Yes, I DID Wrap All of My Christmas Presents in Newspaper and Brown Paper Bags

Santa printable on a brown paper package

I changed tactics when I began wrapping my daughters’ presents. We go through a lot of print-outs in our homeschool–handwriting sheets, spelling lists, vocabulary terms, etc–so I ran the blank sides of our used paper back through my laser printer and printed out a selection of Christmas-themed printables with which I decoupaged some of their gifts.

present wrapped in newspaper and decoupaged with printables
present wrapped in newspapers and decorated with Nativity printables and stickers from Country Living Deck the Halls

Overall, I liked this method a LOT. The cutting and gluing is quick and simple, the variety of free Christmas-themed printables available online is mind-boggling, and it’s easy to make each wrapped gift very different from the others. I also like how easy it is to embellish even odd-sized packages. I had a hell of a time wrapping the very odd-shaped gift above (a Zome Tool kit, because I absolutely pretend that homeschool supplies are presents), but it took just a couple of minutes to print, cut out, and glue together the vintage jointed-limb paper Santa printable onto it, and then to use a little hot glue and embroidery thread to attach a tear-away gift tag from Country Living Deck the Halls.

On the other hand… I don’t know what kind of printer YOU have, but whenever I print something, I feel the way that my Pappaw probably feels when he watches one of us kids just stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open while we decide what we want. That drives Pappaw bonkers because it’s like he can feel the pennies leaching out of his pocket for the electric bill, and when I watch all that pricey ink leaving my print cartridges, I feel the same way!

gift wrapped in newspaper, with a tag from Christmas Crafts
gift wrapped in newspaper, with a tag from Country Living Deck the Halls

And that’s when I had enough, and I thought, “Who cares if the present is wrapped in newspaper? You know what’s inside? A PRESENT!!!”

All the rest of the presents under the tree are simple, wrapped in plain newspaper with a single gift tag to decorate them. And you know, I actually think that they look pretty cute there, all mitchy-matchy to each other, and understated in their black-and-white compared to the multi-colored cacophony that is our kid-decorated Christmas tree.

I’m no longer a newspaper and brown paper bag wrapping paper apologist.

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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  1. These are so cute! I used brown paper (saved from a year of Amazon delivery packaging) to wrap a lot of our gifts this year, too. I fancied it up with pompoms and old Christmas ornaments. I love the TP roll snowflakes you used on yours – genius.

  2. For our Christmas gifts, (most artfully made using recycled materials), we used the Sunday comics that I’d saved since last Christmas by my mother-in-law “sharing” her newspaper with us. After wrapping the present with the paper, we wrapped a strip of colored tissue paper (saved from Birthday parties) around the middle and topped with a rectangle cut from last years Christmas cards to write our To: and From: on. Around it all went ribbon that was either recycled or bought on clearance after Christmas last year. The result was a very colorful, festive pile of presents that clearly represented an earth friendly point of view. Items that needed to be boxed before wrapping were placed in boxes recycled from from the audiologist office next door. She saves her boxes for me, mostly smaller hearing aid shipping boxes, that work out great for the many crafty things we do at my art studio for kids.

  3. I hate the thought of buying wrapping paper as well, but this year I caved. My kiddo decided she wanted to believe in Santa (about 2 years ago she asked if Santa was real and we always tell her the truth). Gramma makes Christmas so exciting with Santa visiting and such that the kiddo decided she wanted to believe. We are more than ok with that. So anyway, this year all the gifts from us are wrapped in old paintings of the kiddo’s, but the gifts from Santa will be wrapped in wrapping paper. Maybe next year we will try the brown paper and stamp it with Santa stamps or something.

  4. Love it! To add what we do, we save last year’s Christmas greeting cards that we received and tear off the top to use as a gift tag. You just write the to and from in indelible marker and tape the whole thing on. Very pretty! Our midwife gave us this idea.

  5. i feel the same way about store-bought wrapping paper, but am not as hard core about it…i do have some, but honestly, i really prefer the look of brown paper, and white paper, or even recycled tissue paper, with a solid color ribbon. i always scan the thrift stores (opp house is the best for this) for ribbon scraps, some meant for packages, some meant for sewing projects, and use those for presents. cloth ribbon looks so much nicer, and tends to get saved and reused. i also love finding vintage wrapping paper at thrift stores, but that rarely happens.
    I think after reading this, I vow to never buy holiday wrapping paper again! the newspaper is a great idea, and would be sufficiently dressed up for my taste, with a lovely red ribbon. Merry Christmas!

  6. This is a really great idea. I wrap all my adult presents in newspaper with homemade newspaper bows and for children (who don’t yet understand the concept of thrift) I use brown paper with last year cards cut out and glued for extra aesthetics. Saving last years cards is also good for free gift tags. So far everyone loves it.

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