Friday, December 16, 2016

A Tightwad's Tips for Gift-Wrapping

During Thanksgiving, Chuck's boys were remembering Christmases past. There was a reference to Dreaming of a White (Envelope) Christmas. 

I took that as a challenge to find SOMETHING for each of the kids to open at Christmas, besides a white envelope. I love the idea of a white Christmas, but not  that kind. It's challenging because gift cards have become so popular, but I'm doing it, by golly! Even if I have to resort to wrapping money in a pretty gift box. 

Gift wrapping does not have to be expensive, especially if you take advantage of the re-useable decorated gift boxes and bags. Mason jars are a new thing I'm trying this year. I confess to spending a little more money on some beautiful Mary Engelbreit gift cylinders, for wine bottles, I suppose, but they work well for socks, scarves, and other soft things that can be stuffed inside them. I've used them for years. 

Our family re-uses all of the gift-wrapping supplies, except for the paper; I draw the line there. I'm frugal, but I'm not a fanatic. My kids know that after they open their gifts, I appreciate being able to re-use the containers, and the trims, and they put them all in a pile separate from the trash when we clean up the Christmas morning aftermath. 

Some of the gifts under our tree are wrapped in designer gift wrap I found at Goodwill last year; I found a brand-new tube of Mary Engelbreit Christmas wrap for $1.50. 

Thrift shops are a good place to find ribbon, bows, and floral picks. In Illinois, I've discovered Aldi's is a great place to find good deals, not just on my groceries, but gift wrap and bows, too. I admit that I save the fabric ribbons that adorn things I buy throughout the year like blankets, towels, and robes, and I just iron them with my hair straightener before wrapping presents with them. 

I love to wrap gifts, and for an extra-special touch, I pleat the gift wrap. It is a technique I learned from my sister-in-law. It does take a little more paper to do this, but if you are curious, you can check out her pleated paper technique HERE.

Pleated paper technique, combined with curling ribbon, a bow, and a tag. Eye candy for under the tree!

For finishing touches, I love to combine textures, utilizing twine, gauzy ribbon, wired ribbon, curling ribbon, shiny bows, and floral picks. During the Christmas holidays, there are so many decorative additions to choose from:  holly and berries, ornaments, pine cones and evergreens. Caution: If you like to save money, wait until these items go on sale, unless you find them at a thrift shop or discount store.

My BIG money-saving tip is obvious: Shop the after-Christmas sales. Picks, ribbons, and bows can be pricey before the holidays, and even though it's a pain to store them for 12 months, when Christmas rolls around, I'm always so happy to to see that I'm well-stocked in wrapping supplies, for less than half the price of full retail! 

This suggestion may be less obvious: during the post-holiday sales, I look for gift wrapping supplies that can be used for birthdays and other occasions, too. There are beautiful paisley prints and fun polka dots and stripes that would work for any time of the year. Sometimes gift wrap is double sided with a print on one side, and a solid color on the other. 

Wrapped Pringles cans are a great container for cookies and treats, and the Mason jar is filled with love notes.

If you love to wrap gifts as much as I do, and know other ways to save money doing it, please share your ideas here with us! 

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