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4 Creative Ways to Wrap a Present

Your friends and family won’t expect these (totally free) wrapping papers, and they won’t forget them either.

alternative wrapping paper

So you've purchased your gifts, or maybe even made them yourself. The thoughtfulness doesn't have to end there. Part of the fun of a gift is the surprise and that excited moment when the present is opened. What's not fun about the holidays is the tons of wasted wrapping paper. In my family we are notorious for last minute present wrapping, and there is never enough wrapping paper to go around (forget finding a pair of scissors on Christmas Eve, it's impossible). So, I've learned to be crafty.

I'm an expert wrapper, having worked the holiday season wrapping for Restoration Hardware during college. I can work with many different shapes and sizes of gifts (cylindrical items? Piece of cake.). But a great way to add some personality to your gift is some alternative recycled gift wrapping (you won't find this at the mall). You've probably received, or wrapped yourself, a gift donned in the classic alternative wrapping: the comics section. This is a great one, but there are so many other ways to creatively wrap your gifts.

alternative wrapping paper

Fit to Print:

Last year I wrapped my sister Michele's gift with ads from Ralph Lauren. She's a merchandiser over at Ralph Lauren and gets me the best deals on their eco-friendly sheets.

My other sister, Lydia, will be getting a gift wrapped in ads for the new Twilight movie, like the package I wrapped above. She, like every other teenager I know, is obsessed with the series' books and movies. She'll probably like the wrapping paper more than the gift, but hey, when was the last time you could say that about the store-bought Santa paper?

My father and I have done a lot of traveling this year, so my dad's present will be wrapped in the travel section. I'm not sure if I'll look for articles on places we've been or maybe places I want to go next. That's half the fun of it!

Another idea is to use the newspaper page as a hint toward what the gift is. This makes for a fun guessing game, especially for kids.

Previously I've simply wrapped gifts in newspaper, but I was excited to find some newspaper ribbons creative wrappers had made. The top left image is a wine bottle, covered in newspaper and topped with newspaper ribbons, from Kuroi_doresu. You can make curled ribbons of newspaper the same way you'd make them with store-bought ribbons. Just run one blade of a pair of scissors along the ribbon -- only be a bit more careful not to let the paper rip.

The two other newspaper and ribbon creations are from Heather McGowan and Shelton Davis at Design Cannon.

alternative wrapping paper

J-E-L-L-O: DIY Boxes

I love this Etsy jewlery designer's take on alternative wrapping! From Beans Things. I could see DIY boxes created from all sorts of packaged foods try cookies, popcorn or mac and cheese.

On the Menu:

What's stuffed into your mail box, tossed under your door, thrown in with your dinner and is the perfect size for wrapping books, DVDs and picture frames? Take-out menus, of course. Whether you love Mexican, Chinese, Thai or Indian you probably have far too many of those menus around the house. Try wrapping up your friends' gifts in their favorite restaurant menus.

alternative wrapping paper

It's in the Bag:

If you're anything like us, your world has gone from too many plastic bags to too many tote bags within the last couple of years. What better way to wrap your holiday gifts then in those bags? The girls at BAGGU have a very helpful video demonstrating the process of tote bag wrapping.

For the Wrapping Challenged:

For those who are entirely helpless when it comes to wrapping I found a great (although a bit dramatic) wrapping demo on YouTube. In the video a present is being wrapped on carpet; which I don't recommend, definitely work on a hard surface. Another tip: splurge on double-sided tape.

Happy Wrapping! And if you need something to wrap check out The Daily Green's gift guide.

Related: 11 Ways to Save Trees ... Without Planting One

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Gloria Dawson

Gloria Dawson

Gloria Dawson is The Daily Green's photo editor.
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