How to use junk and trash to make stunning packages for Christmas

Hey, I think I’ve started a new series: In a post last week I shared with you all how I took some dead stuff from the ditches and made dried arrangements for a quick Christmas decorating project. Today we’re going to wrap presents with trash. Are you excited? Where else but on a website called “vomiting chicken” could you find such unique ideas? 😉

Let’s get started.

But first, a brief disclaimer . . . I’ve always been a bit of a tightwad where wrapping presents are concerned . . . ask my kids (blushing). Everything (in this case) that they tell you about my present-wrapping tightwaddery is true. We had plenty of lean years, when the kids were young, when I used newspapers to wrap our gifts because they were free (the newspapers), and new wrapping paper was not. I still prefer free or nearly-free wrappings, since using my creativity, in this case, is so much cheaper. Ha! I’m a Cheap Creative! (And heeeeere’s Amy, the Cheap Creative!) And it’s more fun, for that matter. After all, do you know what happens at our house with all that beautiful paper when it is removed (undecorously, by the way) from the gifts? It is wadded into balls and tossed across the room (quite vigorously, by the way) at other gift unwrappers. Then, at the end of the day, all those little wads are gathered up and pitched into the garbage. Colored papers you can’t even pitch into the wood stove. It’s all trash.

Amalia and I have indulged in a couple of fun gift-wrapping sessions over the past couple of weeks. This is what we do: we gather together tape and scissors (two of each, we learned our lesson!) and rolls of paper (my brother-in-law Dave, an excellent scrounger, used to work for FedX and he scrounged massive rolls of plain papers from next to a dumpster somewhere . . . honestly, the bigger ones I can barely lift) and we’ve got a couple shades of white: pure white, and newsprint off-white.

Little bitty package, big bow made of muslin, dried flower and book page.

Little bitty package, big bow made of muslin, dried flower and book page.

We’ve gathered together other things, too, which cost us very little, if anything:

  • old maps
  • brown grocery bags
  • twine
  • strips of leftover fabric (I really liked the looks of muslin this year)
  • dried ditch goodies: rose hips, milkweed pods, other seed pods, dried leaves, dried coxcomb, etc.
  • dried flower bed goodies: coxcomb, zinnias, sedum heads and whatnot
  • damaged, duplicate books, many with charming illustrations inside
  • last year’s beautiful seed catalogs

Is your imagination percolating yet? Have any of this old stuff cluttering up the hovel? Here’s what we did with them:

This is Amalia's work: lots of book pages, many of them yellowed (neat) and twine, some of it frayed (also neat).

This is Amalia’s work: lots of book pages, many of them yellowed (neat) and twine, some of it frayed (also neat).

Another bitty box decorated with a single book page, a bit of twine, and a dried coxcomb.

Another bitty box decorated with a single book page, a bit of twine, and a dried coxcomb.

Coxcomb makes such a pretty package decoration, especially paired with some greenery and strips of muslin.

Coxcomb makes such a pretty package decoration, especially paired with some greenery and strips of muslin.

Coxcomb + greenery + rose hips + muslin + twine!

Coxcomb + greenery + rose hips + muslin + twine!

So if you don’t like to take out a loan to buy the fancy rolls of wrapping paper, do what we did and get creative with the free stuff (mostly trash!) that’s all around you. There are plenty of pretty things that go into the trash (or the recycling) that could be used to make your gifts lovely.

Now I’d better get to wrapping . . . I’m not finished yet! Tra-la, Gentle Readers! Happy wrapping to you!

(And if you’re done already with all the wrapping, please don’t tell me.) 😉

22 thoughts on “How to use junk and trash to make stunning packages for Christmas

  1. Amy Bovaird

    How great! Your packages look lovely! I use free wrapping paper I received from animal rescue organizations for donating to their cause (or not, depending on the year). Regardless, I receive the paper. I use all that up first and if I need more, then I look around to see what else works. Never so elegant as your junk and trash wrapping paper, mind you. Wonderful idea!

  2. Alana(@RamblinGarden)

    Your packages look amazing, truly. Meantime, yours truly uses gift bags and (let this be just between the two of us-and the rest of the Internet) I tend to, um, recycle bags from the previous years’s gifts. Does that count? (Something tells me, no. There is a difference between creativity and cheapness, after all!)

  3. Julia

    Gorgeous presents. Soooo beautiful! And to Alana-I reuse gift bags all the time! Why buy a new one if you already have a perfectly good one to use! 🙂

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I so agree! We have a big bag of gift bags that have been used over and over! I don’t think we’ve ever thrown one away! In fact, at Christmas, the kids unwrap their gift, carefully fold the gift bags, and hand them back to me–for next year! They are just too pretty to throw away.

  4. Mary Ann Cauthen

    I love this writing about wrapping paper! Yesterday at a large family gathering my grown children had this enhanced conversation about my wrapping history – always recycling other gift bags, using brown grocery bags, & the best one using the colored Sunday comics from the newspaper. You are my kind of woman/mother! I enjoy your blog. Mary Ann (70 yr. old mother of 4 grown ones in GA>)

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thank you, Mary Ann! Now and then I do buy “real” Christmas paper, mostly from the thrift shop, AFTER Christmas, for about 25c a roll. (That’s my kind of bargain!)

  5. Barbara

    I think we’re “cut from the same cloth”. I did the same with newspaper when the kids were small; then I moved on to gift bags. Ripping up and throwing away all that costly paper just seemed wrong. I love your creations. It looks like you had fun together and that’s what it’s all about.
    Have a blessed Christmas ❤

  6. Nathana Clay (theengagedhome.com)

    My mom used to wrap presents in the comics all the time! I loved it! I think your presents are beautiful, especially the ones with book pages! It makes me think of a warm, classic, old-fashioned Christmas. 🙂 I will reuse bags and tissue paper until they are completely destroyed. Today I am posting about some of my favorite after Christmas deals to shop for, one of which is the good quality, large rolls of paper marked clear down at Hobby Lobby. I get them dirt cheap, and I usually buy colors or designs that could be used for occasions all year, not just at Christmas. I only buy gift bags if they are dirt cheap as well. Sometimes I will even buy them at garage sales . . .

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Nathana,
      I felt a pang of guilt when I was unwrapping a gift (wrapped in expensive paper) this year because I didn’t carefully take it apart so I could use it again. I’m with you, sister.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-Spam Quiz:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.