On the other hand, I really dislike waste. Often I see something really beautifully wrapped and fall in love, only to start to wonder if there really needed to be 10 sheets of ridiculously expensive tissue paper + even more expensive wrapping paper + various ribbons (ok, maybe needed) + flowers + etc, etc, especially when I know most if not all of this is going to be thrown out. This isn't even counting the bubble wrap and envelope or box! So I've become a saver. When I was younger and friends Mums or an odd Aunt would save wrapping paper ('Don't rip it!!'), carefully peeling the tape off and folding up the pieces to be kept for later use, I thought this was a little bit funny and definitely embarrassing - but I am now that Mum! We keep all the padded envelopes and boxes we get in the mail so that we can reuse them for the store, and we also try to use as much recycled materials in our wrapping as possible.
I actually also just really enjoy doing it this way, as well as it being better for the environment (and our overly disposable tendencies as a society in general). There are so many fantastic ways to wrap goods without having to buy fancy wrapping paper, even (and some, including myself, might say especially) newspaper can look really beautiful. Here are a few of my tips...
1. Stamps. I love stamps. Hand stamping cards, addresses and wrapping paper (I love it on brown paper) is such an easy way to customize your packaging. My set of Muji alphabet stamps is something I use all.the.time. They make everything look cool. We also have a bunch of other picture stamps that we've collected or made ourselves. Making your own stamps is surprisingly easy, and it enables you to create stamps that reflect your style or brand if this is for a business-y type thing. Talk Crafty To Me has a great post with lots of tips on materials and making your own stamps here.
2.String/Yarn/Ribbon/Lace/RicRac. Again, you don't need to buy the fancy stuff to put the finishing touches on your gift wrap. Aside from string (which you can find really cheaply in Chinatown!) I thrift pretty much all of my other tie-ing supplies. These are the things I would often be buying for other crafting purposes, or because I have some kind of obsession where I cannot walk past these things. Having something pretty to tie your gift up not only makes it look fancy (and complete, I think. Even a brown paper package with string is so very sweet), but if you're careful can mean that you can use less or no tape, making it easier for the recipient to reuse the wrapping paper.
3. Old cards & postcards. I still really love to keep the cards that people give me, but in my earlier teenage years I kept every piece of cheesy correspondence I received. Going through it all (shoe box after shoe box) when I left home was both heartwarming and cringe inducing. Anyway, I've now learnt to let go and (sometimes*) reuse. I realise that some people may think cutting up the card someone sent you is a terrible thing to do, but...I'm over it. Obviously I keep the important ones! One of the best ways I've found to reuse cards is with the help of index cards (we had a BUNCH of these left over from our Spanish lessons, as we kept forgetting that the other person had bought them already). The blue card in the pictures above is actually the front of our wedding invite. We had some left over and really, what on earth do you do with unused wedding invites?? I love that image so much, its actually a linocut that Richard carved and printed (can you imagine the level of patience needed?!) which we then sent to the printer. I wanted to have cute note cards to write to people on, and so I cut the front off and pasted an index card on the back, cutting off the excess index card with an exacto/craft knife. Perfect! You can do this with old cards or images you have, and you can even sometimes find these thrifting if you're lucky! Doing this means you can save money by not having to buy or get note cards printed, and it also saves paper.
Right, now I actually have some wrapping to do so I best get to it! I hope this was helpful, and perhaps a little inspiring!
*I say sometimes because I don't think you should feel like you have to reuse everything just for the sake of reusing. For example, dolphin wrapping paper? You will be recycled.