But I like the idea of using usable gifty items as presents too. Like a dishtowel, or a tablecloth, etc.
What do you use as gift wrap?
and bought a bunch of scarves and holiday pillowcases from the thrift store last year. I wrapped everyone's presents in those, and have them again this year to re-use.
My MIL buys new boxes and gift wrap every single year and it drives me absolutely nuts seeing the wasted paper!
In our home, we rarely every buy gift wrapping paper or boxes. I reuse whatever we have on hand. Sometimes it's gift wrapping saved up from a present we got, sometimes it's a brown paper bag and sometimes it's just plain white paper.
I just jazz it up creating some kind of design on it. I created this bunting gift wrap using plain white paper and sketch pens.
We reuse wrapping paper and paper gift bags, but most of our gifts exchanged within the family go in cloth gift bags. We made some 10 years ago by buying holiday fabric on sale in January and sewing some simple bags in various sizes. Just put in the gift and either bunch up the top and tie a ribbon around it, or fold over the end and tie a ribbon around the whole gift. You can snip a hole in the gift tag and slide it onto the ribbon before tying.
Several of my relatives liked the idea so much that they made their own bags, and now we trade them around every year!
I did the same thing and made a bunch of fabric bags that get passed back and forth, works great and dont get torn or crushed on the long trip over the river and through the woods to grandma's house :) Growing up we saved all our wrapping paper, carefully unwrapping each gift. My family is still reusing pieces of paper from 20+ Christmases ago...it is kinda of nostalgic to see the paper again, I have my favorites! I ended up with an outrageous amount of tissues paper from my baby shower, I am going to be 100 by the time I get through that pile....for a friends shower we asked guests to "go green" and use creative alternatives to wrapping paper, the gifts were "wrapped" lovely and so unique....oh dear, I digress...
My grandmother was a great user of newspaper, but we don't get a newspaper, so that's not an option for us.
We re-use gift bags and boxes from things we've received, and we save the plain white/unbleached/kraft packing paper from things we order for smalls to paint/stamp/draw on to make wrapping paper, but mostly, we use the set of fabric drawstring bags my mother and I have made. My mom's are all specific to Christmas, but the ones I've made are general-- whenever I have a fat quarter to 1/2 yard of fabric with a cute print that I don't have any other use for, I make a new bag. The ones I make are double-drawstring, too, so they get used for all kinds of things besides gift wrapping-- knitting project bags, overnight bags for our kids, toiletry bags for long trips, stuff sacks for fiber batts, laundry bags for delicate items, etc. We also have a stash of those free tote bags that seem to come home from every symposium and conference that normally see duty as grocery bags but work the holiday shift as wrapping when the need arises. I also folded a bunch of origami boxes of various sizes a few years ago that we use every year.
We've only bought wrapping paper once, and it was many years ago...I'm glad not to have it cluttering my to-do list and my studio closet!
Love your post! I have been collecting thrift store and flea market fabric (often large printed cotton shirts, like hawaiin shirts, etc.) and silk scarves for this purpose. I cut out well-sized squares or circles for the gifts with pinking sheers, then tie them with pretty ribbon or nice chunky yarn. Sometimes the receiver just gives me back the wrapping, admitting they'll not know what to do with it. That's just fine by me, though I wish to spread the idea. :)
I've seen reusable gift wrapping packages and bags at Whole Foods in the past that have a little area to record the giver and receiver over time, like a library book card. I love the idea of receiving something with a list of other people who have received gifts before me and remember all the generosity flowing out in the world. :)