Cost-Free Gift-Wrapping

If your Christmas presents aren't wrapped yet, there's no need to run out and buy gift paper.

You may not know it but - you probably have almost everything you need right at home, as lifestyle guru Laurin Sydney proved on "The Early Show" Monday.

So, you don't have to spend a dime.

She shared some unique ideas for gift-wrapping alternatives, using everything from candy to mistletoe.

Consumers spend $2.6 billion on gift-wrapping and decorations each year, Sydney says, but you don't have to fork over a penny if you use her methods:

Inside-Out Method

Instead of gift-wrapping the item you're giving, use the gift itself as the wrap and save a little something for the inside! You may want to place the whole gift on the outside of the package, or save one small part of it for the inside of the box.

For example, I used a polo shirt and pair of khakis to adorn the gift box, leaving something special inside for the recipient. To wrap it, all you have to do is simply slip your polo shirt on the outside of the box, pull it taught and attach with pins in the back. Repeat the process with the pants, only covering the bottom half of the box so it takes the appearance of the shirt tucked into the pants.

Another trick is to use your ties-or old ones from your husband's closet! Wrap one tie at the edge of the box and secure both edges with a pin. Continue this process until the whole box is covered with ties. Tucking in the edge of one tie underneath its neighbor, like a basic weave.

DIY Wrapping Paper

Running out of wrapping paper should never be a problem, even at the eleventh hour.

You don't need to have fancy schmancy paper to have a fancy wrap. You could use maps, music, magazines - anything. Craft paper or a cut up grocery bag will do the trick, as long as you embellish them in a creative way.

Take your box and wrap it in basic white paper or the use the inside of an old grocery bag. Even without mistletoe, you can still kiss for the holidays. Put on your brightest red lipstick and plant your smooches all over the box. You don't have to plan where the kisses go!

You can also have the kids decorate the package by drawing on it or decorating it, creating a specialty wrap for Grandma! Remember, this is not about perfection -- it's about having fun and having wow presentations that personalize the gift for the recipient.

Giving without the Box

I also call it "candy without the calories."

Box substitutions are all around you -- everything from an eyeglass case to a paper towel roll can be used to house your goodies.

If you're wrapping something small like a watch or scarf, simply pad it with tissue and slip it inside a paper towel roll. Then wrap the paper towel like you would any other gift, and finish it off by tying the ends of with a little ribbons.

Brooch Bling

This idea gives lone earrings or forgotten jewelry a new purpose!

I call it brooch bling. Treasures for wrapping abound throughout the home! Start in your jewelry box, where there's always that brooch that you haven't worn since high school, that one lonely earring you've been saving, or even those beads you're planning to give away.

Just pin the brooch or earring it onto your gift for a little sparkle or use that old strand of beads as a ribbon. They make the perfect gift embellishment!

Touch of Mother Nature

Mother Nature always knows best, including when your gift is in need of holiday cheer. As an extra incentive to your gift, why not bring the outdoors in?

If your gift is looking a little drab, just step outside and grab a twig, berries and tie them onto your box with a ribbon. If you don't have a backyard, a little cut here and there from your plastic Christmas tree will do the trick.

To see Laurin's demonstrations on the show, click on the video below:

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