newspaper - but it has to be to the right person who knows you are a cheapskate and still loves you.
For everyone else, I take pride in the appearance of outside wrapping of the gifts I give. So, here are some tried and true ideas that are SUPER cheap or FREE:
- Recycle gift bags - I have a TON of gift bags that I received from my wedding, baby showers, Christmas, etc. I re-use them all the time. Every year my work has a Christmas ornament exchange. I was delighted one year when I received my ornament in a gift bag that I gave several years before! Side note...if you become overrun with these, I have sold them at yard sales with great success.
- Brown grocery bags - This could fall under the cheapskate category if you don't do it right. I remove the flat bottom of the bag and cut a slit up one side. I wrap the gift so that the printing from the bag is on the inside. Then put on a raffia bow. If you have stamps or a sister-in-law with a stamping obsession, you could put rubber stamp images on the outside of the bag. You could also decorate with stickers or have your children color on it for grandparent gifts. I hear you can also make a stamp out of a potato...but I haven't taken it that far :)!
- Christmas wrap - Hear me out on this one...I like to purchase Christmas wrap at ROCK BOTTOM prices at the end of the season. I dig for wrapping that is one solid color or that could double as birthday or other. One year I found a roll that had a green background with red and blue dots. I have used it for all occasions.
- The Funny Papers - I did this a lot as a kid. Wrap gifts to kids in the comics from the newspaper. They are colorful and fun and a great way to recycle.
- Aluminum Foil - I have done this too, it is especially great for those FREE with overage rolls of Reynolds Foil many of us got from Walgreen's a few months ago. I would only do this for smaller packages.
- Other common items - use old maps for your traveling friend, old sheet music for your musical friend, etc.
I also save boxes of all sizes to be used for wrapped gifts and I recycle ribbon or use cheap ribbon I buy at after holiday sales. I've also heard of people fashioning saran wrap into fancy bows with great success - I have not done this. With a little creativity, though, there really is no reason to pay for gift wrap - just use your imagination.
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