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Use What You Have:
Creative Gift Bags & Boxes

by | Dec 7, 2009 | Christmas, Christmas Decorating, Creative Inspiration & Projects, Holiday DIY

Use What You Have: <br> Creative Gift Bags & Boxes

Here is a clever way to use up bits and pieces of what you have around the house to make very cute and creative gift bags or boxes! I’m all for using what you have for thrifty wrapping. Gather up extra buttons, ribbons, strings, bits of paper and leftover gift wrap, sprigs of garland, berries or whatever else you have around to fancy up basic brown or white paper sacks! These are inexpensive, very easy to make and give your gifts a personal creative touch!

Use What You Have: <br> Creative Gift Bags & Boxes

How about wrapping up your gifts and holiday baked goods in white boxes with bits of leftover scrapbook or wrapping paper accents, ribbons and other little bits and pieces of this or that? Very sweet and personal holiday gift wrap!

Have you started your wrapping yet? I haven’t. I’ll admit it. Got to get on that.

What are your ideas for creative & thrifty wrapping this year?

photo inspiration: My Home Ideas {Homes & Gardens}

Announcing the winner of The Feathered Nest Bunny Slippers giveaway …. is it YOU? Click here to find out!

shared for DIY Day at Kimba’s


  1. Debbie

    How clever, I have tons of bits & pieces of little pretties laying around and now I can put them to good use! I’m so into handmade this year so thanks for this sweet inspiration.

  2. Shannon

    Beautiful! I don’t usually start my wrapping until the last minute. Yikes! I regret it every year too!
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Frosted Damask Mirror =-.

  3. LesleySW

    I’ve started. I’m wrapping in newspaper this year and then spicing up the packages with big flashy bows made of festive wired ribbon. It looks really pretty.
    .-= LesleySW´s last blog ..New book helps you create mid-century style =-.

  4. Sandy

    Very nice wrapping. I love nicely wrapped presents. The closer I get to Christmas, the faster I get at wrapping, I just want to get it done. So the earlier presents are nicely wrapped and the others are just presentable hee he. There is just so much to do!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..What’s your Favorite Christmas Song and/or Christmas Movie??? =-.

  5. Rocio

    Wow! Those pics are beautiful! I always love using what I have… great tip! Thanks for inspiring me!
    .-= Rocio@CasaHaus´s last blog ..A Little Piece of Heaven =-.

  6. Gena

    Hi Melissa – lovely post! I agree use what you have and you can come up with soem really creative wrapping ideas! love the detail with the button …. Haven’t really thought of my own wrapping yet….
    (Co)incidentally I had planned on a post on wrapping too, which will post tomorrow at Vintage Rose. Gena
    .-= Gena´s last blog ..Vintage Rose Kitchen: A Celebration with Chocolate Cupcakes =-.

  7. Meredith

    I love these ideas Melissa. I always seem to blow the budget on the ribbons though! I suppose sometimes that cotton cooking string can work well in place of ribbons. Decisions, decisions… Meredith xo.
    .-= Meredith´s last blog ..dreaming of a white (and beige) christmas =-.

  8. Janine

    Stunning ideas

  9. Stacy

    I used to wait until the last minute to do my wrapping. Now I wrap presents as I purchase them – the better to hide the gifts from peeking eyes!
    .-= Stacy @ Red Door Home´s last blog ..My Home for the Holidays – Part II =-.

  10. Jessica at Lavender & Lilies

    I have to say my wrapping is rather odd this year. To be thrifty and also to de-clutter by gift wrap box, I first used all of the wrapping paper I already had even though it didn’t match my color scheme. I then went out and bought one roll that matched my theme and I just put those in the front. We are moving (hopefully) in the coming months so it was the perfect chance to get rid of everything. :)
    .-= Jessica at Lavender & Lilies´s last blog ..For The Boys =-.

  11. Lei

    I haven’t started. I usually do the bulk of it on Christmas Eve (less tempting for curious little hands)… it’s like my own little private party. I get me some goodies, and a good flick like It’s a Wonderful life and away I go. The only problem is that I usually lose some steam by the end and my creative instincts fall asleep before I do.
    .-= Lei´s last blog ..Wall Candy Arts RoCoCo Decal and notNeutral Wood Block Set Giveaway! =-.

  12. Richella

    Ah! I have a huge box of buttons that belonged to my mom! What a great idea!

    I’m using inexpensive wrapping paper these days and dressing it up with beautiful ribbon. I have lots of ribbon in my decorating stash, so there’s plenty to use. And though I LOVE beautiful wrapping paper, I’m just refusing to pay the price for premium paper.

    Thanks to you, now I have another embellishment idea!
    .-= Richella´s last blog ..Unwrapping a memory =-.

  13. Morning T

    I love the idea of using scraps on plain boxes! I’ve stayed up late the past 2 nights wrapping gifts. I had to stop shopping and see what I’ve actually bought, so I figured I might as well wrap them now. :-)
    Thanks for the endless inspiration!
    .-= Morning T´s last blog ..Going green =-.

  14. Lisa Marie

    Very pretty, I love them all… :)
    .-= Lisa Marie´s last blog ..Pillow Box Gifts =-.

  15. Jean

    Each of those brown sack gifts look so festive. I wish I was better at not leaving all my wrapping until the last minute and then it is just get them wrapped as quickly as possible. I am always in adoration when I get a perfectly wrapped present from someone. But then I also feel bad that my present to them is not as nicely wrapped. I will have to resolve to do better. Maybe if I had all the gifts by August I could spend the time needed to wrap them beautifully. Will that happen? We can always hope!! Thanks for the inspiration.
    .-= Jean´s last blog ..Friend Makin’ Monday =-.

  16. Sandy

    We made our own stamped tags and use 1/2 price ribbon from Hobby Lobby. You’ve got me thinking about the plain white boxes though, which I bought too. Thanks for passing on your creativity!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..a bit more of my Christmas decor =-.

  17. Niki Turner

    Lovely ideas. I’m always frustrated by the cost of wrapping paper and ribbon, and end up with those icky, boring, 99-cent bags of bows from Wal-Mart. I think I’ll try some of these ideas this year. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Niki Turner´s last blog ..Are your traditions expired? =-.

  18. teresa

    Those are fabulous- I’m a big fan of using what you have around the home- I think they turn out better that way.
    Thanks for sharing.

  19. clarice

    We use paper bags a lot. Last year I made a ton of big pom-pom to use on packages. I loved those. Your home is beautiful by the way. Clarice
    .-= clarice´s last blog ..Silhouette Tree =-.

  20. Shannon at Old World Charm

    I simply love the idea of using whatever is at hand. Sometimes being creative by using things that are simple and spontaneous can mean so much more. Of course, since I’m terribly at wrapping gifts, any box or bag is a big plus for me.

    Thanks so much for sharing! :-)

    .-= Shannon at Old World Charm´s last blog ..A Classic American Home: Nothing Fancy, Just Nice and Feminine =-.

  21. Bonnie

    I love brown paper with pretty ribbon or natural trims like pine cones or shells or twigs. Old fashioned is new again.
    .-= Bonnie @ Savoring Simplicity´s last blog ..Easy Christmas Wreaths =-.

  22. Kathy

    I have not started wrapping yet, and I need to get at least two wrapped before the weekend because we are bringing them to a holiday party. Problem is I need non-standard size boxes, so I need to move on that ~ and quickly!

  23. Karen B

    Beautiful ideas, Melissa. No, I haven’t even begun wrapping. I always seem to have plenty of paper left over from the previous years. And, I swear I’m not buying any more paper, every year. Those pretty patterns just get the best of me. BTW, did you notice that the last photograph really coordinates with your mantle colors? :-) I just know you’re going to wrap all your presents to coordinate.
    Merry Christmas,
    Karen on Elderberry Street
    .-= Karen B´s last blog ..A Little Progress =-.

  24. Sandy

    No, no wrapping here yet. But this is a great idea, Melissa!

    Have a great week!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Just in the Nick of Time – Wild-Wool GIVEAWAY! =-.

  25. Amy

    What a fun post, loved reading this today :)!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..A Painted Armoire =-.

  26. Alana

    Wrapping seems like so much work, but it looks so great in the pictures… might have to put a bit more effort into it this year!

  27. Erin K

    Love these ideas!! I just did some re-purposed decor today on my blog as well. It looks so great. Will be following you now :)
    .-= Erin K´s last blog ..Non-Committal Decor =-.

  28. Sandhill Sis

    I’m wrapping…

    Brown paper with twine, buttons, cedar, pine cones, red ribbon, red berries, cinnamon sticks, maybe a dried apple or a pheasant feather, is my ‘lodge trademark’.

    Loved your pictures and ideas.
    .-= Sandhill Sis´s last blog ..A few thoughts from my mother, about boys =-.

  29. Jen

    i love the idea of using what you have to wrap gifts. these pictures are beautiful. this year i am using what i have to wrap gifts – the only thing i have bought is some extra ribbon… it feels good to be creative and save money at the same time!
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..simplicity =-.

  30. gina

    Yes, we’ve wrapped what we’ve bought so far. I picked up some zebra and leopard print ribbon on clearance at Michael’s and the girls went to town – mixing them with apple green and red wrapping paper and red & white and kelly green & white polka dotted gift tags- they look pretty cute. :)
    .-= gina´s last blog ..something blue. =-.

  31. Gina

    Very pretty! I plan on getting started on the wrapping tonight-I usually use little ornaments, pretty ribbon and tulle and other things I’ve found around the house.

    I also save the classified sections from the paper and the comics for some of the gifts. It’s amazing how classy the comics look with pretty ribbon and little baubles on them!
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..How to Cover Up the Christmas Lights Cords =-.

  32. Heather

    Oh what a great idea, thank you!

  33. condo blues

    I have to admit that I’m a little behind on buying family gifts (which are memberships/experience type things so I can’t buy them early.) I do have almost all of my handmade small gifts done. I thought I had more time until Christmas until I went to Cheryl’s Cookies today and saw 17 more days until Christmas written all over whiteboards at their HQ. I better get wrappin’ yo.
    .-= condo blues´s last blog ..Sparkly Glam Recycled Outdoor Christmas Décor =-.

  34. lapetitegallery,

    Just found your site.. Great post.. I will come back.
    Stop over to my site, I just started.. Need critique
    anything to get my blog going.. I am trying to get over the fear of this computer. It goes crazy at times..yvonne

  35. kathysue

    I love to wrap gifts, I think it is part of the present. I liked the idea that I got from Colin Cowie, having a signature wrap, his is a dark brown paper, for mine I chose black and white striped paper and I tie it up with red and white poka dots, lime and white polka dots and black and white polka dots. I also use other stripes and poka dot papers in lime, red. The most unique gift I ever wrapped was where I covered a box in most and used rafia, twigs and shells for the bow.It was a fun gift box to give. I find great and good prices on wrapping at

  36. kathysue

    The box was covered in MOSS not most,sorry for my type-O

  37. Sherri S

    I haven’t started wrapping yet! Hopefully this weekend. Since I decorated my tree with nature this year, I am using plain brown shipping paper with ribbon and red/green yarn tied around it. Simple. Inexpensive. And it will ‘match’ my theme. LOL
    .-= Sherri S´s last blog ..Girls Night for Christmas =-.

  38. Kim

    Thanks, once again you inspire me to do something different!

  39. Jessica

    Love these ideas – and here’s a great one (and it’s “green”, too!). We use pillowcase – each child has a specific color and we’ve stocked up on cheap pillowcases in those colors over the year. The gifts go in the cases and are tied off with a pretty ribbon (try to use ribbons we’ve saved). Then we pack up the pillowcases and ribbons to use the following year! It’s thrifty and actually looks pretty under the tree on Christmas morning! Obviously, it doesn’t work for gifts you pass out to friends and extended family, but it has saved us tons of time and money throughout the years! Plus, we don’t need tags b/c each child is assigned a color and that’s how we know who gets which gifts!

  40. Minnesotamom

    Well, they’re not nearly as pretty as yours, and not as creative, but I get wrapping paper that matches our tree ornaments on sale, save boxes all year, and get some bows to match. Usually my wrapping each year doesn’t end up costing me more than $5 to $10 for 20-30 gifts.
    .-= Minnesotamom´s last blog ..Cookie Jar Queen =-.

  41. {JeLisa}

    Thanks so much for this!

    I’ve been bummed this Christmas because of our tight finances limiting our gift-giving, but the idea of dressing up what we can give in something beautiful and homemade lifts my spirits. :)
    .-= {JeLisa} @ And They Lived Blogging Ever After´s last blog ..Friday Favorites: Ashbury Terrace on Date Days =-.


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