For the past few weeks we’ve looked at great creative ways to reuse and recycle common materials in our gift giving for the holiday season. We found ways to reuse old greeting cards (including making gift tags from them), crafted our own gift bows, and assembled unique gift bags–now it’s time to bring it all together and tackle gift wrap!
Most wrapping paper is simply thrown away after being shredded to bits by kids and adults alike, and worse, most of today’s wrapping paper isn’t even recyclable! Instead of buying new flashy gift wrap this year, consider these options that are either already recycled or can be reused by the receipt for years to come.
1. Soft home goods. Wrap your gift in a sweater, scarf, towel, pillowcase, place mat, cloth napkin, or even a show curtain. No wrapping paper involved and the recipient really gets two gifts in one! I once received a gift wrapped in a luxurious chenille bath towel. That towel is still one of the favorites in my closet.
2. Newspaper, paper bags, and other recyclables. You may think it’s boring at first, but consider newspaper or plain kraft paper that you can decorate with stamps or spruce up with a pretty bow (this really makes your handmade bows stand out for sure) or string or yarn. You can even use large paper bags like when you needed to cover your school books. This option may not be reusable, but at least you can recycle the paper!
3. Reusable grocery bags. This gives the recipient the option to reuse it as a gift bag again in the future or keep it out for everyday use at the grocery store, farmer’s market, or just hauling stuff around! One Christmas I got the prettiest red and silver reusable grocery bag, but it took me a minute to realize that it wasn’t just a plain gift bag, that’s how nice it was! Search around, you can find some inexpensive but fashionable options.
4. A functional container. Similar to #1, this wrapping idea is part of the gift itself! Give a small gardening set inside a ceramic pot and you can even use the drainage plate as a type of lid to hide the goodies inside. Bowls or all shapes and sizes work well for cooking baskets, or try a movie night basket with a popcorn bowl (like the one below). I’ve given Italian food-themed baskets in large silver colanders instead of useless packaging and wrapped it up in a lovely kitchen towel–no waste at all!
5. Maps. If you can keep the map intact and just use some creative folding, this wrapping can bring a cool vibe to your gift and be saved to hang as interesting art later (not to mention its fun to see what’s on the map and can be educational!)
6. Learn Furoshiki. I recently stumbled on this Japanese wrapping technique that uses a bit of fabric to create unique and interesting twists and knots. All you need is some fabric!
7. Cloth gift bags. This is assuming you are handy with sewing, but even if you aren’t, there are some inexpensive options for reusable cloth gift bags out there (there’s plenty to choose from here). I’m not a sewer, but I do knit and crochet gift bags for small items that work out well.
I hope this has inspired some of you to be creative with your gift wrapping this year while being kind to the earth (and your wallet). Happy wrapping!