Holiday Helper: Wrap It Up
by Amy Brayfield
I am the first to admit that those rows of adorable wrapping paper marching down the store aisles get me a little excited, but one look at the price tag is enough to turn me into the Grinch. I am just plain never going to spend $8 for a roll of paper that will wrap maybe two gifts, no matter how adorable the little hand-sketched elves on it are. Nope, no way, not gonna happen.
I don’t, however, think that the fact that I refuse to buy pricey paper means that I can’t have pretty presents. My daughter and I have a great time coming up with creative ways to make our presents look gorgeous without having to shell out a dime for wrapping paper. I thought I’d share some of our favorite wrapping techniques.
This one’s such a classic, but the crisp black and white ink looks absolutely classic when you tie it up with a real ribbon. We use inside pages or classifieds because I like words better than pictures, but you could use any pages you liked. If you’re like me and pretty much always have a pile of recycling waiting in the garage, this technique’s a no-brainer. Use it just as you would wrapping paper.
Old Calendar Pages
Out with the old, in with the new! Instead of just tossing your old agenda and calendar pages, use them to make creative wrapping paper. You can wrap small gifts using one page from a calendar, or layer calendar pages to wrap bigger presents.
I can’t resist a pretty old pillowcase at a flea market, so we usually have a drawer full of them. Pillowcases are a particularly pretty way to wrap presents — for some reason, people are always impressed that you’ve used cloth, but there’s pretty much zero effort involved. You can use the pillowcase as you would paper and fold and tape it in place, or you can just put your gift inside the case and tie it with a bow.
We drink a lot of coffee, and we always have a pile of shiny silver cylinders in the cupboard. These are perfect for smaller gifts — just clean them out, slip your gift inside, pop on the lid and tie on a ribbon.
We buy big rolls of brown paper for art projects, so we usually have a lot of it lying around. I think it makes a nice gift wrap all by itself, but my daughter loves to dress it up by sponging on gold paint, using stencils or drawing pictures.
My husband has probably never crossed a state line without picking up a free map at the Visitors Center. These free maps make great wrapping paper, especially when you’re wrapping a gift for someone who loves to travel.
Waxed Paper Art
This one requires a little more effort, but it’s fun. Collect an assortment of flower petals and leaves (we used rosemary and dill from our herb containers), then pull out your ironing board. Spread a plain cloth on the board, then place a sheet of waxed paper on top of it. Scatter the petals and leaves until you’re happy with the way they look. Put the second sheet of waxed paper over the arrangement, then press your iron across the paper. The heat of the iron glues the sheets of waxed paper together, creating unique wrapping paper.
However you decide to wrap things up, I hope you and your family have a very happy holiday!
Amy Brayfield is a cheapskate, and she's not afraid to admit it. In addition to torturing her children by not taking them to McDonald's every day, she writes about parenting and family topics for various national and local magazines. She lives happily in the Midwest with her husband and two children.