I was just at the store this past weekend to stock up on some more of my "wrapping paper" and was reminded again of how much cheaper it is. I'm talking about this stuff (not necessarily this brand- anything called "postal wrapping paper" or something similar):
This is actually the only "wrapping paper" I buy year-round now. For adults and quick gifts, it is actually pretty trendy looking all by itself, and is perfectly suited for any occasion- no need panic because you just realized you only have Christmas paper and you're supposed to go to a birthday party in an hour! With "rustic"/"natural" looks being trendy these days, simple brown paper looks like you did it on purpose! Cha-ching!
PLUS you no longer need to buy or make gift tags, or even cards- just write directly on the wrapping paper! You don't have to worry about the tag falling off or the card getting separated from the present on the gift table.
But for those of us with kids, there is an even better reason to use this: we can recoup some of the fortune we spend on our children by putting them to work as decorators! Just look at the amazing results:
OK, I know. But it actually looks really nice when you wrap presents with this. We just haven't actually wrapped anything yet for me to take pictures- I will try to update this post when I do. And it has.... drumroll please.... sentimental value. Instant cute/heart-warming factor. (Sidenote: the picture above is one we recently did that was on packing paper that was *actually* in a package we got- so it was free! Next time you get a package packed with paper, save it!)
For Christmas I just hand my girls only Christmas colors (if I am feeling especially fancy), or if it is for a specific person's birthday we will just use their favorite color(s). Or we just go to town and do whatever we want.
The best part of this wrapping strategy is not the results, or even the penny-saving though- it's the process. There is something about having a giant piece of paper spread out on the floor that is magical for toddlers (and, well, for adults too). Drawing is not a fine motor activity anymore- it involves the whole body! We trace body parts, do dance moves, run across the paper to make the longest line possible, and draw random pictures everywhere. One tip- if you are using a big piece (which I highly recommend), you will probably want to tape it to the floor. It can get frustrating, especially if you are walking around on it, if the paper is sliding around on the floor.
So, my friends, the next time you go to buy wrapping paper, save yourself some money (and time and angst trying to find the one that everyone will like) and buy some postal paper instead! I bought my last roll at Target but many stores have it, and of course you can buy it at the post office too or even online. Or you can bug put the word out to your friends that you want their packaging paper. Then cut off a big piece, tape it to the floor, pull out the markers, and have some fun!