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Share creative ideas to assist people of all ages with tips to save money and improve their lifestyle!

By Nancy and Dawn Clement


December 17, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) - We all know the holidays can get extremely expensive. Not only do people buy many gifts to give away, they also spend a good chunk of change on gift-wrap for those gifts. There are ways you can save on gift-wrap, however. You just need to get a little creative. You can even use the money you save to buy more presents!

Take advantage of gift wrapping service during the holidays. When you purchase your gifts, be sure to ask if the store offers gift-wrapping. Most stores provide complimentary gift-wrap year round, and if they do not, they may still give you a box.


If you are flying out of town this season, do not bother wrapping your presents – there is free gift-wrapping available at the Lindbergh Field airport (past the security checkpoint). Active duty enlisted personnel can get two gifts per day wrapped free at MCAS Miramar through December 26. All Navy Liberty Centers have free gift-wrap supplies available through December 24. Atlas Storage Centers in San Diego is offering a gift-wrapping “center” free to the public during normal business hours. Call 619-690-7202 for more details.

Gift baskets are a wonderful gift and do not require wrapping. They look impressive and are easy to put together. You can find good deals on baskets at your local thrift store. If you have the time, you can even spray paint them in festive colors. Fill the basket with assorted goodies and cover with colored cellophane (which you can get at the grocery store). Gift baskets are perfect for homemade edibles, and the recipient has a nice basket to use later on.

Many attractive gift bags can be purchased at dollar stores at minimal cost, then recycled over and over for future gift-giving occasions.

If you simply must use traditional gift-wrap, choose a guilt-free gift-wrapping service. Many wonderful non-profit organizations run gift-wrapping tables during the holidays. There is a small donation to use their services, but it is always for a good cause!

Nancy Clement is an east county Realtor®, mortgage broker and freelance writer and can be reached at 619-563-4184 or Dawn Clement is a stay-at-home mother of three, a freelance writer, and creative shopper.

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This is a priceless article.

This is a priceless article. I used to waste a lot of time trying to find the perfect wrap for my gift. I have walked two days in different stores to find the perfect gift bag for a name necklace. Eventually, my boyfriend was very happy, but what a rack.

Gift wrapping odd size packages

Gift wrapping odd sized things like bunk beds for kids can be quite a chore. One idea is to wrap a small box with the picture of the bed inside it. Another new thing out is paper that sticks by itself but that would be a fairly expensive method.

more cheap giftwrap ideas

When our kids were little and money was tight, they enjoyed using decorative ink stamps to adorn rolls of plain brown paper.  We also used aluminimum foil to wrap smaller boxes and add sparkle under the tree.


My Mom's favorite gift-wrapping trick was to buy inexpensive gift boxes with holiday scenes on them, then use gold or silver fabric paint to outline the pictures.


We also made gift baskets with fresh fruit and nuts from our orchard, a homemade goodie or two, springs of fresh herbs, and a holiday kitchen towel or other small item.  I would buy baskets for 25 cents at yard sales and if they were too worn looking,  give them a festive look with red or gold spray paint.