Thrifty Green Thursday: Green Gift Wrapping Options

With Christmas next week, I've been thinking of all of the wrapping paper that ends up in landfills year after year. Leave it to me not to be thinking of sugarplums and candy canes. And to be honest, I do use some wrapping paper, mostly because it looks so darned pretty on ordinary boxes, especially some of the cool patterns that I've seen lately.

But I do try to reduce my usage by using recycled materials like brown paper bags, old maps, and even newspaper to wrap gifts. My frugal grandpa used to save the Sunday comics for weeks before Christmas to wrap the kids' gifts. At the time I thought it was just cheap, but now I think it's great that he was inadvertently helping the earth. I'm not sure those papers were recycled afterward (it was the 80s and not so easy), but nowadays you could certainly do that.

Someone sent me this great video on wrapping with newspaper created by eco-artware.com, and it's truly worth the few minutes of time to watch. They take you step by step through 8 ways to wrap up a gift with newspaper and make them look like fancy gifts you'd have wrapped at a boutique. It just requires a little creativity and time.

Here are some other ideas for wrapping gifts in an eco-friendly way:
1. Recycle your kids artwork
2. Wrap gifts in scraps of fabric left over from other projects and tie with yarn
3. Save and reuse paper from last year
4. Use reusable paper gift bags (I do this a lot and have quite a stash for all occasions)
5. Sew up some fabric sacks from scraps that can also be reused or repurposed for other things around the house.
6. Pack multiple items in a basket or even a clementine crate that you've painted or decoupaged with paper from magazines or scrapbook remnants
7. Recycle CD Jewel Cases into cute gift card holders. Decorate them with nice paper and cut a slot for the gift card.
8. Give a gift in a reusable shopping bag that can also be used at the grocery store. I love the Envirosax ones that can be folded up and kept in your purse or glove box.
Feel free to add some more in the comments! I'd love to hear your ideas.

For more earth-saving tips, visit Thrifty Green Thursday at the Green Baby Guide.


Cathy said...

great ideas--I love the CD jewel case. I have an envirosax and love it b/c it fits in my purse. Before that I would forget to bring my bags in the store.

Erin said...

I saw someplace {now I can't remember where! gah} to use old non working Christmas lights to tie your packages instead of ribbons. I thought that was a festive and interesting way to not let something go to waste.

I also have TONS of wrapping paper from over the years. I've been training myself to use it instead of buying a bunch of new stuff. Which is good for me because I love wrapping paper. =/ I also keep the small scraps of wrapping paper in a separate box for smaller gifts. But I think I'm going to "quilt" it all together next year and use that to wrap presents.

Wrapping a gift in a scarf would served double duty! Old maps would be great to wrap a gift for a traveler.

And to go along with the newspaper, wallpaper scraps or old holiday cards would work too.

I just found this out, but they also make biodegradable seed wrapping paper. From gift wrap to wildflowers. I've seen cards and stationery but not gift wrap before. I think that's so cool.


Great post! It got me all excited...lol clearly. I wrote enough of a comment, huh!

Muthering Heights said...

I love to wrap gifts with Bootsie Baby's artwork...most of the people I buy gifts for lover her anyway, so it's a nice little bonus for them! :)

Condo Blues said...

I have wrapping paper in my gift wrapping stash too. I've used the other green alternatives like paper bags, newspapers, etc. but I have to buy that stuff because I use my own shopping bags & read the paper online. I don't feel that horrible when I do use regular wrapping paper because our city will take it for recycling, althought I realize that other cities may not. If I don't use paper ribbon, I save the bows from year to year. I find wrapping presents an excellent way to finally find a use for some of the ribbon that's been hanging around too long in my craft stash!

Joy said...

I too love reusable gift bags! My mom made a set thirty years ago and they're still being happily used to this day. It's a bit of work to whip up a batch but if you sew the ribbon (for tying the gift) into the seam, gift wrapping will suddenly become immensely easier for years to come. No more waste, no more cost, and no more scotch tape! Yahoo! Thanks for joining us this Thrifty Green Thursday!

Jennifer said...

I have no ideas, since I use most you mentioned. :) I had not thought of using CD cases or clementine crates though, so thank you!

I have been wanting some envirosacks, it looks as though I shall need to buy some. I have a tone of tote bags (most were freebies) that are kept in the car to carry groceries.

Naomi said...

really cool! I've always been a freaky re-user. Even when I was Roo's age, I took forever to open present because I didn't want to tear or crease the paper...

tamdoll said...

Thanks for the great post & putting the video here. I have to have my kids view it now so they don't think I'm the only one doing it!

Rebecca said...

For smaller gifts, I often use magazine pages. If you have home and garden type magazines, you're sure to find some beautiful pages that can double as wrapping paper.

Great ideas! Thanks for contributing them to Thrifty Green Thursday!

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