WFMW: The Christmas Wrapping Paper Solution-Frugal and Fabulous

With 52 days 'til Christmas WFMW is themed this week. Guess what? Christmas tips!
This one was originally posted December 16, 2008


A couple of weeks ago I bemoaned the very very serious dilemma I was mulling. That of Christmas wrapping paper. To recap: the cheap stuff, is cheap..and nasty. It looks bad, cuts bad, covers bad. It's just bad. Apart from the fact that it is cheap, and it probably recycles better. Those things are good.

So what is a girl to do? Such problems. Such problems! Buying the glossy thick paper which will be ripped and cast aside on Christmas morning seems like literally throwing one's money away, but it is so much nicer to wrap with, it cuts more easily, it does not tear at the slightest provocation. Do I dare? Do I splurge? Buy the nice wrapping paper? Oh the agonizing. It just struck me that this paragraph is really pretty tragic.

So here's what I did. I bought huge rolls of brown wrapping paper (the type you use to wrap packages for mailing) on sale and at the Dollar Store. There's scads on a roll. I have yet to see the end of one. And it is thick, and it is durable. It cuts like a dream. It leaves no hint of what lies beneath. It is a veritable Fort Knox in the world of wrapping. But yeah..it's brown. Not all that festive.

I disagree, gentle reader, I disagree. I see the brown paper as quite charming. It brings to mind memories of getting "parcels" from my granny. Brown paper packages, tied up in string? I mean it's on the original Favourite Things List people! Before Oprah even!


Ok, then what you do is go to Big Lots. (There will most probably be Big Lots in heaven. I just wanted to let you know so there would be no surprises when you get there), and you buy some home-spun looking ribbon, and you tie those brown paper packages with that ribbon. That infinitely recyclable ribbon. And it looks delightful, and enticing and heart-warming and wholesome . Everything Christmas is supposed to be. And I'm not just telling myself that because I'm cheap. Really. It's quite lovely, and I probably will never go back. The other is starting to look quite garish in comparison. That's how wholesome I am becoming. Of course you could also break out the crayons and let your kids make the paper festive. But I am not quite that wholesome yet. I am a work in progress.

And then..behold-in the words of 4 year old Finny when he woke up to find the tree skirt buried under brown paper packages tied up in (pretty) string. "Now that's what a Christmas tree looks like!"
PS: In the past we have bought different paper to differentiate each kids' gifts without them knowing which is whose. This reduces the success of the guessing-what-is-inside-the-package- through-diligent-daily-fondling process slightly. Of course, now that we've gone all brown all the time, we can't do that anymore. So we assigned each kid a symbol which we drew at the bottom of each package. They are going crazy trying to figure out the gig this year. Of course you could have a different type of ribbon for each kid. But that seems less Alias-ish somehow. And we must get our kicks wherever we can find them.

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26 comments:

Wanda said...

I love it!
The symbols idea is so groovy!

I am a wrapping queen.....I love to make presents look amazing.
I use brown...and the white paper then jazz it up with cute ribbons or lacy bows...even flowers or prizes attached.

I've also decorated the package with stickers too or paint stamps!
I always try to personalize the gift.

misnomer said...

My paternal grandparents used to save the comics from the newspaper and wrap holiday gifts in that. As a kid I thought it was neat. I did it many years as a young adult when I was cash poor. I don't get the newspaper anymore, but still love the idea, as well as yours.

It's always bugged me we buy paper with the sole purpose of throwing it away. It never made sense.

Denise said...

I love this, Kirsty!

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage said...

I sometimes do the same thing with newspaper endrolls. You have to double layer the paper, but in my area it's free -- and that's always the best solution :)

Kaye said...

Beautiful!

Abbi said...

So pretty! I do love brown paper packages...

Rachel R. said...

You could use a different color ribbon for each child.

{april kennedy} said...

I was JUST at Target with two very beautiful tubes of Christmas wrapping and going back and forth..."should I or shouldn't I?". I put them back. I'm glad I did now. I love this idea! Thank you!

{ L } said...

I am going to copy this, thank you so much!

Jill said...

Love this idea! Hopefully I remember this when it comes time to wrap...I am known for wrapping on Xmas Eve no matter what my intentions may be before hand...

Carolyn said...

You are BRILLIANT! What a spectacular idea!

Rita Kent at TesoroFino.Com said...

I love the brown paper and one can be very creative with it. You can stamp or decoupage or paint on it to decorate too. Simple is sometimes better and in this case it is. Stop by and browse a bit; I'm sure you'll like what you see. If you do, then don't forget to click the "Follow" button and just below that you can "Subscribe" to my blog to get informative posts and we can both inspire and share with one another to get our creative juices flowing.

Loralee and the gang... said...

Love the brown paper idea. Will do it when all the Christmas paper I bought on close out for really really cheap is all gone... and we used to do the different paper thing. Then one year I didn't write down who's was what. And of course I couldn't just remember. Didn't turn out so well that year...
:~D

Dahling said...

OK - never mind the brown paper packages tied up with ribbon - please don't tell me that on the
4th November you have bought and wrapped your Christmas presents ? What happened to the charming tradition of frantically wrapping 10 minutes before the gifts are ready to be unwrapped ?? What ??

Michael at Wrapsacks.com said...

Great idea Kirsty :)

Have you ever thought about reusable cloth gift bags? They cost a bit more than wrapping paper initially, but you can use the same bags year after year. Our Wrapsacks are hand dyed cotton batik from Indonesia.

They are also a great timesaver :)

Kirsty said...

Shona, read the first line of the post. :/

I had my presents wrapped by December 10th though. Does that count ;) You may remember that I was never actually a fan of/participant in that particular family tradition. One year mom actually wrapped the presents as the handover was occurring. She turned her back and shoved them in a plastic shopping bag. Clearly I am a product of that trauma. But even so, November 4th would be pushing it a bit.

Steph said...

I remember seeing these lovingly wrapped gifts at your home when we still lived in Ohio. They look festive to me and I love the symbol idea to keep them all straight. WTG!

Kristin said...

That is a fabulous idea. And your packages look so charming!

'Becca said...

Beautiful!!

We use mostly cloth bags that we made from holiday fabric bought on clearance in January. We just made simple bags in sizes to fit common gifts and didn't even bother to hem them. Stick in the gift, fold the top around, tie a bow around it to hold it closed, and you're done!

Anonymous said...

In a plastic shopping bag???? Are you sure??? Like one of your other readers, I hate the waste of money that wrapping entails. Rather give a better gift, I say. Love your brown paper idea. Not dirt cheap here, but better than the cheap tearing while you are wrapping it stuff!

Marmie.

Concord Carpenter said...

Great idea! I'm gonna use it this year! Thanks for sharing...

Kat @ TodaysCliche.com said...

Never been to Big Lots. Heard it's addictive. I don't need more addictions!

Sharon said...

Ahhhh! Found you via SITS and then got sucked into your blog! I LOVE the idea of using the brown paper....and then using some special ribbon! It is SO on my to-do list for next year! Thanks for a great idea!

Rachel R. said...

Ooh. I like the symbols idea. My dad came up with a code each year, and labeled our gifts with code. That way we spent most of December trying to crack the code. :) (I don't think we ever did. ONE year we figured out enough to figure out which presents were whose, right before Christmas. But we never fully figured out the code without being told.)

'Becca said...

I saw this post the first time but enjoyed it all over again. I love your certainty that there will be Big Lots in heaven.

Here are my many ideas for thrifty gift-wrapping and reusing holiday stuff.

KC said...

See how you can recycle shopping bags for brown wrapping paper.

http://www.gocraftsy.com/2011/12/how-to-use-recyclable-shopping-bags-as.html