By Ashley M. Heher, AP Retail Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Add this to your list of holiday rituals: After trimming the tree and fighting the crowds for doorbuster deals, there's the annual hunt through a closet for last year's gift wrap and ribbon.
Replacing your misplaced paper, boxes, tape, tissue, ribbon, bows and tags can be expensive if you buy everything. But presenting a beautifully wrapped present doesn't need to cost a lot. Or take a lot of time. Or even require extra crafting prowess.
"There are lots of cool ways to enhance the gift without needing to buy tons and tons of supplies that you pack away and forget you have," said MaryElise Cervelli, a gift wrap expert at Milwaukee's Broadway Paper.
Here are five easy ideas for wrapping an elegant gift and keeping your time and wallet intact.
1. PAPER: Instead of having different wrapping paper for babies, weddings, holidays and birthdays, opt for a roll of sturdy basic brown or white paper from your local art or office supply shop. There's enough on most rolls to last years, even for a prolific gift-giver. The paper can be decorated any number of ways and made seasonally appropriate with ribbons. Another option is plain white dishtowels or cloth napkins with or without decorations (yours or premade)."There are so many things that are waiting around your house that can be used," said Jaimee Zanzinger, an executive editor at RealSimple.com. "It's so easy for everyone to just go to the store and spend a lot of money on wrapping and decorations, but you don't really need to spend the money."
Don't overlook paper grocery bags or lunch bags as sources of free wrapping paper, said Holly Becker, who runs the blog Decor8.
"Cut the seams, iron it on a low-heat setting and wrap your present with it tying it with some pretty ribbon and a little gift tag," she said. She's even used lined notebook paper for small gifts.
2. RIBBON: Instead of a stick-on-bow and plastic ribbon, substitute household basics like twine, baker's string or yarn, Cervelli said. Other things to try include hair ribbons, lace trim, other bric-a-brac, even an old skinny tie or a scarf.
For a fancier look, check out sales at craft or fabric stores and buy grosgrain ribbon by the yard or by the spool.