Inexpensive Gift Wrap

by Deana Ricks


The holidays bring with them an opportunity to bless others with gifts from the heart and those gifts will need clever wrappings. Using these creative ideas you can wrap your presents for Christmas (or any occasion) with frugal and/or free wrappings.

Traditional Wrapping Paper

Traditional Christmas wrapping paper and bows can be found throughout the year for just pennies at garage sales. Save the wrapping paper from gifts you receive to be used next year. Try to store the paper rolled up to avoid wrinkles, however wrinkled paper can be ironed out with low heat. Strips of wrapping paper can be curled with the edge of a pair of scissors to make a gift topper.

Gift Bags

Gift bags can be sewn out of scraps of fabric and tied with a ribbon. Brown paper sacks make good gift wrappings, simply fold over the top, punch two evenly spaced holes through the fold and thread a pretty ribbon through the holes and tie. These bags can be hand decorated for extra zing. Shopping bags can be used for gifts by covering the store logo with stickers, marker drawings, or rubber stamp creations. Fill these bags with tissue paper, shredded wrapping paper, Easter grass or any other shredded material.

Alternative Wrappings

Out of wrapping paper? No worries! There are plenty of quick and cheap alternatives. Try wrapping a box in fabric, a bandana or scarf. In this case the wrap can be a part of the gift. Wallpaper, shelf paper, even your child's drawings from school will work. Some people can scrounge large sheets of paper from work such as architectural drawings, blueprints, or maps to use for wrapping. Newspaper and the comics are reliable standbys but for a more modern twist, try a wrinkled paper grocery bag turned inside out and tied with raffia (I actually saw this at a trendy boutique) or slit open a potato chip bag, wipe clean and use the silvery inside as your wrapping.

Alternative Containers

Use what you have: decorative tins, flower pots, glass jars, decorated oatmeal canisters and even empty soup cans (for a "Souper Teacher").

Try some of these ideas next time you are wrapping up a gift... and wrapping up the savings!


Deana Ricks and Angie Zalewski are co-founders of the Frugal Family Network. The present a variety workshops on creative ways to stretch the family dollar (also available on cassette) and publish a popular thrift newsletter.

Take the Next Step

  • Check out our Christmas Countdown Calendar. A 5-week to-do list to help you prepare for Christmas.
  • Check out some additional articles to help prepare for Christmas this year.
  • For inexpensive Christmas gift ideas, click here
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