Saturday, December 18, 2010

Alternative to Christmas Wrapping Paper

After Christmas morning, my living room is not littered with paper. It's littered with pillowcases and ribbon.

For years, we've avoided purchasing wrapping paper. Although frugality usually tops my reasons for not buying something, this time it has little to do with it. I simply hate wasting that much paper. It literally turns my stomach to see all the garbage (and yes, even piles of recycling) that line our neighborhood street after Christmas. I hate the thought of discarding something that has seen such minimal use.

So every year we get the pillowcases out of the linen closet and dig through a bag of ribbon I found at a yard sale. If an item shows through the pillowcase, we double up the fabric or box it prior to wrapping. If an item is truly too large for a pillowcase (which rarely happens with a low $ limit per family member), we put it in a box or a large popcorn tin (also saved from previous years). For small gifts I reuse wrapping paper we get from packages outside the family. Or we use the old standby, newspaper comics.

It's just as fun to "open" a pillowcase as it is to open paper. Perhaps more fun. You can't hop around in torn wrapping paper after all the gifts are opened! :)


  1. Great idea! I love scarves for the same purpose. In Korean, they call the scarves for wrapping "Bo-je-gi".

  2. This is a wonderful idea! I'm going to use it next year.

  3. I am a frugalist at heart too! I am a chronic re-user of gift bags and untorn wrapping paper. I have been known to use newspaper at times too. I am loving the idea of the pillowcase. Occasionally target and places sell cases for $2. I am going to keep my eye out for red ones and have "reusable" wrapping. Thanks for the idea!

  4. Thanks for sharing! For various reasons we've ended up with little wrapping paper this year. I was thinking of replenishing our stores after Christmas, but I like this idea better! I will work on creating a pillow case stash. very nice.

  5. Great idea! I never buy wrapping paper, but I exchange presents with my family in Michigan, and the rest of them like using it. I get all their used paper for the next year. But it stays in Michigan, and my supply of used paper here at home in California is almost out.

    I put a big piece of red material around the biggest present, and made green squiggles on the plain brown box two of the presents are in. This morning we'll be celebrating our California Christmas, because we fly to Michigan tomorrow. It's 7:55am and we were up late last night, cleaning up after our solstice party (also early, it should be on the 21st), so my son will wake up pretty late.

  6. I have a friend who has sewn all her gift bags for Christmas and birthdays for her kids ( she reuses every year and she has 4 children. She gets the materials on sale. I always admired her for doing it but didn't want to do all that sewing, love the pillow case idea:)

  7. I use pillowcases, too. And homemade gift bags (I started with a couple and make a few more every year). This year, I'm adding Xmas napkins and larger "scarves" (furoshiki style). I bought the napkins (perfect for books and other small objects) and tablecloths that I've cut into squares last year after Xmas on sale. Cheap and pretty.
    Marie in MI

  8. I love this idea, but it'll have to wait til next year. I still had paper left to use up.

  9. My family started this tradition several decades ago. Mom makes bags of various sizes and with various Christmas prints. The ribbons are either tied around the top or encased in a small hem. She buys the fabric and ribbons on sale. As our family grew so did the amount of bags. We started making rubber stamped cardstocked gift tags and now write the year as well as the to/from info. It is fun to see where the bags have been over the years. When my nephews were young my sister trained them to grab up the extra bags to "clean up." Yeah, to clean up so my sister could take them to use at her house! LOL! It is a tradition that we have carried with us and one that I am sure we both will continue as part of our families heritage. My daughter who is 10 has never seen Grandma's tree without fabric gift bags. We have so many bags now that mom rarely has to make any more and when she does it is "Sew" simple! :-)


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