Reduce, Reuse, Recycle while Wrapping Gifts

Here are 10 ideas for wrapping your gifts with Reusable, Recycled, or Recyclable materials in order to Reduce your waste!

  1. Reuse wrapping paper, ribbons, bows. We did this in my family before gift bags came around. Even now, if someone gives me a gift in particularly nice paper, I will keep it and wrap another gift in it or use it for something crafty. Ribbons and bows usually look good for several rounds of gift giving. 
  2. Reuse gift bags. Gift bags make reusing gift wrap that much easier. Fold the tissue paper and reuse that too. 
  3. Turn grocery bags inside out, add a nice ribbon. If you have some paper grocery bags that have a few rips or with broken handles, you can turn them into an eco-friendly gift wrap. Turn the bags inside out, wrap your gift, and finish off with a nice ribbon. Or get crafty and decorate with stamps or coloring. 
  4. Kids’ coloring pages. Save your kids' coloring pages, and use them to wrap gifts.
  5. Sunday comics. If you still get the paper, save your comics for a few weeks and use them to wrap gifts.
  6. Scarf. Wrap your gifts in a few of your festive scarves or purchase a few large scarves at the thrift store.
  7. Gift boxes. My sister-in-law frequently gives us gifts in gift boxes. You can find these at stores like Target and TJ Maxx or online. I like these so much that I've never re-gifted them to anyone outside my family. I use them as fake gifts under my Christmas tree and then fill them with gifts the night before Christmas. So easy, and no mess to clean up after opening.
  8. Fabric gift wrap. You can buy some fancy stuff here, use thin dish towels, old receiving blankets, and small blankets as is. You could also purchase some clearance fabric at a fabric store and cut up with pinking shears (to prevent fraying). If you sew, you can use some small and large scraps you have hanging around your house, sewing small pieces into larger pieces and finishing off the edges. Just wrap up the gift as you would with paper, use a little tape to help hold in place if necessary, and close up with a ribbon tied up both directions. 
  9. Fabric gift bags. Fabric gift bags are incredibly easy to sew, and if you have any fabric scraps lying around or purchase some linens at the thrift store to cut up, practically free. For very large gifts, try using a pillow case. No sewing necessary! And keep your eye out for free reusable gift bags, like those bags that sheets come in. Of course, you can also buy reusable fabric gift bags if you want to. 
  10. Treasure hunt. This works especially well for a very large gift. Hide the gift under a bed, in the closet, in the garage, and then give the lucky recipient a small box with a clue inside that sends them on a treasure hunt that ends with the hidden gift.

What are your ideas for eco-friendly gift wrapping?

For more great ideas on being green and saving green during the holidays, 
visit my Green Holidays page (continually updated).


  1. This is such a great idea! Have you heard of furoshiki? It's a Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in a square cloth. Here's a link to a great tutorial, you can do so much with this!

  2. I love the idea of using fabric as gift wrap. As a sewer I always fabric around the house!

  3. Great ideas. I have tubs full of used bags and ribbons, even tissue paper! I'm obsessed with saving and reusing the stuff. Some of the bags have been going for 5+ years! Fabric is definitely my new favorite wrappng method though.

  4. For really awkward gifts we use tablecloths:

  5. I've never tried the treasure hunt one. Will have to give that a go!

  6. Hey,nice post.I would like to add little bit.Consider a cloth wrapping choice that can be utilized after the gift is opened.A holiday dish towel or set of enhancing cushion cases can be transformed into an outwardly engaging container for your next gift.Have a nice day.

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