recycled wrapping

Each year I try to make our family’s gift giving unique, if not by the gift itself, then with the way it is wrapped.

Last year I bought a large roll of plain brown recycled paper and did some holiday themed stamping on it to decorate the packages. It turned out to be a fun project and looked really nice. This year, I thought I’d try something different. Not buying wrapping paper at all. SO, I had to start early.

The summer was filled with many trips to Powell’s Books, the Oregon Zoo, and Trader Joes, all of which yielded walking maps and flyers for all your packaging needs. My mother-in-law is also very faithful with sharing newsletters and other readable yummies she receives so when I finished those throughout the year, they were added to this growing pile of paper. So, not only is Uncle Matt’s gift a really fun one, it is also wrapped in a Powell’s City of Books store map (you really can get lost in that place) as a way to remember the fun adventure we had there with him! 

I’m not a big fan of the generic stickers you can get for gift tags, so this past Christmas I saved all the holiday cards we received and reused them as tags. I used a small bowl to draw a circle on the front of the card, cut around that circle and then just wrote the “to” and “from” on it. It makes the package pretty cheerful, I think.

You could use cookie cutters in all different shapes to make your tags, or even cut the old cards into the traditional tag shape and punch a hole to tie the tag on with a ribbon.

Again, I didn’t want to buy ribbon, so I went through my stash of items from last year and didn’t find much that was usable, other than a few stick on bows that just needed a little tape. So, for ribbon I plied together (using my mom’s yarn ball winder), three colors of acrylic yarn (this is some yarn that was given to me by a co-worker that I didn’t know what to do with and my knitting friends wouldn’t take off my hands – you know who you are, ladies!). White with sparkles, green, and red made for a nice, clean wrap around the packages and this type of ribbon travels well too, if you are headed over the river and through the woods this season. Other ideas for ribbon – plarn (plastic bag yarn – I used this last year and loved it!), VHS tape (very shiny and unique! – it even curls like curling ribbon), twine (rustic look that can be very pretty!). 

In years past I have tied tree ornaments to the tops of packages as an added bonus. This year I didn’t, but these plarn star ornaments are a simple, handmade way to top off the perfect gift.

Other ornament ideas – paper snowflakes, your child’s school picture made into an ornament with a paper frame, etc.

So, in all (aside from the roll of Thomas the Tank Engine holiday wrap my son insisted on getting “for my presents!” I only bought scotch tape! 
The finished products:


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