Easy, Sustainable Gift Wrapping Ideas

Nothing beats watching the smile grow on someone's face as they open a gift you picked out just for them. The anticipation of unwrapping brings out the inner child in everyone.

But the packaging and wrapping paper that comes with presents is typically bound for the landfill.  Household waste increases by more than 25% during the holiday season.  All that trash spoils the fun, but there are better ways to wrap presents that are not only more beautiful and creative, but also enhance the gift! Read on for my favorite ways to wrap sustainably.

Brown paper wrapped gifts

The easiest way to elevate your gift-wrap game is with eco-friendly paper alternatives.  If you don’t want to give up the look and feel of traditional wrapping paper, you can look for brands that use post-consumer recycled material. Or, make your gift stand out with these fun and sustainable options:

  • Brown paper grocery bags. Cut them along the seams to create a flat piece to work with. If you want a solid brown look, turn the bag inside out.  For a craftier look, use a white paint pen to add your own designs to the blank side before wrapping.
  • Newspaper. For a colorful twist, use the Sunday comics section.
  • Seed paper. Gifting to a green thumb? They might appreciate this bio-degradable paper that contains wildflower seeds, so you can grow beautiful flowers after you unwrap the gift!

Want to get a little more creative? Try a wrapping technique that matches the theme of the present:

  • Is there a chef in your life? If you’re getting a kitchen gadget for a foodie, wrap it in an apron or patterned dish towel to keep it on theme, practical, and beautiful.
  • Know a DIY aficionado? They’ll appreciate if you pick out some adorable fabrics to wrap their gift. The fabric can then be reused again and again to wrap gifts, or to create a new project like a cloth face mask. Try out this fabric wrapping tutorial
  • Check out your local thrift shops for decorative boxes. Look for a dainty little jewelry box, a vintage lunchbox, or even a rustic milk crate.  Those empty Christmas cookie tins can also be cleaned out and dressed up as the perfect gift container. 
  • Are you putting together a spa day gift of luxurious bath bombs and artisan soaps? A great way to wrap these is with a storage container, like a metal tin or mason jar, that goes with the gift-cute and practical! 

Sometimes the gift itself is cuter than any wrapping paper!  My favorite way to wrap a present is inside out – the gift on the outside and a handwritten note on the inside. This is perfect strategy for Sherpani bags, let the gift speak for itself and make your message the heart of the gift. You can also add other stocking stuffers or surprises, like a bottle of wine – which just so happens to fit perfectly inside the Rebel

If you’re like me, wrapping the present is half the fun of giving a gift. I’m always inspired by the creative decorations and folding techniques I see.  If you have more sustainable wrapping tips, share it with us in the comments!

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I love these ideas! I think wrapping presents in comic strips is always so fun – it’s been my go to for my family’s presents for years!

Suzanne E

Suzanne E

Bringing holiday joy with less waste! A lovely read.


These are such cute ideas- I can’t wait to give them a try!

Fun fact: I made my favorite mask from the fabric my friends used to wrap my birthday gift last fall! That fabric definitely comes in handy these days :)

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