Free gift tags. November 29, 2010Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
Tags: frugal Christmas decorations, frugal Christmas wrap, On the Cheap, recycled Christmas cards, recycled Christmas wrap, Spencer Soper
Silence Dogood here, with apologies in advance to anyone who came on our blog, Poor Richard’s Almanac, hoping that we were giving away free gift tags. Instead, I want to tell you about a great idea for making your own free, super-easy gift tags that I read about this weekend in Spencer Soper’s “On the Cheap” column in our local paper, the Allentown, PA Morning Call. The title of Spencer’s article says it all: “Cut up Christmas cards and save.”
“On the Cheap” reader Steve Gerkovich told Spencer that he saves the front part of Christmas cards he receives, then cuts out decorative elements, like Santas and wreaths, and turns them into gift tags the following Christmas. (Steve would hate my cards, since I typically write on both inside surfaces and the back!) You can read the article and watch a video of Steve making his gift tags at www.mcall.com/onthecheap. Spencer calculates that using this tip could save you $143.60 over 20 years.
There are other ways to recycle Christmas cards that are too pretty to throw out. When you wrap presents, instead of buying ribbons and bows, cut out decorative elements from your old cards, wrap the present in plain (one-color) paper, and glue the cutouts on top. Or cut off the front of a lovely card and glue the entire piece in the top center of your wrapped package. This will add a festive touch to each package, even if you wrap it in cut-up brown grocery bags!
Many people thread Christmas cards on ribbon and hang the resulting “garland” on their staircase as a colorful decoration. You can also cut off the front, punch a hole on one corner, string a short piece of ribbon through the hole, tie it, and hang it from your Christmas tree. Or use your cut-out wreaths, snowmen, snowflakes, stars, Creche scenes, Santas, reindeer, birds, and etc. to add depth to your tree’s decorations or to be the star attractions as decorations on a wreath or small tree like a Norfolk Island pine.
Of course, I take things even further. I hate wasting pretty wrapping paper, and you know how there are always strips left over after you wrap a package. I’ll save those and cut them in appropriate widths to use as ribbons on packages with contrasting wrapping. I’ll also often cut a 2-inch-long-by-1-inch-wide piece off the odds and ends, fold it in half, tape it to the wrapped package, and address it. Another type of free gift tag!
One of my favorite ways to wrap presents is to press colorful autumn leaves and dry them, then tape them on plain brown, white, green, red, gold, or even black wrapping paper for a beautiful, dramatic touch. But if you’re shipping presents, this can get messy. Instead, you can position your leaves on the wrapped present, then spray-paint with gold, silver, or copper to leave (so to speak) their outlines on the wrapping paper for a Martha-esque touch. And of course, you can reuse the leaves for your other packages. When you’re done, the leaves will be covered with gold, silver, or copper paint, and can be hung on your tree as lovely ornaments in their own right.
It’s probably too late for this season—certainly it is here in scenic PA!—but for future reference, to press autumn leaves, choose dry leaves at their peak of color with no holes or brown spots. Take a book, such as a telephone book, and a paper towel. Set the book where it won’t be disturbed, put the paper towel on top, arrange the leaves flat on the towel so no leaves are touching, top them with a second paper towel, and put a second telephone book on top. They should be dry in two weeks.
Finally, yes, we do save really nice gift bags and reuse them, cutting off the tags if the original giver has addressed them to us. After all, the bags are attractive, they’re in like-new condition, and they save us from having to do our own wrapping (which in my case and in our friend Ben’s tends to resemble a six-year-old’s, try though we may).
Now it’s your turn. Please share your decorating and wrapping tips with us!
‘Til next time,