10 nifty ways to wrap holiday presents without boxes or gift bags

Last-minute holiday gift wrapping can leave Christmas shoppers a-whirl. Stores run out of boxes, or they charge extra for them. Fancy gift bags can be costly. At home, gift givers may find wrapping supplies depleted, as Christmas draws near.

Odd-shaped gifts can be challenging to wrap neatly without boxes or bags.

What's a gift wrapper to do?

Here are 10 creative ways to package and present holiday gifts of various shapes and sizes, often using items you may already have around the house.

1. Bring a basket.

A pretty woven basket or even a colorful pail can make a super gift container. Tuck tissue into the bottom, stick the gift item inside, gather up the tissue, and top it off with a pretty bow.

2. Catch a cardboard canister.

Don't toss out those empty oatmeal, lemonade, iced tea, flavored coffee or hot chocolate canisters. Clean them out, and cover them with pretty contact paper, leftover wallpaper or basic construction paper. Put your holiday gift inside, along with some shredded papers or Styrofoam packing pellets, and fasten the top back on. Voila!

3. Grab a jar.

After a good washing, a mayonnaise or peanut butter jar does double duty nicely for wrapping small gifts. Lidded candle jars are great for this purpose too. Cover a small present with glittery tissue or pretty holiday napkins, and tuck it inside the jar. Glue a bow on the top for a finished look.

4. Have a hat.

A fun hat makes a novel package for a holiday gift. Invert a fedora or cowboy hat to hold a loosely wrapped gift, or stick the present inside a knit cap with the ends tucked back in to hide the surprise.

5. Pick a pair of pantyhose.

Cut the good leg off an old, but freshly cleaned, pair of nylons or opaque tights. Fill it with soft gift items, such as socks or mittens. Tie the open end in a knot, weaving the rough ends back in. Add a few curled ribbons.

6. Pick a pocketbook.

Purses and tote bags can become ideal gift wraps, even adding to the present itself. Choose a backpack, open tote, handbag, cosmetics keeper or carry-on suitcase. A camp-style laundry bag or picnic cooler can work well too. Tie on a gift tag, and your gift is ready.

7. Snatch a scarf.

What lady wouldn't welcome a thoughtful holiday gift, all tied up in a pretty bandanna, Pashmina shawl or silk scarf?

8. Take a throw.

Cozy lap blankets are popular at Christmastime, with stores offering deep discounts on fleecy throws and knit afghans. Larger gifts are easy to wrap in these bonus blankets.

9. Trim a tin.

Most of us have given and received holiday baked goods in pretty cookie tins or ceramic crocks. Why not pick up a few extra tins, or even reuse those on hand, to wrap last-minute gifts? A medium-sized Christmas tin neatly holds an assortment of candles, a pair of pajamas, art supplies, a few holiday ornaments or other intriguing items. A cleaned-out holiday popcorn tin keeps dolls or plush animals hidden till Christmas morning.

10. Wrap up a roll.

By the last days before Christmas, those empty wrapping paper rolls are probably piling up. If you have a houseful, you likely have a few paper towel and toilet paper rolls around too. Put these cardboard resources to good use, sticking smaller or slender gifts inside for wrapping. Roll paper around the tube, and tape it. Twist the ends (like saltwater taffy pieces or Tootsie Rolls), and tie them with colorful yarns.

A little ingenuity and resourcefulness can lead to nearly unlimited gift wrapping possibilities. Look around your own Santa's Workshop, and see what you can find to wrap your own last-minute holiday presents.

More from this contributor:

3 Unique Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas for Large Presents

Unique Ways to Wrap Larger Christmas Presents

Wrap Star! Creative and Appealing Gift Packages Without Pricey Papers