For the past several years, I have tried to avoid buying wrapping paper at Christmas time. I think it started as a way to assuage my eco-guilt for sending out about a million Christmas cards, but more recently it's become more of a for-fun challenge--how to make pretty packages while generating the least amount of waste possible.
I've done brown paper sacks (recycled from the grocery store and made pretty with yarn, kinda like this), I've done furoshiki (that's wrapping packages in fabric), I've used various other bits of paper we already had around the house....
This year I decided to try newspaper.
We don't take the paper--read it online instead--but every week we get this unwanted, classified-filled, circular-type thing delivered to our house. It makes me a little crazy actually, because a) the point in not subscribing to the paper is that we don't want to make the waste, and b) inevitably we forget to bring the stupid thing inside, and before we know it there's a pile of icky wet newspapers littering up the porch. But for the holidays, at least, I've made good use of it.
A little baker's twine or ribbon or yarn. A wee paper tag--voila!--nearly free, mostly-recycled holiday wrappings!