Cheap, Easy and Kid-Friendly Gift-Wrapping Tips

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I really love gift wrapping.  There is something seriously satisfying about making a neat crease at the end of a square package, and perfectly tying up the loose ends.  It's pretty and it's tidy, especially at a busy time of year when tidiness seems to elude me!

And gift-wrapping is optional, of course; Mir has already written a post here in the Holiday Guide with suggestions for people who want to skip wrapping altogether.  But if you're an old-school gift wrapper like me, here are a few fun (and cheap) tips I've learned over the years, especially for Christmas, when you're gift-wrapping on a large scale.

Consider using only one style of wrapping paper.  This is mostly a matter of personal preference, but I think it's lovely when all the presents under the tree all match.  Plus, it makes it easier to piece together leftover scraps when you get to the end of the roll.

The dollar store is your friend.  Those stores where everything costs a dollar are great places to buy wrapping paper, though if hyper-frugality is your thing, you might want to check the amount of paper you're getting for your money (i.e., it would make more sense to pay $3 for 75 sq. feet of paper than to pay $1 for 10 sq. feet.)

Use address labels.  I slip a sheet of plain white address labels into my printer, and I type up one page with every label I expect to need this season.  For a custom look, you can use a pretty font, colors, and even clip art, and, best of all, all your labeling is done.  Slip the sheet of labels into the place you keep your wrapping supplies to use all season.  Or, check out Paper Crave for some free labels you can download and print on cardstock.

Let kids wrap the gifts they give.  This requires a little deep-breathing if you tend to be particular about how your gifts look, but it's a satisfying thing for a kid to be involved the process.  Especially if the gift is from them.  Kate of Happy To Be at Home shares some ideas for involving the kids in the gift wrapping process here

Make your own paper!  One year I wrapped everything in plain brown shipping paper and let the kids go crazy with stickers and markers all over the packages.  It's a fun activity for them.  And Everyday Wylie shares how lovely plain brown packages can look, without much embellishment!

Tulle is cheap, easy and pretty.  Tulle--you know, the type of fabric netting you might see on a bridal veil--is incredibly cheap.  I bought some last week, on sale at the fabric store, for only 75 cents a yard.  Cut a strip about 6-8 inches wide, and tie up your gift with that, instead of some other kind of ribbon.  I wrapped a gift yesterday to demonstrate:

Giftwrap

Think outside the bow.  There is no gift-wrapping by-law that says you must use some sort of a bow or ribbon in your wrapping.  Bugs and Fishes by Lupin offers this great alternative, using creative fonts.

Have a marathon wrapping session.  I know plenty of people who gift wrap throughout the month, as they go.  True, this helps keep your gifts concealed, if nosy little creatures go snooping.  But I find it to be a real handful to be constantly lugging the gift wrap supplies in and out.  I hide my gifts, and then I have one big gift-wrapping session (with the door locked!) when I'm finished with my shopping.  If you are inclined to wrap as you go, though...

...consider keeping all your supplies in one place.  Find an out-of-the-way corner and stash everything together: scissors, tape, ribbon, paper, labels, pens, etc.  Adventures in Homeschooling has written here about effectively managing your time (and supplies) for gift wrapping.

Have you stumbled across any helpful giftwrapping tips over the years?

Shannon Lowe is a BlogHer contributing editor (Mommy/Family). She also blogs at Rocks In My Dryer and The Parenting Post.

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