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Time is flying by! Christmas is almost here! Almost all of our presents have been purchased. Some have arrived. Some are on their way. It’s time to get serious about this Christmas morning thing.
I don’t know about you, but one thing we always struggled with is wrapping presents. The main problem being that we have very rarely had child-free hours to wrap our children’s gifts without their knowledge. I would usually wait until they were asleep to wrap gifts and since I was always tired and busy in the weeks leading up to Christmas, this usually came down to an all-night Christmas Eve wrapping session. It wouldn’t be so bad except Rick never helps with the wrapping. He says it’s his job to encourage me, so he drinks coffee and talks to me while I sit hunched over gifts until 2AM. I love that man. One year, my friend Rachel came to “help.” She and my husband are exactly alike. It is scary how much those two have in common. Needless to say, she was more of a support person rather than any actual help 🙂
Although, Rachel did help me in one big way that year.
I was up very late, as usual, and getting tired. I reached the final presents that needed wrapping. They were some Bionicle toys I had purchased on a Facebook yard sale site. I had gotten a bargain- an entire bag full of them for $7. Some were from McDonald’s, and some were the full-size Lego version. It wouldn’t matter to the boys. They loved them all. Anyway, since they were used, they weren’t in a box. I was struggling trying to figure out how to wrap them nicely, when Rachel made a wonderful suggestion. She said I should hide them all in the tree and be done with the wrapping. I paused for a moment. I liked the idea. I mean, I was exhausted, and it would be a whole lot easier, but I had to ask myself if it could be done. The idea was so non-traditional. It almost felt sacrilegious.
Exhaustion won. Those babies went in the tree.
I did try to make it look nice. They were placed carefully throughout the tree. In the morning, the boys noticed them right away. I told them that the Bionicles hidden in the tree were their’s, but they had to find them all. They completely bypassed all of the wrapped gifts and spent a long time trying to find all of the Bionicles. This non-traditional “unwrapping” is still one of their favorite Christmas memories.
It was also completely free.
Thinking back on Rachel’s good advice, and what a blessing it was to me, I thought it might be a blessing to you to share some creative gift wrapping ideas that will save you money. I mean, who isn’t looking for ways to save a buck or two here in the home stretch.
So, here are my ideas for Creative Gift Wrapping That Will Save You $$$$$$
Like our hidden Bionicles, you can have gifts that are un-wrapped. This works especially well for gifts that are too big to wrap traditionally. The shear size and surprise of the big gift just being in the room makes the fact that they are un-wrapped irrelevant. In fact, it often adds to the excitement that the gift is just sitting there for all to see. Some big gifts that can be left un-wrapped are bikes, child-size kitchen, playhouse, child-size tool bench, power wheels, and more! These gifts are already so pricey, why spend extra to cover them up? Leave them out in the open for all to see. Unwrapped presents don’t have to be large, though. We have left some smaller gifts out in the open. In fact, we usually try to have at least one un-wrapped gift each year for effect. One year it was hats. One year it was big candy canes. For several years, it was accessories for my daughter’s American Girl collection, including a sleigh. You can hide it, stack it, or put it right out in front. My go-to rule: If it isn’t easily wrapped, leave it un-wrapped.
Non- Traditional Wrapping
Wrapping with the Gift– There are ways to present gifts that don’t involve regular wrapping paper- and I’m not talking gift bags, either. Why not wrap your gifts with a gift? One year, I remember giving a gift of a sheet set to a young, newly married couple. Rather than buying gift wrap, I took one of the pillow cases and treated it like a gift bag. I placed everything else inside it, and used a long strip of lace that I had in the house to tie a bow at the top. It looked so elegant- way prettier than gift wrap. You couldn’t even tell that it was a pillowcase. The beauty of the gift was complimented, and when she realized it was a pillow case, the receiver was surprised and delighted. You can wrap other gifts with themselves. For example, a bathrobe could be wrapped to hold a pajama set, just tie it with a bow. Kitchen tools could be wrapped in dish towels. Let you imagination run wild, and you can think of a way to make your gifts into wrapping.
Wrapping without Gift Paper– You know I love it when Christmas gifts are more than just presents, they are an experience. Well, non-traditional wrapping lends itself SO easily to experiences on Christmas morning. Plastic wrap covered presents are usually a Christmas party game, BUT think about how much your children will enjoy it when unwrapping gifts becomes a game, too! Just don’t wrap too many in plastic wrap. It’s not as much fun if you have to battle with the plastic wrap for everything. Another great idea I found was making a Yarn Gift Ball. It’s the same idea as the plastic wrap covered gift. You will be unwinding yarn forever, so don’t go overboard, BUT you can keep the yarn afterwards. Think of how perfect this would be for the crafty pre-teen girl!
Wrapping with Recyclables– Or, to put it another way, re-use your trash! I saw this idea on Pinterest for Soda Bottle Gift Wrap. We don’t have sodas in our house, too often, but with so many holiday parties, you are sure to find a few lying around needing to be re-used. Items like newspaper and brown paper are recyclables that are commonly used for wrapping. You could also use paper towels, bathroom tissue, notebook paper, old magazines, junk mail, or whatever else you have on hand. Use twine, lace, or yarn instead of ribbon. Take old clothes that were torn, stained, or otherwise unlikely candidate for donation, and recycle them. I love this idea for a Christmas Treat Bag made from a sweater. Don’t let yourself be stifled creatively. Mix it up. Christmas doesn’t have to be serious. Have a little fun!
Ways to Save with Traditional Wrapping
So, I know that some of you all may not want to stray too far away from the traditional gift wrapping. I understand. You know I have Martha Stewart dreams 🙂 No worries. There are still ways to save creatively, while sticking to your traditions.
Thrift Store Wrapping Paper– I can’t say it enough. You should be shopping at the thrift store, or you are missing out on some bargains. Thrift stores often carry wrapping paper at a great price. My favorite local thrift store has Christmas wrapping paper throughout the year priced between 25 cents and $1. The main thing I am checking for when I pick up wrapping paper from the thrift store is cleanliness, attractiveness, and weight. If it looks clean and attractive, and feels heavy, we have a winner. If it is significant to my family (like Power Ranger paper when the boys were little), then it is even better. I can’t remember the last time I bought paper from a store. The pickings may be small now, but if you happen to be in the thrift store in the next day or two, keep your eye out.
Use Color Themes– We use color themes in our home to save. Brian is blue, Ricky is Green, and Briana is red or pink. Rick and I have silver and gold. With color themes, we only buy a certain amount of paper, maybe three or four, of each color every year. The papers aren’t all one color. Instead, we choose papers with a predominant color. Those papers are used to wrap the gifts of the person whose color family they belong in. By having a clear plan about colors and papers, we don’t get stuck buying too many papers. Plus, the next year, I can use any of the leftover paper, and buy less if I can. Another great way to save when you use color themes is by skipping the name tags. Everyone in our house knows whose gifts are which color. They don’t have to look at the name tag. If it’s predominantly blue, we pass it to Brian. Christmas morning is much less complicated with color themes.
Minimize Extras– Every package doesn’t need a bow. You don’t have to use curling ribbon. Most of the time, we do without any of the extras, but if you want to add them for a bit of pizzazz, keep it to a minimum. You can still have a beautiful Christmas without making each gift a masterpiece.
Make Your Own Bags– I won’t say much here because over the last few days I have seen many versions of “How to Make Gift Bags Out of Wrapping Paper” on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Youtube. Chances are, you have seen it, too. On the off chance you haven’t, I didn’t want to leave this one off the list because, if you have cheap wrapping paper lying around, this may be a good option to help you save. Here is a great post that has pictures and a video.
Finally, let me share with you one other great idea about what to do with all that wrapping paper once you are done tearing it apart for Christmas. Don’t throw it away yet! Check out this awesome post about a New Year’s Eve Game using that messed up wrapping paper- because, if you can use it again, you are saving even more and having more fun!
Folks, this is Christmas time! We can have a blast, and save money! I hope you have gotten a few ideas about how you can wrap your presents creatively and save $$$$$$. Do you have any more ideas about how to wrap creatively and save? Be sure to share them in the comments below. I look forward to learning new ideas from my friends.
Have a wonderful Christmas Eve Eve!