Here are some creative Christmas gift wrapping ideas that will not only lend your presents a personal touch but are also sustainable and waste-free.
And yes, there really is a need for more eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas: Whether it’s for birthdays, Christmas, or those “just because” moments – we go through the same wasteful routine every year. Presents are unwrapped, the wrapping paper is added to a pile, stuffed into garbage bags and hauled off to the dump. The holiday season is particularly wasteful: From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Americans produce 25 percent more trash than at any other period throughout the year.
According to Stanford University, if everyone reused two feet of wrapping ribbon, 38,000 miles of saved ribbon could stretch around the entire planet. Wrapping but three of your total presents could save the paper equivalent to 45,000 football fields. And this isn’t even considering the waste produced from Christmas cards and tape.
So this year, make a conscious effort to prevent waste. We’ve compiled a collection of ten sustainable holiday and Christmas wrapping ideas to help you create eco-friendly present packaging.
1. Use Recycled Wrapping Paper
Don’t possess a wide range of crafting materials or are you simply a bit short on time? Then keep Christmas gift wrapping sustainable by purchasing recycled Christmas wrapping paper. Just be sure to buy gift wrap which is clearly labeled as “recycled” or made from compostable materials.
It’s also best to avoid shiny or shimmering plastic foils and any other types of plastic-layered gift wrap. As a rule of thumb, any wrapping paper which is metallic, has glitter on it, or is textured is non-recyclable and should be left on the shelf. There are plenty of alternative gift wrapping ideas to choose from.
Tip: All that brown packing paper that comes with your Amazon packages can be put back to use. Use it for your Christmas wrapping!
2. Reuse Gift Wrap
If Christmas gift wrap has already been produced and purchased, what’s the point of tossing it after unwrapping? Put used Christmas gift wrap back to use! Keep a stash of gift wrap from Christmases past – you won’t have to head out to buy new wrapping paper every holiday season. It also saves you money, reduces your paper waste, and is kinder to the environment.
The trick to keeping once-used Christmas gift wrap reusable is opening gifts carefully. This may require some practice. If you want to avoid rewrapping gifts to the same person you received the wrapping paper from, simply write their name in pencil on the inside of the paper (and erase before wrapping again).
Want to produce less waste? Here are some helpful tips: Plastic-Free Shopping: 3 Easy Tips for Waste Reduction
3. Use Your Own Paper
Among creative Christmas wrapping ideas, homemade gift wrap is by far the thriftiest. It also adds a personal touch to your presents which you just don’t get from gift wrap from the discount store. Craft a creative paper collage from old magazines or advertisements from your home recycling bin. Or repurpose entire pages out of old books bound for the bin into a new Christmas gift wrap.
When it comes to old newspapers: stockpile these to use as a sustainable gift wrap at your family’s next gift-giving event! Sort out the best pages along the way, such as the colorful weekend comics section of your local paper. You can get crafty and add your own accents to the Christmas gift wrap:
- Glue on single letters or words from story headlines,
- or snip out hearts or stars and stick these on as well.
Any kind of creative collage goes great atop recycled brown packing paper. These Christmas or holiday gift wrapping ideas are bound to impress their recipient, hands down.
Additional sustainable gift wrapping ideas include reusing old calendars, paper patterns or sheet music, old maps of all scales and full-page newspaper ads.
4. Wrap Presents with Presents
Another sustainable gift wrapping idea: wrap presents with presents! Stealthily hide that new cookbook in a neatly folded apron or that brand new watch in a new dish towel. This sort of gift wrapping technique combats paper waste and will leave the recipient in for a pleasant surprise.
5. Gift Wrapping Ideas Using Household Materials
You’re sure to find many solutions for last-minute gift wrap and packaging tucked away somewhere in your home: old shoe boxes make for a great gift box. Wrap up your presents on the fly with baking or packing paper or give your gifts a seasonal touch with natural materials or stylish homemade tags.
Colorful construction paper left over from your last crafting project or old cloths and linens give your Christmas gifts a unique look and set them apart from the rest. Have a look around the basement for more creative and sustainable Christmas wrapping inspirations – something’s bound to turn up. This way, you’re also ridding your house of things you have no further use for.
Whether the crafting box or the kitchen pantry – gift wrapping ideas are endless, just get creative.
6. Wrap Holiday Gifts with Cloth
The idea behind wrapping gifts in towels stems from a traditional Japanese practice known as “Furoshiki.” You can find these so-called “gift wrapping cloths” and wrapping techniques on the internet, just google away.
You can either use your own cloths or buy new ones. When buying new, be sure to purchase from sustainable sources. You can find handmade products from your local area on Etsy. Just make sure the person you’re wrapping the gift for likes it too!
7. Reusable Packaging: Tins and Chocolate Boxes
The holiday season is the time for all kinds of Christmas cookies, filled chocolates, and other festive tasty treats. These often come packaged in elaborate aluminum tins or thick paper boxes – two examples of sustainable Christmas wrapping ideas that are bound to impress. Just thoroughly wipe the boxes clean before you fill them.
Another benefit of this gift wrapping idea: The gift itself will remain an utter surprise. That shape of that reused Valentine’s day box says nothing about its contents. Those will remain a mystery until Christmas day.
Tip: Have a look around for vintage tins at your local flea market or thrift store.
8. Upcycling-Ideas: Reuse Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Rolls
How about this very sustainable gift wrapping idea: Empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls are great for wrapping smaller items. Simply cut the rolls down to the correct length and slit and fold down the edges to close up the ends. Add a hint of personal style by wrapping it in a bit of colorful newspaper, tie a nice string bow or add your own homemade personalized tag.
9. Reusable Gift Bags
One more fine example of a conventional wrapping paper alternative is a DIY gift bag. You can make a reusable cloth bag using repurposed items such as old clothes, or store-bought sustainable textiles like jute!
When crafting your own Christmas gift wrap bag, only incorporate sustainable and natural products into your project. Sewing together a cloth bag is as easy as ten minutes in front of the sewing machine – and works even without a sewing machine Have a look online or watch the following tutorial:
10. Pack Presents in Reusable Glass Jars
If you are planning on gifting food or candy this Christmas, consider utilizing reusable glass jars or containers as packaging. Glass jars don’t only make for an excellent gift wrapping method when it comes to food, you can pack nearly anything inside them! Forget a boring envelope and toss any sort of monetary gifts or gift cards into a mason jar as well!
One tasty gift idea: Recipe: Make Your Own Granola Bars, Quickly and Sustainably
- Minimalist Christmas Tips: Enjoy a Sustainable and Stress-Free Holiday
- Take Action: 15 Everyday Ways to Combat Climate Change
- Easy Gingerbread Recipe: How to Make Homemade Gingerbread from Scratch
This article was translated and adapted from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Geschenke verpacken mal anders: 10 schöne und nachhaltige Ideen.** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support Utopia.org, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.
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