One way to cut down on curbside garbage come December 26th is to think outside the wrapping paper & gift box. There are plenty of things that are destined for the garbage bin that can be repurposed into cheeky and sweet holiday wrapping paper (their last hurrah, if you will). And some prezzies can even multitask as the packaging themselves. Why not earn a few “you’re so creative” comments and save a few bucks while you’re at it?
Map It Out- Our first instead-of-wrapping-paper idea actually came from the fact that John is a map freak. No matter the region, the color, or the type (geographic, topographic, weird and crusty) John is all over ‘em. So when we decided to buck tradition in the gift wrap category, we immediately thought of John’s heaping pile of mostly free maps from rest stops, state capitols, and cross country road trips of yore. Some tape and scissors are all it takes to turn a map into some worldly (or local) gift wrap in a snap. And it’ll keep your guests entertained (and searching for the capitol) even before they rip it off to reveal the real prize inside.
Wrap Your Wrap- You may have noticed our pashmina-as-gift-wrap idea back in last week’s Gift Guide, but in the interest of being thorough we’ll revisit it for a sec. Gotta love an affordable scarf that’s useful ($3 at Walmart!), one-size-fits-all, and can serve as the “wrapping paper” for any number of other items from cookie tins to games and even navigation systems and other grown up toys. And what other form of gift wrap comes in handy on chilly nights?
Go Paperless- In the vein of other gifts that provide the decorative packaging themselves, anything from a blanket or a cardigan to a sweater or even a stack of dish towels needs nothing more than a simple ribbon and a gift tag to cut down on your wrapping time (and your Christmas Day trash pile).
Brown Bag It- Of course there’s always the classic brown paper bag packaging idea. It may sound strange (and you may lament that all your bags are printed), but if you snip them apart and use them inside out they’re chic little butcher-paper-ish gifts that look jolly with some simple ribbon (we also love the natural look of $1 twine from the craft store).
Leave Your Mark- We also loved the idea of leaving hand prints with paint on decorative paper (spotted here) since we’re always suckers for personalization (we actually did something similar with Burger just last month). Doesn’t it look like a super fun way for your little ones to make their mark this Christmas? Stamping a few handprints on butcher paper (or even printer paper for smaller gifts) will definitely create something adorable in an instant. And grandma just might cherish it more than the gift inside.
Tote Time- Lastly, there’s always the fabric or woven bag option. From cotton totes to little straw carry-alls, there’s no shortage of cheap and always-useful bags at places like Target to stuff with goodies for the ones you love. Some of them are so deeply discounted that they rival the cost of a one-time-use paper gift bag. And it’s always fun to get a gift that’s useful through and through (and again and again).
We hope you guys have as much fun packaging your gifts as you do opening the ones with your name on ‘em. Happy wrapping… and ribboning… and repurposing!