How To Eco-fy Your Christmas Wrapping

After the present-opening frenzy is over, do you end up with a gigantic garbage bag full of wrapping paper every year and despair at killing the environment? Don’t worry: there are loads of easy and fun ways to make your gift giving far more eco-friendly.  Take our tips and make your Christmas a little bit greener.

Create homemade wrapping paper from upcycled items: Old paper bags, found ribbon, scraps of paper, whatever suits your fancy. This is a great project for you or for the kids — or together!


Photo Credit: erika g. on Flickr.


Use fabric to wrap gifts. The fabric wine bags above are whimsical and sturdy, while these gorgeous wrapping scarves never fail to win compliments, and can be used over and over again without losing any of their lustre.

Photo Credit: Le Petit Poulailler on Flickr.

If your family are traditionalists and really feel the need to tear paper in the morning, make sure you buy your paper from sustainably grown or recycled sources with eco-friendly dyes. Check out these ones offered by Pistachio or other eco-conscious retailers.


Photo credit: Aunt Owwee on Flickr.

A plain box with a festive ribbon is easy to open, unbelievably classy and can be saved and reused year after year. Swap out the ribbon to change it up, then use the ribbon for a different purpose next year.


Photo Credit: charmon on Flickr.

Salvage paper that is still in good shape for next year. Big sheets used to wrap large gifts can be very well adapted to wrapping smaller gifts 12 months later.


Photo Credit: katerhaon Flickr.

Use cards you received in previous Holiday seasons to make gift tags. Cut out the pretty or whimsical scenes and then just write your “to” and “from”s on the back.


Photo Credit: spin spin on Flickr.

Use gift bags. They reuse very well year after year. And it’s a bonus if you buy eco-friendly, recycled or sustainable bags in the first place, then use them until they are too battered to hold up well – and even then, you can cut them into smaller pieces to use for gift tags or wrapping smaller gifts.


What’s your favorite eco-friendly wrapping tip?


Related Posts:

Top 5 Last-Minute Green Gift Ideas To Buy Or Make

Ten Steps To Waste Less Food This Holiday Season

5 Quick Tips For Hosting A Greener Halloween Party


Photo Credit: anniehp on Flickr.


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Gloria Morotti
Gloria Morotti3 years ago

Good ideas.

Jason Shepard
Past Member 3 years ago

Oh, yes, and I forgot: We also have a collection of post-consumer content bags that we use year after year for those oddly-shaped, unwrappable presents. Tissue paper is reusable (and most is recyclable) as well. My kids are fully onboard with our recycling project, even my 4-year-old, so presents are opened slowly and gently here to preserve our recycling and reusing goals.

Jason Shepard
Past Member 3 years ago

I bought Scott's post-consumer content wrapping paper which then gets recycled afterward. As an additional bonus, it's very strong and doesn't rip when wrapping presents like most. I don't use bows and I use rectangles of the Scott paper to create the gift tags as well to even further minimize waste. I use the smallest pieces of tape possible to secure the package just well enough to hold when placed on the table (we don't celebrate Christmas, so we have no tree to put them under). All packaging of presents gets recycled as well (as does all other recyclables in our home anyway). The holiday seasons and birthdays make it difficult to attain our goal of 85% recycling of our waste, but we are coming very, very close.

Anna Ballinger
Anna Ballinger3 years ago

I keep tissue paper from gift bags. After ironing they are great to use again and also make flowers to attach to other gifts. I also like using raffia for wrapping around presents and tying bows.

Antonio Chiarenza

part three of three--sorry I didn't plan this better, please read me in reverse :}
excellent strategy for items that need to be outside or in the fridge. this also makes a fun way to give a gift certificate for a non object present. when the person solves the puzzle it will tell them what it is you will be doing with or for them: cleaning, planting, a concert, a game, meals over or out, lessons, projects. you name it. or if you are brave and generous let them! and what present could be greener than a zero impact gift made mostly of time?

Antonio Chiarenza

grocery sacks. sometimes things have been wrapped in T-shirts or other garments.
•been lucky enough to find some openable ornaments over the years–just tuck little gifts in these & hang them among the other decorations. we reuse them like stockings (another great way to wrap) but they could be gifts themselves
•other gifts within gifts used in the past–purses; surprising things can be closed in umbrellas; books can hold money/giftcards; tool boxes full of craft supplies; laundry baskets for off to school gifts; picnic baskets with a selection of food
•some gifts, mostly clothes, I just fold/twist/bunch out of recognition then tie-up in ribbon
other techniques from other years
•wide ribbon can successfully obscure many small packages. it is ok to let a little show as a tantalizing clue
•raid the recycling bin! candy wrappers, eggcrates, cereal boxes, mylar chip bags (silverside out) & more can be colourful and whimsical repackaging. newspaper and paperbags are classics. paint, glitter, & colourful bows dress up B&W text or brown kraftpaper while bold solid ribbon offsets full color ads & funny pages
•camouflage–in mischievous moods I took things out of their boxes & switched them or put them in unrelated boxes with just a bow (being careful the real gift was better than the decoy, to avoid tears)
•don't have to wrap per se–hide the gift then give a note with a cryptic clue. excell

Antonio Chiarenza

I just wanted to share some of the green ways we packaged/presented gifts yesterday for the Solstice
•tins–they aren't just for cookies/candy though those are great gifts :)'
•fabric–solid colors, seasonal prints, & tie-dyes. if you know sewers you may want to choose fabric for them to keep & use but we fold em up for next time. some may get a makeover next year w/added glitter glue/paint. we use tape or secure with folding, rolling, yarn, & ribbon. (remember to use bows or slip knots for easy removal, which oops, I mostly did.) decorative pins and clips, even hair elastics would work well too. these can be gifts or part of a reusable wrapping collection
•big pieces of fabric–the rest of the year you may think of them as sheets, tablecloths, or blankets–make it easy to wrap (or drape) even the most awkward items. go around & around to use up extra yardage (only for presents that don't mind getting flipped over) prefold to fit or use smaller linens ie pillowcases, napkins, bandanas & hankies. we also use them for tissue paper wrapping/cushioning inside tins/boxes & topping off gift bags
•bags-some bought shopping bag style bags, but soft homemade ones that can be gathered & tied are more versatile. also anytime a colourful "disposable" bag comes our way, or even a solid white or black that looks good with shiny ribbon, it goes into the wrapping stash. last year many people's gift from us came in reusable g

Susan McKowen
Sue McKowen3 years ago

I used newspaper from our local paper to wrap any gifts, and cut strips to make "bows." All paper then gets reused or recycled... Happy holidays to all! :)

Alex H.
Alex H.3 years ago

I have an even better idea! I buy nice tea towels and use them to wrap presents,thus creating another gift!

Robert O.
Robert O.3 years ago