We rarely use wrapping paper in our house. Years ago, my mom made us cloth bags of all sizes and we have used them year after year. The bags are bright and fun fabrics and we tie them closed with a ribbon. There are three distinct advantages to using cloth bags instead of paper.
*The first is obvious: we minimize waste on this very wasteful day. We buy one or two small rolls of wrapping paper every year or two, for wrapping presents that we mail away. Sometimes we mail our bags away and every 5 years or so I make us a few extra if our collection seems to be shrinking. But on the whole, we just don’t buy disposable wrapping supplies. (I also have a small set of non-holiday bags for birthdays and just-for-instance presents, because I love not having to deal with wrapping paper.)
**The second advantage is the ease of wrapping gifts up. No tape, no scissors, no paper rolling in on itself. We could get more exciting bows and accessories if we wanted to really do up our presents…but we keep it simple with just assorted colorful ribbons. It takes less than a minute to pop a present in a bag and tie the top with a bow.
***The third advantage is the ease of clean up after the mayhem of Christmas morning. No sorting trash, no bits of paper strewn far and wide. One pile of ribbons and one pile of bags, packaging out to the recycling, and done. They do scatter nicely to make a nicely colorful post-unwrapping visual, but the ease of cleaning them up is lovely.
They are so easy to make. I usually re-stock just after Christmas when all the festive fabrics are 70% off. Buy several yards of several different fabrics. Cut them down into assorted rectangles. You will want tiny gift bags, and all kinds of other sizes up to a couple really big ones. Use your best judgement. Mix it up. I use my serger to finish the raw edges and assemble the bag. The bags could be hemmed, finished with a straight stitch, trimmed in lace, or whatever your imagination decides. Buy a couple bolts of ribbons to be c it into various lengths for closing the bags. I buy a sheet or two of gift stickers each year, to mark the to/from details…
Voila! Done. No more wrapping paper, and very little mess.