How To Save Money on Gift Wrap

Posted by Jill on December 7, 2009

If you completed your holiday shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it’s time for the next step… wrapping!

So many times I’ve set a budget for a gift and stayed within it – only to spend a fortune buying the perfect wrapping supplies.

If you’re trying to save money this holiday season, consider some of these frugal gift wrap ideas for wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, and more. Inexpensive gift wrap doesn’t have to be ugly, your gifts will still look fantastic and you’ll save money at the same time.

Wrapping Paper Alternatives

  • Wrap in comics or relevant newspaper: I once wrapped kitchen items in grocery ads. You could use the sports section to wrap athletic equipment, or the real estate section when giving items for a new house. Glossy magazine ads also make good wrapping, especially for small items.
  • Jar wrapping
  • Use jars, tins, or other containers: If you’re gifting edible items, tins or jars serve a dual purpose of holding in freshness and a nice presentation. Plus, the “wrapping” can be reused once the gift inside is removed! My aunt once gave me a gift card inside a beautiful gold painted box, with a nice bow on top. It was perfect for storing holiday items throughout the rest of the year.
  • Make the wrapping part of the gift: Give gift cards inside of small items from that place (e.g., a Starbucks card inside a small mug). Give money, gift cards, jewelry, or other small items in a purse. Give school or office supplies in a tote, and dorm room supplies in a trashcan or laundry basket. You can also use reusable grocery/shopping bags to hold your gift of choice.
  • Paper

  • Create your own wrapping: Start with brown packing paper, white butcher paper, or the white side of old wrapping paper. Add stamps, paint, or markers and your imagination! Be creative with a holiday design or something personal to the gift recipient.
  • Cellophane

  • Use bags: Cellophane bags with colored paper and a festive ribbon are a fast and frugal way to present a gift. You can also use brown paper bags, then punch holes and thread ribbon through the top. Either can be purchased very cheaply in bulk, and used for various purposes around the house. If you have kids, let them decorate the brown bag before wrapping.

Dress it Up

Once the wrapping is done, you might want to add a little something to make your gift stand out. Here are some ideas for gift embellishments:

    Gift Tags

  • Create your own tags: You can use simple peel-and-stick address labels to create your own gift tags, at home or on the computer. You can also cut fun shapes out of felt, construction paper, cardstock, or leftover scraps of wrapping paper mounted on cardboard.
  • Recycle supplies: In my family, we like to save ribbon and reuse it from year to year. Last year I had a whole shoebox of ribbon from the year before! You can also cut out large shapes from old Christmas cards, and use them as gift tags – just write the “to” and “from” on the back.
  • Make your own bows: If you have extra magazines or newspaper lying around, you can make some really festive bows to adorn your gifts. Miss M has a nice tutorial to show you how.
  • Add trinkets to the top: If you’re giving a small item such as a key chain or small ornament as part of your gift, tie it to the main gift with some rope, twine, ribbon, or raffia. Personalized key chains or ornaments can double as gift tags.

When it comes to frugal gift wrapping, the sky’s the limit! The trick is to take a look at items you have around the house, and think of ways to repurpose them for wrapping. Set aside a little time to be creative and you might surprise even yourself.

What are your favorite ways to wrap gifts?

Photos by Cuttlefish, E. Bartholomew, loose punctuation, and Mae Armstrong via Flickr

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Comments to How To Save Money on Gift Wrap

  1. I’ve always found one of the cheaper ways to get wrapping paper is to hit the sales after Christmas!


  2. What I usually use as a wrapper is an old magazine… 😛


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