Holiday Savings: Alternative Gift Wrap

We hate buying wrapping paper. Hate. We even hate saving those gift bags, although that’s a nice way to save money and be lazy at the same time. DIY site Curbly has a list of ideas, some of which will save you money (newspaper) and some that won’t (aluminum foil).

Sunday Comics: This gift wrapping idea is an homage to the comic issue of McSweeney’s. Comics pages are a great way to wrap a present, and they’re a lot cheaper than store-bought wrapping paper featuring the same characters. But don’t stop at just the comics section of the newspaper. For your beloved meathead, think about the sports section. For your brother the CEO, how about the stocks? Where does it really end?

We like the idea of wrapping gifts with the comic pages. We don’t actually subscribe to any newspapers so, one year we wrapped all of our presents with the Chicago Reader. God, we’re cheap and lazy. Er, we mean, quirky and interesting.—MEGHANN MARCO

Store-bought gift wrapping? No way! [Curbly]


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  1. acutusnothus says:

    I used to work as a TV weather guy and used rolls of printed meteorlogical charts for Christmas wrap. My wife’s family considered me bent and cheap; my people considered it par for the course; I considered it preemptive, pre-trash trash. Still, no one hesitated to open their presents.

  2. thwarted says:

    I like that there’s a “lazy” tag. More Lazy stories!

  3. RandomHookup says:

    Just like dear old mom used to do! There were 7 kids in the family, so any wrapping was a bonus.

  4. Bye says:

    This is also a brilliant idea in that wrapping paper is not recyclable whereas newsprint is.

  5. ADM says:

    I use subway maps.

  6. Little Mintz Sunshine says:

    Man, how many times did I have to hear this growing up? My grandmother would always say “You know, in the Depression, we wrapped our presents in newspapers?” And for that reason, my mother has never, ever allowed us to save any wrapping paper. All presents must be ripped open like a seal being eaten by a pack of great white sharks.

  7. I used to use that brown packing paper that they sell for the mail. It looks like they stopped making it this year. Can’t find it anywhere.

    You could do cool stuff like add stickers, or use rubber stamps on it. To personalize it. I think Martha Stewart stole that idea from me.

  8. konstantConsumer says:

    i use the classified for the local gay rag. nothing quite like giving your mom a present wrapped in inquiries for CNB play.

  9. MarcAnthony says:

    I use my little brothers pages from his coloring books. They work great, especially when he stays in the lines!

  10. toomanyplugs says:

    I got a big roll of brown butcher paper at home depot — the kind you use to cover stuff when you paint — for the same price as one roll of wrapping paper. The butcher paper is about 10 times the diameter, tho. I just wrap gifts and hand decorate the paper with sharpies. And it’s recyclable (and repurposeable, too, should you ever decide to paint a room!)

  11. Antediluvian says:

    or if you decide to go into the slaughter house business.

  12. My father always used the comics and so do I. Newspaper seems to work the best for wrapping presents and I just happen to like the Sunday comics.

    My wife however hates the idea and thinks I’m a slacker.

  13. “I used to work as a TV weather guy and used rolls of printed meteorlogical charts for Christmas wrap.”

    Dude, that kicks ASS.

    I use fabric wrap. I buy Christmas fabric on clearance after the holidays and when I have my sewing machine out for something else, hem a couple of squares of fabric to use as wrap. Then I got all fancy and started making fabric ENVELOPES with velcro closures for CDs and DVDs and paperbacks (easy sizes). This year 90% of my presents popped right into the fabric wrap (little safety pins hold it closed when it’s not an envelope) and I only had to wrap two odd-sized ones. It’s lovely. I haven’t bought wrapping paper in three years. Still on the same roll.

    I do have to fight to get it back from my siblings, though. They all want to keep it and use it. HEM YOUR OWN, DAMMIT!

  14. OnoSideboard says:

    Ever since starting law school I’ve use pages torn out of study guides from the previous semester’s exams. Nothing like getting an awesome sweater AND the opportunity to review the doctrine of collateral estoppel!

    Also, Sunshine , nice visual on the seal.

  15. kerry says:

    The men in my family have long used the comics for wrapping paper, last year I used the local free weekly. The meteorological chart idea is awesome, and now I wonder if there’s a way for a lay person to get their hands on those charts or out-of-date roadmaps or something. I was sort of thinking of using the yellow pages for small gifts this year, since I don’t actually need the damn book.

  16. acambras says:

    In architecture school, we often had old CAD drawing prints. This works especially well when the sheets are 30×42″.

  17. Tonguetied says:

    But the comics page in my local rag has so many ads in there these days that it wouldn’t really work…

  18. Plasmafire says:

    I use Duct Tape, First a layer of printer paper covering the package, then a layer covering the entire package sticky side out, finally a layer Duct Tape sticky side in. (If I really feel evil I put some wire randomly wrapped around between the two layers making the package impossible to cut open) Then I use a hair dryer on hot to make the adhesive stick even more. Then some Aluminum tape to act as ribbons. There, Package Wrapped and it looks nice too. Duct Tape now comes in assorted colors, so there’s no limit to what you can create.

    You can create a very colorful, waterproof durable, and slightly twisted or evil wrapping on your present with this method.

    I’ve been wrapping my dad’s powertools and my best friend’s gifts this way for years.

  19. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    My grandmother often used the Sunday comics to wrap presents. She also made “to and from” tags from old Christmas cards that she cut up. The bottom drawer of her desk was full of fancy foil wrapping paper that she saved and reused every year.

    I’m not sure exactly how this practice got started (my grandmother was fairly well off, so it wasn’t a case of not being able to afford it), but the tradition remained up until she passed away. I think it’s one of those things I have to chalk up to good old New England frugality.

    I always thought it was rather fun getting a gift wrapped in the Sunday comics, or to see how many years you could recycle the same sheet of wrapping paper.

  20. Kierst_thara says:

    Tea towels and other linens work nicely for smaller gifts, and it’s like getting two gifts in one, since you can use the towels afterwards.

  21. Ben Popken says:

    Ben writes:

    “The USGS in Denver is giving away bundles of 10 maps to anyone stopping by their digs. The maps are all outdated, and rather than trash them, they’re being offered as ‘alternative gift wraps’

    the story:

  22. mariser says:

    I have used the comics for wrapping presents before, as other have. is good and festive, but rather fragile, i.e. not good if presents need to travel in their wrapped state (like in a car trunk).
    I’ve reached some kind of middle ground by using *only* Christmas-themed gift wrap for gifts all year round: I buy a few rolls in January (75% off!) some in kids (penguins! snowmen!) and some in adult (snowflake! light! plain green! plain red!) themes, and that’s what I use all year.
    folks don’t seem to mind; besides, everyone one in my circle knows I’m a bit, ahem, eccentric.

  23. pestie says:

    If you live near an airport with a pilot supply shop, I’ll bet they throw out all their unsold VFR navigation charts when they expire (which they do every few months, after which they’re not legal for use in navigation). Those are big, colorful and would make some pretty kick-ass wrapping paper, if you ask me. Actually, any pilot, private or commercial, should have a few of these available after they expire.