GREEN Gift Wrapping Guide

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Every year at Christmas celebrations with my family, when it comes time to open gifts, the same thing ends up happening. A huge mountain of unusable holiday detritus piles up in front of the Christmas tree. All that gift wrap, and the tape and ribbons and bows and cute little gift label cards, ripped up and thrown away. Of course, I gather up the bows and reuse what I can, and recycle the rest, but still, it’s never enough material to provide for the next holiday, and I always end up having to buy more, much of which will only be thrown out AGAIN.

So this year, I’ve decided that I’m not having any more of it. All of my gifts will be packaged in earth-friendly, reusable or recycled wrapping, and I will get most of it either as part of the gift itself, or FOR FREE! I did a little research to figure out the best materials to use for attractive, green gift wraps, and I thought I’d share them here on the blog. Enjoy!

  • Paper bags Even though a lot of us have wisely transitioned to reusable grocery bags, most people still have a stash of large, brown paper grocery bags somewhere in the house. These are AWESOME for gift paper, because you can decorate them with markers or crayons. One friend of mine uses this method, and on each gift, she writes the recipient’s name in creative script with a Sharpie. These gifts are so cool looking, they don’t even need a bow. This would also be a great idea for gifts that your little ones are giving. Let them color on the paper before you wrap up the gift, to make it easier to decorate.

  • Baskets, Buckets, and Decorative Boxes When you package your gifts in reusable containers, the container itself is part of the gift. And it doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money. Goodwill usually has a huge bin full of baskets for about $1 each, and I’ve also found some really nice decorative wood boxes at thrift stores that would be great for giving jewelry, small clothing accessories, or little knick knacks in. A simple terra cotta pot would be the perfect way to present a gift for a gardening enthusiast. For the foodie, a piece of specialty cookware may be just the thing to hold packets of spice or sauce bottles.

  • Winter Scarf Whether you knit one yourself or buy it at a store, a warm winter scarf is a perfect way to wrap up a medium sized gift like a book.

  • Sunday Comics Everyone remembers receiving at least one gift wrapped in the colorful Sunday comics page as a kid. While fewer people are reading physical newspapers these days, it can still be a special, memorable way to wrap. If you don’t read the paper, check in the newspaper bin at your local recycling drop-off location.

  • Road Maps NO ONE uses road maps anymore! But everyone seems to still have a few floating around, and they have a kind of visual interest that is hard to beat. In my case, I have a couple of old US road atlases in the back of my closet. That’s like wrapping paper for three Christmases!

  • Cloth Bags You can go all out and nestle your gift in a new purse, or you can put it in one of those drawstring linen bags that are used these days for green kid lunch alternatives. Or you can check out Goodwill again, and find the perfect bag to fit your loved one’s knitting yarns, library books or tablet.

  • Glass Mason Jars Great for cookies, candies and other food related gifts, but could also be used for homemade candles, lotions or cosmetics. Or golf balls and tees, or even a rolled up hat and mittens.

For ribbons and bows, you could use yarn or twine remnants, shoelaces, hair accessories or even a new belt! Get creative! I’m sure there are a ton of cool options I haven’t listed here. I hope this helps you keep your holidays happy and earth conscious!

Do you have any green gift wrap ideas or creative family wrapping traditions? Let us know in the comments section!