Take the Wrapping Paper Out of Christmas

My wife recently told me about a post on the Facebook page of our favorite green living stores, Tree Huggers. The post was about wrapping paper. I didn’t know, but in most cases wrapping paper and tissue paper are not recyclable. That means, especially this time of year is a lot of waste is going to landfills.
My wife and I are doing what we can do to live more sustainable, local and eating within seasons. We are always looking for ways to make a difference. Even in small ways can add up over time.

When we learned that most wrapping paper is non-recyclable we knew we had to change. This year we have decided to not use any wrapping paper for gifts. There are many other ways to wrap gifts without traditional wrapping paper. I know my wife, and I very excited to give gifts that represent our goals of sustainability.

So how are we going to wrap Christmas presents this year. I am not sure yet, but here are a few ideas.

Fabric Wrapping

In the tradition of Japanese Fuoshiki wrapping cloth, you can use this fabric to wrap gifts this Christmas. Best of all this fabric is 100% organic cotton and reusable.

Fabric Gift Wrap


Source: Reuse It 

Grocery Paper Bags

Next time you are at the grocery store ask for paper bags. After you put your groceries away you have wrapping paper for Christmas gifts. Check out this tutorial from the Instructables, Grocery Bag Wrapping Paper

Brown Grocery Paper Bag turned Wrapping Paper

Reusable Grocery Bags

Put that fantastic Christmas present for your friend in a reusable grocery bag. Most stores carry many reusable grocery bags. Pick one with that matches the season or has a cool pattern. My wife and I often do this for baby shower gifts.Reusable Grocery Bags

Source: The Krazy Coupon Lady 


After reading the Sunday newspaper reuse it for gift wrapping. Pick any section of the newspaper depending on the person, gift or time of year. My favorite section for wrapping would be the comics. What section of the newspaper do you read first?

Newspaper Wrapping Paper

Source: Simple Organized Living 

Kraft Paper

This is want we are using this year for wrapping gifts. We have a roll of brown craft paper that is ideal for wrapping paper. Craft paper is easily recycled, and it is cheap. If you don’t like brown craft paper it is available in many colors at office supplies store. Check out this present that I wrapped for my wife. I think it looks great! I even used the craft paper for the gift tag. To dress craft paper up use some holiday stamps.

Craft Paper for Gift Wrapping


Old Maps

You probably have some old road maps in your car. If you have replaced these maps with a GPS like most people. Consider using the maps for wrapping paper. Maps are colorful, and fun to looked at.



Mason Jars

Mason jars are great for baking gift giving. You can give friends and family a pre-mixed cookie mix in a mason jar. After they make the delicious cookie they can use the mason jar in many ways. Here is a link to several great mason jar recipes, Mason Jar Recipes: Holiday Ideas for Gifts In A Jar.

Recipe in a Mason Jar

Source: Chef in Training 

The Wrapping Paper is the Gift (Scarves & Towels)

A green alternative to traditional wrapping paper is wrapping the gift with a gift. You can wrap a present in with a warm scarf or kitchen hand towels. Check out this scarf wrapping guide at Tasaram. I love this idea because there is no waste.

Scarf Wrapping Paper

Source: DIY Life 

Put it in a Basket

Instead of using wrapping paper for your Christmas gifts use a basket. Purchase a nice basket, place gifts in it and add a bow for the perfect reusable method to give presents. You can combine to wrapping methods by first using fabric and then placing them in a basket like the image below.

Baskets for Wrapping Paper Alternative

Source: Japan Home Ideas 

Cereal Box

Reuse an old cereal box for gift giving. Check out this simple tutorial for making fun present boxes out of your Wheaties Cereal box. Gift Wrap Ideas Cereal Box Tutorial Poster Wrapping Paper

Old Poster

Do you have any old posters? If so give them a new use this Christmas as wrapping paper. A poster will wrap just like any other wrapping paper.

For more ideas on green giving check out this book, Simply Green Giving: Create Beautiful and Organic Wrappings, Tags, and Gifts from Everyday Materials

This holiday season do your part be more sustainable. Find ways, like using alternatives to wrapping paper, to reduce your waste. Above all else make this holiday season a time of celebration with those you love.

Feature Image: Tree Huggers Facebook Page

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Great ideas. I'll admit I bought some designer wallpaper this year because I just loved the patterns but I think all these packages look as nice as some expensive paper...especially the brown grocery bag and you could totally stamp a cute design on that. 

HLMInterior moderator

 @CustomizedWalls I love designer wrapping paper too. Maybe you can carefully unwrap present and reuse it in some other way. Thank you for the comment.