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Sustainable Gift Wrapping Ideas

The holiday season is officially in full swing! From shopping, baking, traveling, and catching up with friends and family, the holidays are a beautiful time to be reminded of all the good in life. There is one thing however, that’s not so great about the holiday season, and no it’s not fruit cake, its waste! We’ve gathered a few tips and tricks for how to have a more sustainable holiday season with these gift wrapping practices.

Use something you already have:

Your child’s artwork

This one is perhaps the most fun, as it can double as an activity for your kids as well. You can use paper from the printer, sketchbook paper, or, if you have a large amount of gifts to wrap, you can go all out with a whole roll of paper.

Have your kiddos color the paper with crayons, pencils, markers, or even stamps! However, it’s best to abstain from any painting, as this can cause the paper to become flimsy and easily tearable. 

This form of wrapping makes a gift feel even more personal. Each piece of art by your child is unique, and the art can be personalized for the recipient as well! 


Newspaper or magazine pages

Newspaper makes for a great wrapping paper substitute. It’s inexpensive and completely recyclable. 

If you don’t subscribe to any newspaper publications, but have a stack of magazines, put those to use! Use one page for smaller presents and tape together the pages for larger packages. 

This is a super fun way to liven up the wrapping without spending extra cash. Plus, you can personalize this wrapping to fit the personality of the recipient by using fashion, sports, or cooking related magazines. 

For the perfect how-to when wrapping with magazines, clickhere!


Cookie tins

You don’t have to just use cookie tins for food, they’re ideal for packaging gifts as well! They double as a box, and many of them don’t need any wrapping as they already have cute decorations. 

Don’t have any cookie tins lying around? We bet you ten to one that your local thrift store does, especially during this time of year!

Wrapping paper from last year

If you already have wrapping paper from last year, reuse it as much as you can! Recycling paper is both dependent on how you open a present and if you make the effort to store the paper year-round. 

Packaging that can double as a gift:


Tote bags you no longer use

This one is great for anyone who has accumulated more tote bags than they know what to do with. Take that one bag you never use and put it to use when wrapping presents. 

No fancy tips for wrapping here. Just place the gift inside the tote bag amongst some tissue paper and give!


Use fabric for wrapping, also known as furoshiki

This is both a beautiful and sustainable way to wrap presents this holiday season. Furoshiki is a traditional Japanesse method of wrapping gifts, goods and food in cloth. The cloth is tied both securely and knotted on the top of a present, doubling as a bow. 

The cloth can range from a scarf, hand towel or bandana, depending on the size of your gift. Don’t worry, this easy to followtutorial will guide you through the steps!

A few last things...

It would be amiss of us to give you the low down on sustainable gift wrapping if we didn’t include a note about the insulation and tape used in gift packaging. 

Opt out of:


  • Anything styrofoam- we’re looking at you packing peanuts!
    • Styrofoam is bad all the way through for the environment. Harmful chemicals are released during manufacturing, not to mention that this plastic breaks down easily,contaminating waterways in the process. 

Opt in for:

  • Shredded paper
    • Unfortunately not recyclable, but compostable! Just make sure it’s not glossy or colored and this is a great packing alternative.
  • Bubble wrap
    • Surprised? We were too! A lot of bubble wrap on the market is made to berecyclable nowadays. Just be sure to check the label before you buy. 

Don’t forget the tape!

All of these ideas are great. Now seal the deal (pun intended), using environmentally friendly tape! Packaging is important, but let’s not forget the impact of single use tape. The adhesives in tape can beharmful when burned and can limit recycling efforts as well. Opt for a more eco-friendly option with brown paper tape.


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