Opening all those packages under the tree is one of the most enjoyable parts of a holiday celebration–a part that everyone enjoys, from youngsters to oldsters! And, even the most frugal gift can be transformed into something special by using your imagination and a little creativity!
If you dislike all the waste of paper wrapping–why not spend a little time making fabric gift bags? There are tons of Christmas fabrics available and a simple gift bag can be sewn up very quickly. Basically, cut a rectangle of fabric twice as long as you need it to be and a little bit wider than the object you are wrapping, fold in half, and sew up the sides. Turn right side out, insert gift and gather the top together and tie with matching ribbon or raffia. You might want to cut the top edges using pinking shears to make it more attractive.
Instead of just ribbon and bows this year, make some package toppers out of items found around the house, and outside the house, too. Candycanes, cinnamon sticks, yarn, pinecones – and whatever else you can imagine!
Another great topper idea is to cut a Christmas tree, bell or star shape out of posterboard. Glue on dried pasta of any shape, covering all the cutout, then spray paint it shiny gold. Or cut out a wreath shape, cover with small buttons and spray gold. Add a ribbon bow. Now you have very elegant package decorations!
Use brown craft paper, a recycled paper grocery bag, or newsprint and stamp the outside with holiday ink stamps (or make your own potato stamps!). Kids can also just draw on the paper with crayons.
Almost anything will look pretty when spray painted gold or silver–pine cones, acorns, branches, old plastic flowers and leaves. Place atop a package wrapped in brown paper (recycled grocery bag) for a very pretty effect.
And, remember, your hot glue gun is your best friend when wrapping packages!
Another use for last year’s Christmas cards: Cut the front off a card, glue to the top of a wrapped package and “frame” it with flat ribbon! Try to match the card theme to the recipient, such as an outdoor scene with deer and birds for a young man; a card with a jolly Santa on it for a child, etc.
Children of all ages love a package with candy on top! Glue on round candies in a tree or wreath shape. Or spell out the child’s name in candy pieces. Candy canes look very festive on packages, too.
Custom-looking gift tags can easily be made by cutting out a rectangle of wrapping paper and folding it in half. Write the “to and from” inside and glue to package.
Wrapping packages can be a fun part of your holidays, if you just let your imagination lead the way!
Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the “1 Frugal Friend 2 Another” bi-weekly newsletter and founder of the website of the same name. Visit http://www.cynroberts.com to find creative tips, articles, and a free e-cooking book. Subscribe to the newsletter and receive the free e-course “Taming the Monster Grocery Bill”.
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