Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times
You survived shopping on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and even Cyber Monday, but still, the fiasco of Christmas is not over just yet. Now, it’s time to wrap all of those goodies. Christmas wrapping, or as I like to call it, Christmas present accessorizing, is an expense that often gets overlooked. In some cases, the paper, tape, ribbons and bows cost more than the gift you’re wrapping!
This is something I realized the first Christmas I was married. Usually, I would wrap presents at my parent’s house and just bogart all the stuff my mom bought. Apparently, once you are employed and married, this is frowned upon by the parentals. In fact, aside from getting my own insurance, it’s one of the perks my parents experienced as I entered adulthood.
As was the case three years ago, finding money to buy for everyone in my family is a challenge. It takes much planning and a lot of saving. So, over the years I have had to become very creative with the way I wrap presents. Here are some ways I save money in the gift-wrap department, and hopefully they will help you too:
Use newspapers as wrapping papers and bows
I started doing this when I got a job at The Valdosta Daily Times. This method used to be looked down upon, but with the rise of the hipster armada, it has actually become quite trendy. Another trick I picked up at The Times (aside from my mad writing skills) is making newspaper bows. A woman who worked in advertising made one for a secret Santa present one year and from then on, I’ve been hooked on them. There are several methods and they are fairly easy to make. Just Google “how to make a newspaper bow” and you will see several links full of instructions.
Use twine instead of pricey ribbon
This Christmas, naturalistic wrappings are very in. Browns, beiges and dull golds are very trendy and chic. Target has a good selection of this style of paper and it is available at $2.50-$5 per roll. Twine as a substitute for ribbon complements this style very well. In fact, my presents wrapped in this style look much more upscale.
Use old Christmas cards to decorate your gifts
For whatever reason, people like to hoard Christmas cards for years. These collections become a great resource for gift décor.
Little ornaments and trinkets to adorn your gift can cost as much as an entire roll of ribbon, so instead, you can find cards you really like and cut sections of them into circles, or cut out a particular shape around a single reindeer, and punch a hole in them and loop them with twine.
If the back is blank, you can even use it as a gift tag. Just tie it onto your present and you’re done!
Have a store gift-wrap for you
Many stores, especially around the holidays, will gift-wrap for free. It’s not much, just a paper bag, tissue paper and ribbon. A lot of the times it has the name of the store on the bag, but that can be a nice touch. For example, I bought my in-laws different gifts from popular stores, and I had each of them gift wrapped at the store. I arranged all the bags in a cheap basket and it is going to be a really great themed gift.
as gift bags
Reusable shopping totes are great for the environment and incredibly trendy this year. In fact, I only use reusable shopping totes when I go grocery shopping. Many stores, such as Old Navy, sell really cute, cheap totes that make great gift bags. The cost of a shopping tote is often less money than a fancy bag, and it also becomes part of the gift instead of something the other person is going to throw away. Stuff it with tissue paper (or newspaper to be trendy) to make it feel more like a gift.
Well, my dear budgeteers, these are the things that I personally do to save on wrapping expenses, and I hope that you can adopt a few of these yourselves. After all, if I do it, it must be cool. Don’t forget to like me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BrittanyDenneyMcClure and follow me on Twitter @BudgetBrittany. Happy wrapping!