Best Gift Bags

Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for Best gift bags

Wrapping a gift can be challenging. You have to measure, cut, fold, tape, and adorn. If you're not skilled in any one of those tasks, no matter how much time and care you put into it, the result can end up looking like a rush job. This can happen even when wrapping something simple like a box, not to mention those odd-shaped gifts such as plants and bottles.

If you want your gifts to look professionally wrapped every time while also cutting down on festive waste, gift bags are the way to go. Gift bags are easy to use. They come in a wide variety of sizes and are reusable. Just place the gift in the bag, conceal it with tissue paper, hang a gift tag from the handle, and you're good to go.

If you'd like to learn more about gift bags, keep reading. If you'd like some quick links to our favorite gift bags, we present those here as well.

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Adding ribbons, bows, confetti, or even ornaments to a gift bag is an easy way to make the act of giving a gift even more festive.

Key considerations

Size

If you are purchasing gift bags for an immediate need, size is a top priority. Too small, and your gift won’t fit.

If, on the other hand, you are purchasing gift bags for upcoming needs, one strategy is to purchase a package that contains multiple sizes. Another strategy is to purchase large gift bags that can be packed with extra tissue paper if needed.

Shape

The other key consideration is bag shape. For instance, if you are giving a bottle of wine, a tall, narrow gift bag is ideal. If you are giving a child an RC car, the gift bag will likely need to be on the square side. Again, if you are purchasing gift bags to stock up, the best strategy is to purchase an assortment so you'll be prepared for any gift.

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Did You Know?
The practice of wrapping gifts can be traced back to ancient China. The purpose was to keep the identity of a gift a secret until the last possible moment.
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Features

Material

Some gift bags are made of plain paper or lightweight cardboard. They may or may not be coated in plastic for added durability. Others are made entirely out of plastic. Eco-conscious individuals may prefer cloth gift bags or burlap sacks with drawstrings. The important thing is to choose a material that is appropriate for the gift. You do not want to hand someone a bowling ball in a paper bag.

Handles

Gift bag handles are typically made of twine or rope. Often, the handles are tougher than the bag itself, so it won't be the handle that breaks but the bag that tears. To combat this, some pricier gift bags feature reinforced holes (sometimes with metal rings) to which the handles attach.

Bag theme

Ideally, the theme of the gift bag will match the occasion. Giving a birthday present in a Halloween gift bag may be considered a social faux pas. Fortunately, you can get gift bags for every holiday or occasion, from Christmas to baby showers. If you are purchasing gift bags to keep on hand, consider buying a variety of solid colors so you can decorate them yourself as needed.

Quantity

If you only need one gift bag, it may be unwise to purchase a pack of 30 bags. That said, you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck if you buy in bulk. Consider not only your immediate needs but also your future needs. Since gift bags do not have an expiration date, you can use them for years to come.

Assortments

At certain times of the year, especially around major holidays, you can find gift bag sets. These convenient bundles feature not only gift bags but also gift tags, greeting cards, tissue paper, ribbons, and/or bows. If you need these items, the most economical way to purchase them may be in a bundle.

Solid-color gift bags are highly versatile and can be used for any occasion. If you need to brighten up a solid bag for a particular holiday, that can be accomplished with the right tissue paper and gift tag.

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Accessories

If you'd like to dress up your gift bags a bit, three essential items you need to do that are tissue paper, ribbon, and gift tags.

Tissue paper: Juvale Tissue Paper Gift Wrap (Assorted Colors)
This jumbo assortment of tissue paper can be used for all occasions. There are 120 large sheets, and the colors include reds, greens, blues, yellow, white, and more.

Ribbon: Kicko Curling Ribbon
This assortment of a dozen spools, each containing 60 feet of curling ribbon, comes in a range of colors suitable not only for gift bags but also for party decorations and crafts.

Gift tags: Supla 200-Piece Gift Tag Set with String
This set of 200 gift tags comes in 20 colors and includes several types of string. The blank tags are die-cut from thick cardstock and feature a pre-punched hole.

Gift bag prices

Inexpensive: If you find gift bags for less than $10, they are likely being sold individually. If all you need is one or two gift bags, this might be a good option. However, it is not the best value. When sold individually, gift bags may cost $2 to $6 per bag. If you purchase gift bags in a set, they tend to cost $1 or less per bag.

Mid-range: By far, the widest selection of gift bags is available in the $10 to $20 price range. This is where you can find nearly anything you want. The challenge is to make sure you are getting what you need. For example, you might find a pack of 30 small, plain gift bags for $15 or a pack of 15 large, ornate bags for the same price. Instead of purchasing solely based on price, make sure you read the product description to know what you’re getting.

High-end: High-end gift bag bundles start at $25. These are either handmade gift bags, designer gift bags, gift bags made with special materials, or gift bags bundled in exceptionally large quantities.

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Did You Know?
According to Hallmark, gift bags were officially introduced in 1987. By 2002, they were the top way consumers chose to present a gift.
Staff
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What to do with all those gift bags

You buy gift bags to give away. How is it possible that you have more than you've ever purchased cluttering up your shelves, drawers, or beneath your bed? They seem to multiply when left unattended. Throwing them out is not an earth-friendly option. What do you do? Here are a few suggestions.

  • Reuse them. Whenever you get a gift in a gift bag, take care of that gift bag so you can use it for your own gift-giving needs.
  • Use for wrapping paper. When a gift bag tears, especially at the bottom, it’s tempting to toss it in the trash. Instead, cut the bag open and use the unmarred parts to create your own wrapping paper.
  • Make greeting cards and gift tags. You can cut a gift bag into squares and rectangles, fold those pieces down the middle, and have an assortment of greeting cards and gift tags.
  • Make envelopes. Although it requires a little more skill than making a greeting card, you can turn gift bags into festive envelopes.
  • Use them for scrapbooking. Gift bags make great colorful accents that can be used in a wide variety of ways in your scrapbooking projects.
  • Cover a book. You can use gift bags to cover your kid's textbooks for school.
  • Go shopping. Durable fabric gift bags may be reused as shopping bags.
  • Frame it. If you have a gift bag with a design you just love, consider placing it in a frame and hanging it on your wall to liven up a room.
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If you’re concerned about discarded gift bags going to the landfill, check out reusable gift bags made of materials such as nonwoven fabric and burlap.

FAQ

Q. Why would I use a gift bag instead of wrapping paper?

A. There are a number of reasons why individuals prefer gift bags over wrapping paper. Gift bags tend to be kinder to the environment because they are reusable. Some people do not have the best wrapping skills. And sometimes, you're just running late, so dropping a wine bottle in a gift bag on the way to the party is your only option. Also, for irregularly shaped objects that are difficult to wrap, gift bags are convenient and versatile.

Q. Are gift bags recyclable?

A. Maybe. It depends on what the bags are made of and where you live. The problem with gift bags is that they are manufactured with a variety of materials besides paper, such as plastic, metal, and string. Determining whether a gift bag is recyclable is a two-step process. First, you need to know what the bag materials are. Second, you need to check with your local municipality to determine if those materials can go into a recycling bin.

Q. What is the best way to store gift bags?

A. You could purchase a door organizer with pockets, hang them from hooks on a wall, or line them up on the top shelf of your closet. If you have empty drawer space, consider using that space to stash a few gift bags. Our favorite is to place them in under-bed storage for quick access.

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