10 Affordable Ways to Make Your Holiday Gifts Look Amazing


With the steep price of holiday gift wrap, gift tags, and bows, they're practically gifts in their own right. If you'd like reserve your holiday budget for what goes inside the package, it's time to get creative. First, brush up on clever ways to save on wrapping paper. Then, express yourself by trying some other inexpensive gift-wrapping ideas this year.

Bows and Embellishments

Once you've carefully wrapped your gifts, dress up the package with some frugal options.

1. Twigs and Pinecones

These beautiful objects are literally growing on trees. Hunt for artistically shaped twigs or small pinecones and make them part of your gift presentation by weaving them through other natural elements like raffia and jute twine.

2. Dried Flowers

Dry or press flowers throughout the year and add them to your wrapped gifts in place of traditional bows. Sure, it takes some Martha Stewart-style planning, but it's a great look — and it's green!

3. Vintage Buttons and Beads

String buttons and beads through narrow satin ribbon or twine. Space evenly, and then tie knots on both sides of each bead or on the back of each button to hold them securely in place. Instead of tossing them out at the end of the season, save and reuse each year. (See also: Reusable Gift Wrapping: The Wrap That Keeps on Giving)

4. Vintage Ornaments

Ornaments don't always have to go on the tree. Use beautiful single ornaments or group two or three smaller ones together and secure with ribbon. Avoid using glass ornaments for this purpose; they're not kid-friendly and you don't want one rolling underfoot during Christmas morning chaos.

5. Vintage Postcards

Classic black and white vistas or serious kitsch works equally well. Attach to gifts with adhesive photo corners.

6. Vintage Snapshots

Old family photos add a unique touch to any gift. Slip one under a raffia bow or center on the package with a dot of glue and frame with scraps of synthetic ribbon or paper.

7. Garland

Great for large gifts, use brightly colored garland instead of a traditional bow. Just tie as normal or secure in place with a hidden twist tie.

Gift Tags

Every gift needs a tag — why not make the tag a clever adornment, too?

8. Recycled Holiday Cards

Repurpose last year's holiday cards by turning them into gift tags. The heavier-weight card stock and seasonal graphics make them perfect gift tag material. Just trim to size and add a hole with a paper punch.

9. Tiny Picture Frames

Thrift stores are loaded with small vintage frames in every style imaginable. Collect several throughout the year. Insert a printed name card and attach to gifts with twine or raffia.

10. Wallpaper Scraps

One roll of vintage wallpaper will add up to enough gift tags for a lifetime. Choose seasonal colors or intricate antique patterns. Just trim tags to size and fold or use the wallpaper as unique matting for some other handmade label.

11. Bottlecaps

Print the gift recipient's monogram on a small piece of paper, cut it to fit the interior of a metal bottle cap, and glue in place. Then, circle the outer edge of the cap with jute twine and secure with a thin bead of glue (leave enough extra twine for tying later). The result is a metal hanging tag that can be tied to a bow, a bottle of wine, or the handles of a gift bag.

Are you an innovative gift wrapper? What are some of your favorite ideas? What have you seen others do?

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Guest's picture

When having to wrap numerous gifts, even for non Christmas occasions, I got a roll of butcher paper one year. One time I got a roll of white, and another time a plain brown roll of paper from a restaurant supply house. I've also used wall paper sample books, etc. for and also fabric for wrapping some smaller gifts. The roll of butcher paper lasted several Christmas seasons,and was a great bargain.
All of these papers can be recycled, and you can either decorate these simply, or leave them plain.
I like your idea of the bottle caps and using raffia. I have used yarn, ribbons, embroidery floss, twine etc. in decorations,and also have simply used color coded dots, the kind from an office supply store, to make a polka dot effect.
Lastly, I'm not sure if this goes along with the theme,but I don't wait till right before a holiday to shop for gifts. I hand craft some gifts,and also purchase one of a kind items from other crafters, potters, etc. year round.
I also sometimes do shop at thrift shops etc. for unusual retro scarves, and these make lovely wrapped gifts for people who appreciate that " retro" look. Sometimes I use fabric that I cut into a circle, and simply tie it at the top as a gift wrap.
My Mother was a thrifty and very creative lady...one year she gave me a gift of origami papers. I have used origami animals to decorate packages as well.
I hope that others read your article...I like the idea of using found and natural materials very much.