Wrap Your Gifts in Sustainable Gift Wrap

December 21, 2020

Since starting my journey to living more sustainably I’ve started to see the world in a whole new light. From our choice of laundry detergent to the clothes we buy and even how we want to remodel our, thoughts of how to do it more sustainably are always on my mind. Don’t get me wrong, by no means do we do it perfectly. There are some things I just can’t find a more sustainable way to do (like piping bags to ice dessert–anyone got any ideas for that one!?) What I do know is that we’re living our promise to live consciously, not perfectly. We ask ourselves “is there a more sustainable way to do this?” Many times the answer is yes and sometimes the answer is no. So this Christmas we said yes to getting creative and finding a new way to create sustainable gift wrap.

Recycled Cloth Gift Wrap

The best-kept secret of gift wrap is fabric. Let me tell you how much fun these presents turned out and the knot you tie to keep it wrapped creates a magical bow that is elegant and elaborate in all the right ways. I happen to have a stack of old African fabric from when I lived in Uganda back in 2012. However, if you went to a thrift store and picked up leftover sewing fabric, old sheets, or towels, you could get the same effect. The thinner the fabric the easier it is to fold and tie-up. The darker the fabric the harder it is to see through it. I also wrapped the gifts in the warehouse of Amazon boxes we were getting at our house. I even stuffed a sweater into a Christmas lights box that I found lying around.

After your gift exchange, hold onto the fabric to use again and again! It’s a great way to keep that childhood memory of tearing open a present without having to waste tons of paper that is actually really expensive when you think about. 

Paper Bag Sustainable Gift Wrap

We got to Trader Joes about 2x a month to load up on our favorite things and we often forget to bring a reusable bag there. However, we appreciate their use of paper bags and they happen to be the perfect way to wrap gifts for the holidays, especially with their red and white festive drawings on the outsides. 

I simply cut the sides down so the the paper make the shape of an “X”, placed the gift inside and got creative with folding it up. You’ll still need to use tape to hold things together unless you have another creative idea on how to stick it together, but it’s still a lot less waste then there could have been. And you’re recycling a bag that most likely would have gone into the trash or recycling bin anyways.

Trader Joe's Bags Reused

Gift Bags

One of the gift bags under the tree is from my childhood. Yes, that’s how long my family reuses gift bags for. We keep a box of wrapping supplies in the garage with tissue paper and bags so that we have a quick and easy way to wrap them when we need them. We even give my mother a hard time about how many gifts come in–she hates to wrap anything. (I like to think of it as her way of living sustainably).

Left Over Packaging

In the boxes we got with our deliveries throughout this Fall and Winter they often come stuffed with brown paper, filled with plastic filler, and packages tied with ribber or string. All of these things can be used again.

Save the paper to use as recycled wrapping paper just like the paper grocery bags. Use excess plastic as filler in gift bags or to keep something wrapped up safely in a box. And finally, save all the ribbon and twine you can. If you’re going to wrap your gifts with fabric you’ll need a string to hold it together. 

Reusable Gift Wrap

Sustainable Gift Wrap

This year was such a fun and creative process for me in getting to wrap our family’s gifts. I even told my husband he could use anything he would like to wrap gifts (he’d rather just leave them in the box they came in) and he got pretty creative with cutting shapes out of Trader Joes bags to add to the top of the wrapping and creating bows out of brown paper.

Trying to celebrate a more sustainable Christmas doesn’t need to be stressful. Think of gift wrapping as a craft project and invite the kids to come up with new ideas on how they can wrap gifts too. Have fun in curating the full experience of the gift you have to give with some sustainable gift wrap.