Gift Wrapping Alternatives

Learn how to create beautiful, personalized gift wrappings that save resources and reduce our waste footprint! 

Gift Wrapping Alternatives

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!

save old gift wrappigns


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. 

  00002 001 002 640x960


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!

map as gift wrap sheet music gift wrap e1511634257834 images 1


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. 

1 Amazing DIY Christmas Gifts Design Ideas a50f8aaf411adcf08affc4bafa4dadf4 5 Amazing DIY Christmas Gifts Design Ideas 2tyzgbmdjcm11  


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. 

evermine hibiki an 


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. 

027a4838994867a40ffcdd7991007277 Pillowcase gift bag IMG 3078


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! 

  P PIC2 drawing paper flat 1 cute ideas for wrapping presents 02


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. 

Gift in Hand dsc05564


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!

il 570xN.372060161 nwom vintage farm primitive burlap potato bags bright advertising graphics lot of 9 sacks Laurel Leaf Farm item no n9836 1


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)

21ae9031b36b27fa96a5a767dcdfc17d potting soil painted pots Garden Cookie Gift IMG 6058 600x600 


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!

Black and Decker Cooker All In One 2 49bebf121df7ea5e0fc4751d709f320b FD 07 T20 7101E NC SP13 EC 0


12. Cardboard Tubes & Food Boxes

Keep boxes and tubes as-is, or find neat templates online to create something new, such as this cereal box template, or this paper tube template!

 images 2 Cereal 600x420 box1


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! 

recyclable packaging material heap materials cardboard paper cornstarch pellets 40760294  brown paper packages


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! 

 holiday folgers 1 1 teachers gifts 60 Cute and Easy DIY Gifts in a Jar gifts in a jar 10 f55379b45bdd372dcfd9dbb62e408c5a


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! 

VZWraps Holiday Gift Bags web  81yhIXB1hOL. SX450  fea18ed41511f6dd9c95215686ebc2cd09aea5d1


Accessorizing your Gifts

For your inspiration! 

1. Last Year's Holiday Cards

723afa1a1667353cb2b7c9c00ed70f28 5f5979a147d89dd1d1afd68161407759 101743478 Christmas Card gift Tags Sweaters


2. Last Year's Wrapping Paper & Old Magazines

IMG 9573 maxresdefault 1 images 3 P1130294


3. Dried fruit

DIY autumn dried fruit wall hanging 2 dcg13 DSC05273 2


4. Tree trimmings, Flowers & Herbs

christmas presents natural decorations modern wrapped decor white background gifts boxes craft paper twine green 128142961 th 3283d84d1b9e91fbd181ac986a56f9e0 1


5. Biodegradable Twine

Cotton, jute, sisal and hemp types of string and twine are compostable!

wp papertwines gift wrapping natural 04 getphoto twine gift wrap with packaging paper and shells 1


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! 

red gift ribbon and bow isolated on white 1101 2248 300PC Lot Dog Hair Bows Mixed Grooming Bows Ribbon Pet Accessories For Dogs Supplies


7. Scraps of Yarn & Fabric

Cotton & wool scraps can be composted!

giftwrap3 yarn tassel gift wrap 0 0000 00


8. Cinnamon sticks

 756c38e990c8988744c4d8770cd73ff1 cinnamon sticks on gifts f619f0185460e5f296fcff75668f39e3


9. Burlap

images 4 a aaaaa aaa


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