Creative Ideas for Daily Living

19 – Green Christmas: Eco Friendly Wrapping Ideas

19 – Green Christmas: Eco Friendly Wrapping Ideas

In the U.S., about five million tons of garbage are produced during the Christmas season. The U.S. also consumes about 4 million tons of wrapping paper annually.  Did you know that about 50% of paper used in the U.S. is gift wrap? Before stocking up on rolls of commercial wrapping paper, consider some eco-friendly wrapping ideas.


Think Reusable

Eco-friendly wrapping is easier then you think–there’s no need to hunt down 100% recycled paper printed with soy inks produced locally in a solar-powered facility and sound environmental responsibility policies (although that is one option). Simply think reusable.

eco friendly wrapping - think reusable

I scoured my house and found a number of items that I could reuse as wrapping for my gifts this year. Pictured above are some fun patterned boxes, stockings, ceramic mini-bread pans, and ribbons that I’ve kept from gifts that I’ve received.

reusable penquin gift box trio

I picked up this fun stack-able penguin gift box set complete with paper basket filler at a yard sale. Not only  adorable, but can also be reused many more times.

Reusable fabric covered box and knit mini-stockings

When shopping for wrappings, go for re-usable items, like this fun fabric-covered gift box and small knit bags–these items will last for several years. Consider adding the wrapping as part of the gift by using fabric bags, decorative containers, or other items that the recipient can use.


Think Re-purposed

What are you going to do with a stack of old magazines, newspapers, last years Christmas Cards, or the flannel shirt that no longer fits quite right? More then likely, they’ll end up at a recycling facility or in a land fill. Why not get another use out of them?

Repurposed Christmas Card Gift Tag

This gift from Paper Corteire was so pretty it didn’t need wrapping. So I simply slipped a ribbon saved from a previous gift around it, and added a re-purposed Christmas Card gift tag.

How to make a gift tag from an Old Christmas Card

Cut out a small section of a Christmas Card

Punch a hole in the gift tag

Punch a hole in the gift tag

Thread ribbon or raffia through the hole and attach to gift.

Thread ribbon or raffia through the hole and attach to gift


Plain brown box, paper bag, and magazine wrapping.
Why wrap a plain brown box? Just add some wired ribbon for a sleek look. Wired ribbon looks great and can be reused again next year. Next time you run to the grocery store and forget to bring reusable shopping bags, pick up a brown paper bag and reuse it as wrapping paper. I adorned the plain package with raffia and a pine branch from my tree. Why not use magazine pages as wrapping–I carefully removed a few pages from a sheet music magazine to wrap these gifts. The result: the look of a high-end specialty  wrapping paper.

ceramic mini-loaf pans as christmas gift wrap

This one is my favorite. Last year I received these ceramic mini-loaf pans with fresh baked bread inside of them. I could use them to bake some of Melinda’s delicious pumpkin bread, but instead I slipped some gifts inside and tied a fabulous bow on top with left-over wire ribbon. So simple, yet so elegant.

It’s not so hard, right? This year, I challenge you to think beyond the traditional box and paper. Have you come up with a great green wrapping idea? Please share it with us!


Bonus: Sharon’s Green Wrapping Ideas; Green Wrapping Challenge Accepted!

Here is a photo of all my green wrapped packages thus far.

I wrapped some small boxes with old calendar pictures. I will put the three small boxes in a re-useable Christmas bag. I made a tag from a left over piece of scrapbook paper by ripping the edges into a tree shape and cutting out a trunk on the bottom. I put a hole in the top to attach it with a ribbon. I then wrapped one of my packages with left over fabric tying it together with some Christmas ribbon, and tied on a small front of a repurposed Christmas card, folded in half.

My favorite idea was using an old flower pot. I emptied the flower pot of dirt and a dried out cactus. I rinsed out the dirt and wiped it out with a dry towel. I turned the pot over and drew a circle on a thin piece of cardboard (a empty cereal box worked well) the same size as the top of the flower pot. I cut out the circle about 1 inch bigger then the drawn circle. I cut slits all the way around up to the inner circle so they were about ½ inch wide. I put the gift in two recycled newspaper bags, like tissue paper and put it in the pot. I then took the ‘lid’ and inserted every other card board flap into the pot. I then hole-punched every other flap left on the outside of the flower pot. I took some extra scraps of ribbon and tied them together. I tied the ribbon around the flaps of the lid inserting it in to the cut holes to hold it on. I made one of Amy’s suggested gift tags and tied it on with another scrap of ribbon. I then decided to decorate the top with extra scrap booking paper. I cut it to size by bending the edges around the top of the flower pot and creasing it to create the shape of the circle. I then went through some old photographs I had and came across a butterfly with not the greatest of backgrounds. I cut out the butterfly which was perfect to add a little design to my creatively wrapped gift!

Amy (91 Posts)

I am a Freelance Graphic Designer full of creative interests! In my spare time, I love to create something new from something old, embark on home decorating and renovation projects, try out new recipes, and attempt to garden. Beyond the artistic pursuits, I have a love for music and enjoy playing the piano and handbells.

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