It’s only a few days before Christmas and the stores are overflowing with shoppers getting last-minute gifts and the wrapping to go with them. Every store I went into this week had bins full of festive paper in every color and holiday print. Decorative wrapping paper definitely gives our presents lots of holiday curb appeal, but at what cost? One of the biggest wastes during the holiday season is all the gift wrap that ends up in the recycle bin. That’s if you are a conscious person, but a lot of it will probably end up in the landfill. To lessen the burden on Mother Earth, it’s up to us to come up with creative and alternative ways to wrap gifts. And that includes reusing and repurposing everyday household items and even recycled stuff.
The Brown Paper Bag
Where would we be without the basic brown paper bag? They’ve made a comeback in grocery stores as most are phasing out the everlasting plastic bags. The brown paper bag is a multipurpose resource that can be personalized with some DIY ingenuity. Each gift can be embellished with ribbons, buttons, yarn, stickers, lace, doilies, glitter ink, paint, stamps, and so on. Or if the gift is for grandma or other close family members, let your kids draw some pictures on the paper bag and color them with crayons and markers.
Or you can write a poem or some endearing words on the wrap so it will have sentimental value to the receiver. Or you can use another brown bag and cut out holiday shapes and glue them on your brown bag gift wrap. If you make a mistake, there is a lot of forgiveness, just flip it over and start again. The paper bag can be your go-to wrap that doesn’t cost anything and looks urban chic.
We all have cardboard boxes somewhere in our home or garage that we forgot about. Because boxes come in so many different shapes and sizes, they are the perfect vehicle for a gift. With some creative pondering, a few crafts, and a little patience, you can create a one-of-a-kind holiday gift box.
Or if you have some construction paper or boards, you can cut out your own box. There are lots of free templates you can download and use as a pattern. There are also lots of DIY sites that will teach you how to make a box without a template with step-by-step instructions. And when it comes to decorating, well the skies the limit. Tap into your creativity or get inspired by some DIY suggestions. Or keep it simple with a ribbon and gift tag.
Newspaper and Flyers
Most homes get a newspaper that is discarded at the end of the day. They include lots of cool artwork, ads, banners, comics and crossword puzzles that would make the perfect gift wrap. You can snaz it up with stickers, ribbons, mistletoe, and a festive gift tag. You can even make a bow out of newspaper to add more flair to your gift.
We get tons of flyers in our newspaper, mailbox and you can even find them at your local coffee shop. They can be recycled and reused as gift wrap! I love this idea.
If you are a traveler, then no doubt you have a stack of maps piled in your office collecting dust. We traveled to Europe many times and got a map or two from each of the countries and cities we visited. They have so much sentimental meaning to me. If you have friends who also love to travel, then using a map of a city or country they are fond of as gift wrap, will have a greater impact.
Friends of ours love to visit France as often as possible. They enjoy revisiting quaint little villages, exploring unknown hamlets, and enjoying the fragrant countryside. We wrapped a gift a few years back in a map of France and it brought back a flood of fond memories for them. They poured over the map and reminisced about all the special places they visited. The map meant just as much as the gift, if not more!
Biscuit and Cookie Tins
A lot of the biscuit and cookies tins have decorative lids that could easily be used as a gift container. Most of us have a stack of them in our garage that could be put to constructive use. Cookie tins are sturdy, they seal and they can be repurposed, especially if you are giving any kind of baked goods. But, don’t let that stop your creativity if you are giving other gifts like puzzles or slippers or hair accessories, socks, jewelry, or even gifts for a pet. Amp up your tin by lining it with colorful or festive tissue paper and by adding an endearing message inside.
So what if you don’t like the lid design, but like the tin? Use your imagination and design your own. You can try decoupaging with glue, clipart, festive cutouts, ribbon, or family photos on top. Or sand the lid and spray paint it a holiday-inspired color or stripes or dots or add some Christmas designs like snowflakes, snowmen, trees, or Santa.
We have a lot of everyday items around our home that could be used as an alternative gift wrap. Dishcloths, towels, scarves, doilies, or even an ugly Christmas sweater. Gift wrap doesn’t have to cost us much or fill our landfill. Use what you have and embellish it with crafts you have on hand. Happy wrapping!