Friday, December 16, 2011

Crafty Christmas: Fun, Frugal and Green Gift Packaging Ideas

Christmas Countdown: Christmas is just 1 week away!

Having a Christmas budget is so crucial for gift giving, but sometimes, the cost of gifts isn't the problem. Running out to the store to pick up more bags, bows, tags, gift wrap and tape can cause your Christmas budget to swirl out of control. I've been there and done that, and years ago, Jason and I started thinking up more frugal, fun and green ideas to keep our costs down and our creative energy high.

We're still working our way through our excessive mountain of bows, tubes of wrapping paper and sheets of tissue paper that we bought in years past, but here are some of the ideas we've either done ourselves or are planning to do once our current stockpile runs out:

Gift wrap
  • Do you have kids in your life (nieces, nephews, sons, daughters, etc.)? Have them draw on plain paper grocery bags or heavy paper and use that for gift wrap. Even if they're only 1, they can still participate in this since most kids that age and up can hold a thick crayon and move it on paper. This is economical and fun for your kids to do, too.
  • Newspaper and magazines - I can't stress this one enough! Use up all your magazines you get for free through the mail and newspapers you get for free from family and friends for this project. Free and gives a second purpose to these items.
Bags we bought in bulk (we found green ones!)
Also, note the homemade gift tag attached.
My husband is a creative genius!
  • Buy plain brown paper bags in bulk from a craft supply store (like Joann's). Be sure to use a coupon and you can get several bags for a few dollars. Decorate the bags with rubber stamps and stickers and have the kids in your life join you for this activity, too.
  • Make your own bags out of brown paper bags you get for free at the grocery store. Most grocers still have brown paper bags; you just have to request they use them when bagging your groceries. Again, decorate these bags with stickers, rubber stamps, drawings, or just leave them plain. This is FREE and gives a second purpose to these bags.
Gift tags
Gift tags crafted from Christmas cards
This just shows a few of the ones I've
created over the years. My
collection is quite extensive!
  • Make your own gift tags from address label sheets or other sticky sheets.
  • Use scraps of wrapping paper that you wouldn't be able to use to wrap a gift to make tags.
  • Raid your crafting supplies and pull out glitter, markers, paints, construction paper, etc. Make your own gift tags. Jason and I did this some years ago, and it was so fun. He's such a genius - his looked so good! Mine... well let's just say, if we had kids, I would have gladly said my kids made mine (instead of admitting an adult had made them).
  • This is my most favorite idea ever - get out the Christmas cards you received in past years or this year. Look at the front and see if you could cut out bits of the card to make gift tags. Just punch a hole near the top and use the back for the "to" and "from" distinctions. We've been doing this for several years, and last year, my mum asked me where I got the tag I used on her gift because she just loved it. When I told her I just cut it out from a Christmas card, she was in awe! Making gift tags this way is completely free and very green!
Tissue paper
  • Newspapers will come in handy here, too. Sheets of newspaper are a great substitution for tissue paper and much more friendly to your wallet.
  • As with most things holiday-related (like gift wrap and tags), consider recycling tissue paper that you used in years past and this year. Tissue paper is usually good for several years.
Magazine bows
  • Jason and I aren't such a fan of using bows (Preston chews on them horrendously, and he's already managed to pull one completely off a gift that is under the tree!), so when we run out of our current supply, I think we might just be done with them for awhile. But if you like bows and don't have a cat or other creature ruining them, you can make bows out of magazine papers. Click here for a quick tutorial on this.
  • If you don't have a surplus of magazines, you can still make your own homemade bows out of ribbon or regular paper. Joann's offers bow-making classes for around $10, or you can find tutorials on the internet like one I mentioned above.
There are so many fun, frugal and green gift packaging ideas that you likely don't need to spend any money if you don't want to on these items (LOVE!). You can repurpose items you already have in your house, save some money and unleash your creative energy. The recipients of the beautifully and creatively packaged gifts will love that you put yourself not only in the gift, but in the packaging, too. It's a fun way to spend a snowy afternoon and brings the entire family together.

Share with us: What packaging ideas have you used that were fun, frugal or green?

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