This Trader Joe’s Paper Bag “Hack” Makes the Best Upcycled Gift Wrap

published Dec 7, 2023
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Trader Joe's Retail Strip Mall Location. Trader Joe's is a chain of specialty grocery stores in the U.S. II
Credit: Jonathan Weiss/ Shutterstock

Have you recently caught yourself thinking, “There’s a Trader Joe’s hack for everything”? Well then good because, yes, there is — and I’ve got another one for you. And it’s free!

If you’ve somehow managed to avoid waiting until the last minute to finish your holiday shopping, congratulations (and also, how?)! But if the realization that you forgot to buy wrapping paper has dawned on you, then this Trader Joe’s hack will speak to you.

First posted to the Trader Joe’s Wins Reddit page on December 5, Reddit user carawins offered up the tip of a (holiday) lifetime: Trader’s Joe’s paper grocery bags make excellent gift wrap, and if the reaction was anything to go by, they’re right. Immediately after posting, the page was flooded with positive comments and, at the time of this article’s publish, had 495 upvotes, with tons of people sharing they’d done the same in past years or planned to this year.

The “trick” is to use the grocery brand’s winter-themed paper packaging as gift wrap by cutting the bag open at all of its creases so you’ve got as much surface area to work with. You can cut off the handles or add them back on afterward, as Reddit user SideStreetHynosis pointed out, and add a little more personalization by adding Trader Joe’s checkout stickers to level up your gift-wrapping game. (You could also get super creative and use the Trader Joe’s mystery bags as wrapping paper this year, too.)

To be completely fair to everyone who has been doing this for years, the suggestion of using Trader Joe’s (or any brand’s) paper packaging as gift wrap isn’t exactly a brand-new or revolutionary idea. It is, however, really cool to see people continue to get excited about reusing paper bags and giving one-time-use goods a second life in really beautiful, creative, and special ways.

Several Reddit users pointed out that they ask their Trader Joe’s cashier for extra bags when checking out to ensure they’ve got enough paper to meet their gifting needs, and others rightly called out how sustainable and environmentally friendly the upcycling tip is. User kmr1981 went so far as to call the hack “status-signaling,” and I truly love the flex. Nothing says “I love to shop at Trader Joe’s and take care of the world around me” quite like reusing your paper goods to pass on to others. 

One Redditor commented that the paper bags are great for more than just gift wrapping. They shared that they’d “cut the houses out and made little advent gift packages for my kiddo with them,” and I’m sure there are dozens more ways to use the paper to meet all your creative and crafty holiday needs.

So I think it’s safe to say I’ll see you all at Trader Joe’s in the checkout line, right?