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Wrapping Christmas gifts with reusable cloth bags for the frugal and conservation-minded. Expensive, good paper drains the chequebook. Frugal options such as newsprint, reused gift bags, or the Sunday comics look less than festive under the tree. Ribbons, tape, name tags, and tissue can all add to the cost. Not to mention it all winds up in the trash the next morning. This year many will consider the alternative: reusable, re-purposed, really fine cloth Christmas wrapping bags.
Cloth Reusable Gift Bags for a Green Christmas Wrap
Reusable bags have long been around for Christmas wrapping – isn’t Santa’s sack really a big velvet bag? But this idea takes cloth bags to a new level. Gift bags of all shapes and sizes make wrapping gifts a snap and reduce waste to nothing.
Simple Craft Project to Make Cloth Gift Bags
One resourceful shopper found several fleece throw blankets in a hearty red at her local thrift store and had an idea. By cutting straight across each blanket and folding each length in half, she had the makings of two Christmas wrapping bags. For three pounds in blankets, she soon had six bags and a plan. The local discount fabric store offered a shimmery taffeta-style fabric for a pound a metre.
For five pounds and pennies in the thread, she sewed up another dozen bags in various sizes. This easily frayed fabric required a hem around the opening which quickly became a drawstring option. Cording or satin ribbons make festive ties and decorations. Name tags can be made from scraps of paper, last year’s Christmas cards, or handmade from blank index cards.
No-Sew Options for Making Cloth Gift Bags
Access to a sewing machine and simple sewing skills speed this job but with a no-fray fabric such as fleece, bags could even be made with a stapler. Simply fold a large rectangle of fabric in half. The folded edge becomes the bottom of the bag. Staple (or sew) along the two opposite sides leaving the fourth side untouched. Then fold the bag inside out and voile! Fill with frugal Christmas gifts and pile them around the tree.
We have been programmed by the Chrostmas wrapping paper and greeting card industries to believe that the shinier and more elaborate the outside is, the more the recipient will like the gift inside. With a few simple, fun, and eco-friendly ideas, gift-wrapping can become significantly less expensive while drastically reducing our contributions to the already overflowing landfills.
A Few More Alternative And Inexpensive Ways To Wrap Gifts Without Gift-Wrap Include:
Reusable Shopping Bags
Purchase these planet-friendly bags at most supermarkets and chain retailers for about one pound and simply slide the gift into the bag. Tie the handles shut with a little raffia and create an eye-catching bow.
Fabric can be purchased very inexpensively at clearance sales. For someone handy with a sewing machine or glue gun, gift bags made of remnants can be easily crafted in all sizes. Encourage others to ditch the expensive wrapping paper by making a set of bags and giving those as a gift.
Receiving blankets makes the perfect wrapping for any baby gift. Parents can never have too many receiving blankets. Wrap a gift of baby clothes or accessories in a receiving blanket and tie it with a matching ribbon.
Pillowcases Or Sheets
Purchase gently used pillowcases or sheets at rummage sales and resale shops for less than a pound. After laundering, these recycled linens are ready to become unique wrapping for any special gift. Add some personality to the linens with fabric markers, paints, or other embellishments. The pillowcases can be tied shut with a ribbon, or shred a length of fabric from a sheet and fray its edges for a homespun look. Sheets are great for wrapping large or oddly shaped items.
Decorative cookie tins can be found for pennies at rummage sales and resale shops. These containers can be used in place of wrapping for gifts ranging from books and DVDs to jewellery. Purchase plain tins in bright jewel tones or silver or gold during post-Holiday sales for a fraction of their original cost.
Re-Use Gift Bags
Throughout the year, every household receives gifts presented in store-bought gift bags. Do not throw these bags away. Smooth the bags flat, store and use them when you need to wrap the next gift. Be careful not to re-gift it back to its original owner.
It is fun to give gifts but during difficult economic and ecological times, using alternatives for wrapping and presenting a thoughtfully chosen gift can also be thrifty and environmentally smart.
Save several sheets of front-page headlines from the recycling bin and use them as gift wrap. Newspaper gift wrap works great for wrapping any flat gift. Add some colour and pizzazz with a piece of ribbon or keep it simple and tie it with twine. Newspaper-wrapped gifts are fun for the kids to give to Dad, especially if he is the handy sort. Let the kids do their own wrapping. Instead of the clear tape, make it fun and use Dad’s grey duct tape.
The Sunday newspaper comics are bright, cheerful and an inexpensive alternative to wrapping paper. Comics make a great wrap for kid presents or for anyone who appreciates a little whimsy while recycling paper products.
Wasting wallpaper scraps wastes money. Wallpaper scraps make for sturdy gift wrap that is eco-friendly and pretty.
Brown Postal Paper
A roll of recycled brown postal paper can cost half of what a roll of fancy wrapping paper costs. It has the added benefits of being more tear resistant and it can be decorated for any occasion. Gift givers can personalize this gift wrap to match the gift or the personality of the recipient. Let kids in on the fun to decorate the paper with drawings, stickers, or stamps.
Wrapping gifts without gift wrap can be inexpensive, creative, and earthy-friendly. When a roll of wrapping paper can cost as much as £3.50 plus £2 for a spool of coordinating ribbon plus another £2 for a package of decorative tissue paper, we are adding almost ten pounds to the cost of a gift. Is it worth the expense? Now consider the ecological cost. According to Earth911.com, about 4 million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bags are trashed in just the United States every year. That’s a lot of waste for nothing more than presentational packaging.
Image Credit: depositphotos.com