Gift Wrapping Alternatives
Learn how to create beautiful, personalized gift wrappings that save resources and reduce our waste footprint!
1. Wrapping & Tissue Paper from Last Year's Gifts
If you don't already do this, now is the time to start! Save intact boxes, bags, paper, ribbon, bows and cards to reuse as gift wrapping and accessorizing next year. For example, you can turn wrapping paper into bows, and greeting cards into gift tags!
2. Newspaper, Flyers, Magazines & Calendars
Most households will have these materials in abundance. Especially with the year coming to an end, why not upcycle your calendar? Bring a special element into your gift wrap by using comic pages & puzzles from newspaper or fun images from magazines.
3. Maps, Sheet Music & Wallpaper
Give your gift amazing character by using these materials. It can be used as the wrapping paper itself, or for accessorizing!
4. Plain Paper
Upcycle shipment packaging paper and paper grocery bags, or buy a new roll from the store if these options aren't available! The best part - your gift wrap is an open canvas to get creative, and you can even skip the tags by writing right on the gift. This is a sustainable alternative because unlike traditional printed wrapping paper, this material can be recycled! So be careful not to load on too many non-recyclable decorative pieces so the recipient can still put this item in their blue bag afterwards.
5. Scarves, Tapestries, Aprons & other Textiles
Use what you already have, check out your local thrift stores, or buy new as a gift with the intent of wrapping another gift. These can be worn or used by the recipient, or reused as gift wrapping in the future! Use this guide to Furoshiki (Japanese fabric wrapping) for making your own beautiful designs.
6. Pillow Cases
This is a perfect method for large items, or items that are awkward to wrap! Keep your eye out at thrift stores for festive, fun, and colorful pillowcases to use, or just use what you already have. Blankets/sheets also work well for these larger gifts, using the Furoshiki method mentioned above.
7. Children’s Art
Show off your children's art by selecting pieces already made, or encourage them to make new designs on plain, recyclable paper!
8. Chip Bags
Yes, you read it right! Save (and wash!) your chip bags for a truly unique and frugal way of wrapping presents. Either cut the bag and use as wrapping paper, or turn the bag inside-out and use as a gift bag and tie it with a bow! Use multiple bags taped together for larger items.
9. Burlap Sacks
These can found at places like Just Us! Coffee, where they're sold after being used to ship goods. They are perfect for large items, and can also be made into smaller bags or ribbons and bows. The best part - once it's no longer usable, it's compostable!
10. Clay Pots
Place your gift in the pot and use the drainage tray as the lid. Leave it plain for the recipient to paint if they choose, or paint on a design yourself! (Make sure it matches their home decor so it gets used)
11. Themed Hobby Bucket
Use a bucket-like item related to something the recipient loves. This could be a cooking pot for the chef, cookie jar for the baker, or a watering can for a gardener. Get creative!
12. Cardboard Tubes & Food Boxes
13. Shipment Materials
Shipping packages often include brown, "untreated" paper that is excellent for gift wrapping. Utilize what you have for paper and boxes, and visit local stores for their spare shipment materials!
14. Tins, Cans or Jars
These containers are perfect for putting gifts in. Remember - If it's recyclable, be careful not to load on too many non-recyclable decorative pieces so the recipient can still put this item in their blue bag afterwards! As for items like Pringles or nut containers, these go to the garbage regardless, so the sky is the limit!
15. Reusable Cloth Bags & Durable Reusable Boxes
These can often be found at thrift stores, or can be bought new. When buying new, it's smart to find products that are of good quality so it lasts several years. You can start a tradition with your family or friends and see how many years you can gift the same reusable box or bag back and forth, or even request that they return it after they unwrap their gift!
Accessorizing your Gifts
For your inspiration!
1. Last Year's Holiday Cards
2. Last Year's Wrapping Paper & Old Magazines
3. Dried fruit
4. Tree trimmings, Flowers & Herbs
5. Biodegradable Twine
Cotton, jute, sisal and hemp types of string and twine are compostable!
6. Last Year's Ribbon & Bows
If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet!
7. Scraps of Yarn & Fabric
Cotton & wool scraps can be composted!
8. Cinnamon sticks
We hope you're inspired to cut down on your waste footprint this holiday season!
For the full guide to a low impact Christmas, click here
For low impact gift ideas, click here