Wrapped presents next to unused wrapping paper with a decorated christmas tree in the background
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How To Wrap Gifts If You Run Out Of Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper is the new toilet paper, so here's how to get your gifts wrapped if you run out.

We are T-minus two days until Christmas, and like many of you, there's a flurry of activity happening at my house — aka Santa's Workshop. We are putting teacher gifts together, checking shipping updates constantly, and of course, wrapping presents. Now would be a really unfortunate time for there to be a wrapping paper shortage, especially because it brings back memories (nightmares?) of searching for toilet paper and Clorox wipes at Target not so long ago. But, have no fear, friends. There are plenty of affordable and creative ways to wrap gifts without wrapping paper if such a nightmare does indeed happen.

From empty potato chip bags to good ol' fashioned newspaper pages, there are plenty of whimsical and easy ways to decorate gifts should you need an alternative to wrapping paper. Let's put the emphasis on "easy", because frankly, we all need something to be uncomplicated and go according to plan at the end of this very long year. And listen, if you just want to throw Dad's new socks in a gift bag and call it a day, you'll get no judgment from me. But who knows? You may find this little bit of creativity a welcome break from the stress of tracking your shipments and waiting for the delivery guy to arrive at your door.


Potato Chip Bag Upcycling

After deciding that metallic silver wrapping paper was too expensive at the craft store, blogger Jen Kluftinger of Drawings Under the Table decided to get creative. She found using an empty (and well-washed) potato chip bag did just the trick with smaller gifts. Your gift receiver will never know, but it's such a good idea, I kind of think you should tell them.


Paper Grocery Bags

Cutting a paper bag down the side will open the material up, making it the perfect size to wrap medium-sized gifts (particularly good for those already in a box), according to Instructables Craft. Have your kids decorate the outside as an art project to keep them busy. Two wins!


Pillowcases As Gift Wrap

You can always use another pillowcase, right? Buy a few or use pillowcases you already have to wrap your gifts! Tie a ribbon on and you are good to go. Bonus: it looks like a sweet little Santa bag.


Use a (Clean) Hankie

As I sit writing this, I'm thinking about the dozen or so handkerchiefs I have in my drawer that would be perfect for gift wrapping — a dish towel would work as well, according to Adventures of an Almost 40 Year Old Intern.


Paper Towel Box and Ribbon

I wasn't familiar with British "life hacker" Dave Hax, but oh my goodness does he have some creative ideas for wrapping gifts! For small items (like a toy car), he cuts a paper towel in half and folds in the sides, then decorates with a bow. Done and done.


Shiny Aluminum Foil Gift Wrapping

This easy-to-find kitchen item will make wrapping gifts a breeze, especially because you don't need to tape down any of the edges. Wrapping is pretty self-explanatory, but I like the How To Use Aluminum Foil for gift wrapping video on YouTube.


Reusable Shopping Bags

It doesn't get much easier than dropping a gift in a bag — especially if it's a reusable bag you already own, or one you can include as part of the gift! Emily Sugihara explains how to gift wrap using a reusable bag using Baggu, one of my favorite reusable bag companies, though any bag will do. Easy peasy!


Reusable Cookie Tins

It's very likely that you have a cookie tin or two hanging around at home, and provided they are empty, they'll make a great wrapping paper solution for a small gift. Make it cozy inside with tissue paper, seal it up, and you're done (then reuse again next year).


A Balloon Can Hold the Perfect Gift

Listen, I know some people might say money is an impersonal gift, but frankly, it's always the right size and color for me. Cleverly stash some cash in a balloon (maybe even through in some confetti?), blow up and you're done. The person receiving the balloon will be very surprised when they pop it for the big reveal!


The Most Classic Of All: Newspaper


While the funny papers are harder to come by these days (a favorite wrapping paper solution of my parents' generation), your average newspaper will do the trick. Just try to avoid any bad news headlines while you're wrapping!

But wait, there's more! Additional ideas include around the house items like fabric and wallpaper scraps, old maps or construction paper. Happy Holidays, mamas! And remember: make sure there are a few things for you under the tree, too.