When the holidays roll around I always admire the lovely wrapping paper. It’s so colorful and pretty. But at the same time, I cringe a bit because it also means it’s going to end up in a heap on the floor and in the trash can. The frugal side of me, as well as the “green” side of me, yearns for eco-friendly ways to wrap gifts that are either recyclable, biodegradable or reusable. So I’ve gathered together some ideas for wrapping gifts that are green and eco-friendly – but still stylish!
7 Eco Friendly Gift Wrap Ideas
1. Reusable bags
This is one of the most popular eco-friendly options out there. You can find bags of all sizes, made from different materials (canvas is a sturdy option) and closure styles. I have seen friends make giant bags out of holiday fabric for Santa to fill. The top is tied with a ribbon with a name tag for each child.
This is a great option because there are so many different shapes and sizes of baskets. I used one for my homemade hot cocoa gift. They are easy to find and usually inexpensive. (I’m always trying to be frugal!) They are great for food gifts especially, but work great for other gifts too. Just be sure to use baskets that are sturdy enough for the gift so the bottom doesn’t break when lifted.
3. Recycled Paper
Reuse brown paper bags, maps, sheet music, pages from old encyclcopedias, craft paper, etc. This is probably the easiest, least expensive option because chances are you already have all you need on hand. You can make it pretty and festive by decorating the paper. This is also a fun option that kids can help with – painting, stenciling, stamping, coloring, etc, to personalize the wrapping for friends and family.
Use large pieces of fabric, napkins, dishtowels, or scarves in place of wrapping paper. The cloth could be part of the gift, or something you make for gift wrapping purposes to use over and over again. Thrift and antique stores are a great place to look for napkins and small tablecloths. To secure the cloth on the present, use twine, ribbon, yarn, or jute to gather at the top, or you could even fasten with safety pins.
5. Gift boxes
You can purchase boxes and reuse over and over, or save boxes from gifts you receive. This box is covered with decorative paper. I also have a box where I place bits of ribbon and string to reuse. Perfect for smaller boxes like the one pictured. Another fun idea is to make small gift boxes from orange juice cartons, cereal boxes, cans, or other containers.
6. Large glass jars
This is one of my favorite ways to give gifts. They’re not just for food gifts either! Inside that jar, I’ve wrapped up a necklace, some lotion and lip balm. If you want, you can line it with tissue paper (saved from a shopping bag) or fabric (scarf, napkin, etc.) to preserve the element of surprise.
7. Print your own gift tags
It seems like every time I go to wrap I spend 20 minutes looking for a gift tag. The lovely folks at Free People designed these gift tags (download here and here) so you can print your own to save time, money and trees. They also have a few greeting card designs that I can’t resist sharing! Get the pink card here and the tree card here. There’s also a snowflake card and one with pretty greenery.
What are your favorite ways to stay green during the holiday season?2