Wrapping paper can be very expensive, or alternatively cheap and not very good quality. You can usually find rolls of brown paper quite cheaply, and they give a present a traditional look. Brown paper packages, tied up with string, really are a favourite for birthdays in my house.
Here are some ideas of gift tags that you can use to make the a but more interesting: paint samples.
If you get paint samples with the colours written on them, then you can theme them with the present or the person.
I have a daughter who absolutely adores cats, so I would use this Tigress colour for her.
Or what about a passionate purple for a Valentine's Day present?
To make it a bit more eye-catching, you could glue three paint samples together and write across the top of them:
This tag is a bit more traditional, and gives a lovely vintage feel to your brown paper package. You could use a calligraphy pen to make the writing even more decorative than I have, and make that the focal piece of the present.
Another great idea for brown paper packages is sealing wax - it comes in a beautiful, rich colours (usually deep red) and you can easily find a heart seal to press into it. I did this one year for all of my Christmas presents to my husband.
Or, if you're sending a few presents, wrap most up with brown paper and then add a few in upcycled sheet music: these two looks go really well together. In fact, deep red of the ribbon on the sheet music one would go very well with a sealing wax effect on the brown paper package.