Thrifty Christmas: How To Make Brown Parcel Paper POP

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This is how I wrap my presents every year: I like how it looks, and I also like saving money on Christmas wrapping paper.

When you tot up the costs of Christmas gift-buying, it is easy to forget to include the costs of Christmas gift-wrapping. It adds up though, the cost of the shiny sparkly wrapping paper and ribbon and gift tags and so on. In my experience, this additional cost is felt all the more acutely when your £2.99 roll of shiny sparkly stuff turns out to be roughly £2.89 of gift-wrap roll insert, with enough paper to wrap no more than a few gifts. And let’s not mention that year you thought you’d cleaned up in the discount store, with an armful of bargain-basement Christmas wrapping paper, only to find once you got home that it was so thin, you could see the presents through it…

Instead, this is what I do. Every year I go to the Post Office and I buy a 6-metre long roll of brown parcel wrap.

It’s cheapTake a look here on the Post Office website: at the time of writing, a 6-metre roll of brown parcel paper is just 65p. I’ve linked to the Post Office website because if you have a lot of gifts to wrap, you can go all out here: at the time of writing, the website also sells 35-metre rolls for £3.49. I am tempted to invest: a 35-metre roll would last me for many Christmases to come…

Brown paper rolls are also available from supermarkets such as Tesco (here) and Asda (here), but tend to be more expensive: around the £2.00 – £2.50 mark.

It’s strong. After all, it is made for wrapping parcels. Brown parcel wrap is sturdy: it doesn’t tear easily and, in my experience, it is easier to wrap presents neatly using thick brown paper than it is using low-end gift-wrap, which can be flimsy and fragile.

It’s long – oh so long! To put it into context: that single 6-metre roll of brown parcel wraps as many presents as one of the 3-packs of 2-metre roll sold in shops up and down the UK. Parcel paper has no cardboard insert so, although it looks like a small roll, it goes on and on…

Then I make it look pretty. This is easy to do, even if you aren’t a crafty type. First, I wrap the presents. Next, Thrifty Kid and I stamp the paper with gold ink, or whatever else he has knocking around in his craft set.

If you need to buy a suitable stamp, by the way, there are a a couple of thrifty options. At this time of year, craft magazines often have them as freebies on the covers. If you don’t want to splash out on a craft mag, you can make a stamp for free: find a pencil with an unused rubber on the end, and use that to make polka dot patterns.

Finally, tie with string or ribbon. In the picture above, I’ve used a ball of string. Other years, I have used free ribbons, collecting them in a pot throughout the year. (It always surprises me how the jar is full by the end of the year, with slips and lengths of ribbon from gifts, delivery boxes and so on.)

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