13 Creative Ways to Wrap Presents

AAA Print

Faced with a big stack of gifts to wrap, you could take the easy way out, and simply use a jumbo roll of holiday wrapping paper from the local discount store. But if you want to make your gifts a bit more special, go beyond traditional gift wrap, and get creative with your presentation. There are lots of alternatives to commercial gift wrap, and some of them even become gifts themselves.


If you like a rustic style, use burlap to wrap gifts, and finish the parcel off with a big raffia bow. This is especially useful for wrapping odd-shaped items, or gifts without a box. You can find burlap in a variety of colors at fabric or craft stores.

Maps or Sheet Music

Now that most people have GPS or navigational apps in their phones, road maps are becoming obsolete. If you still have a stack of maps from the local road service club, put them to use as giftwrap. You can also print out sheet music online.

Aluminum Foil

If you have a small box to wrap, the metallic shine of aluminum foil will be hard to miss under the tree. A metallic or bright bow makes it even easier to spot. You can keep the look sleek with smooth foil, or crumple the foil a bit before wrapping for an interesting textured appearance.

Brown Paper Grocery Bags

Your kids can show off their best artistic skills by designing giftwrap for use on presents for Grandma and Grandpa, Dad, aunts and uncles or any other relative on the holiday gift list. Just cut brown paper grocery bags apart at the seam, neatly trim away the bottom and any handles, and set your kids free with paint, markers, crayons or stickers. They can create their own giftwrap on the plain side of the paper, and give Grandma an even bigger smile when she receives her gift.

Newspaper or the Funnies

A classic for wrapping gifts, the funny pages from the Sunday paper make excellent giftwrap. As an extra bonus, the recipient gets to enjoy reading their favorite comic strip. Use traditional newspaper for a slightly more serious look.

Baby Blankets

If you are giving a gift to a new parent, wrap the item in a flannel baby blanket. Instead of a bow, fasten a small toy to the top of the box. Your gift has now tripled.

Reusable Shopping Bags

Fancy gift bags are highly convenient for quickly packaging a present, and pretty besides. But they are also expensive, and just one more thing to recycle or store after the holiday. Instead of a paper gift bag, use a reusable grocery bag to wrap your gift. There are near-endless designs to choose from, and the bag will be useful all year long.

Beach Towel

If you are wrapping a large present for a child who loves to visit the beach or go swimming at the local pool, wrap the gift in a beach towel you know he will like. Use safety pins to hold the towel in place, and finish the package with a swim mask or pool toy tied on top with ribbon.

Cereal Boxes

For gifts of tee shirts, belts, socks or similar small clothing items, cardboard cereal boxes are close to the same size as a regular shirt-size gift box. Choose a colorful or fun box that suits the recipient. Kid’s cereals with cartoon characters are good choices, or for a recipient who is health-conscious, use a box from an all-natural cereal.


Another good choice for medium-to-large sized gifts that are oddly shaped is a pillowcase. You can purchase brightly colored pillowcases very inexpensively at Wal-Mart or the local dollar store, and just tie the open end with ribbon.

Search For: Bedding


Giving a gift such as jewelry, trinkets, gift cards or even a small electronic device like an iPod? Slip the item into a colorful sock you know the gift recipient will like, and then tie the sock’s mate around the opening.

Tee Shirts

Add an extra present to your gift by wrapping it in a tee shirt. Center the shirt’s design so it’s displayed right on top of the gift, and use tape to hold everything in place.

Search For: Online Coupons


If you are giving a gift to a frugal relative, wrap the box with the coupon inserts that come with the Sunday paper. You save money on giftwrap, and they save money next time they go to the market.

Wrapping presents doesn’t have to mean a big roll of standard giftwrap. With so many alternatives, your gifts will be the most interesting packages under the tree.

Last Updated: December 6, 2012
AAA Print

About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

Note: The information provided on this site may be provided by third parties. The owners and operators of this site do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, and compliance of the content on this site. Such content is not and shall not be deemed tax, legal, financial, or other advice, and we encourage you to confirm the accuracy of the content. Use is at your own risk, and use of this site shall be deemed acceptance of the above.