As you prepare your gifts this festive season, it's worth considering more creative and sustainable ways to wrap presents you have lovingly chosen for friends and family. While buying a roll of wrapping paper and a handful of ribbon can be second nature for most, this is one easy way we can reduce waste and put even more thought into gifting. Instead of a bin full of trash at the end of Christmas day, enjoy reusable and sustainable gift wrap and packaging to repurpose year on year. Read on to find 9 unique and more sustainable ways to wrap Christmas gifts. Enjoy!
Paper & Plastic Mailers
The one common nuisance of ordering online is the extra packaging and garbage that must be dealt with. An excellent solution, especially during the Christmas season when there are multiple gifts to wrap and prepare, is to use the paper and plastic mailers as your gift wrapping material. The key in re-using these mailers is to not be too concerned about perfection, but rather, focus on personality. Get creative in tied closures or decorative additions such as twine or Holly. Decorative tape or a nice gift tag can also elevate the look and feel of the recycled materials, exuding a thoughtful and creative approach to gift-giving. A less cramped trash bin and fewer resources spent on gift wrapping is always a win-win for all.
Furoshiki is the age-old Japanese art of wrapping things, which is commonly used for gifts but also for storing and carrying items. It is practiced by using spare fabric. The ideal shape of fabric to use in Furoshiki is square or rectangle, but can be any size that suits your needs. Old handkerchiefs or dish towels, or even fabric that has been cut from larger pieces of fabric can be used. One of the most important aspects of Furoshiki is mindset. As you tie and fold the fabric, the Japanese tradition encourages you to focus on the person for whom the gift is intended and the gift itself. In this way, you are imparting intention into the process and making it even more special. Once it is wrapped, you can add special touches such as small leaves, twigs, twine, or whatever you like that can be found in nature or around your home.
Here is a great video tutorial that illustrates how to Furoshiki your first gift...
Old Newspaper or Book Pages
If you’re going for a vintage or classic look but with that familiar ‘paper’ feel, there may be no better option than recycled newspaper or pages from an old book you no longer need. The words, even if slightly smudged or imperfect are their own lovely pattern and easily dressed up with ribbon or twine you may already own. If you don’t have newspapers delivered to your home, you are likely to find plenty at a local grocery or corner store where they commonly throw out the day-old newspaper each day. Feel free to dress them up even further with paint or fun drawings from the heart.
Mason Jars or Glass Containers
If your gift is of the smaller variety, small glass jars and containers are perfect for packaging items with charm. As simple as looking through the pantry or asking family and friends if they may have a few extra – these classic containers are endlessly useful and will surely be an added bonus to the gift inside. Dress up the container with cinnamon sticks, eucalyptus or candy canes for a festive touch.
If you have a child in the home or in your family nearby, you are likely well-aware of the large amounts of artwork produced by tiny humans. Be it from school, daycare, or home, little ones love artistic expression and perhaps make more of it than one home can handle (or display). What better use for such lovingly created art than to use as wrapping for a thoughtful gift. Bold colours and interesting subjects will most certainly be a high point of the recipient’s unwrapping experience, not to mention the joy the child will feel that their artwork can serve such a useful and fun (gift-related!) function. Even better if the child can help you to choose and wrap the gift themselves.
Unused Cloth or Fabric
While the art of Furoshiki is similar in terms of materials, you don’t necessarily have to draw inspiration from the Japanese to utilise fabric or cloth to wrap your gift thoughtfully. Get creative with twists and folds, or mix and match fabrics for an artistic flair. Even better, you may find old Christmas or holiday inspired fabrics that fit the moment perfectly. If you find you don’t have much fabric lying around, you can always visit a local thrift store and buy beautiful second-hand cloth. Tie in a knot for an easy closure or secure a pinecone, decorative twigs, or Christmas tree clippings to elevate it even more.
Maps provide a great recyclable option if no longer in use. Often-times, parents or grandparents may have stacks of maps lying around from the days before Google. Whether small pages or large poster size, maps are really beautiful and easy to repurpose into wrapping paper. If you find you have a large amount to choose from, you can even choose locations especially relevant to your gift recipient, be it a travel destination they love, or a location of sentimental value. Perhaps even chart a course for them, drawing out your next adventure, step by step, from one destination to the next.
Baskets are great gift parcels, as they are universally useful and one can usually find one lying around the house or garage with nothing inside. They can be painted or left as is and look really lovely with a re-used bow or nature-inspired items popping out of the top. You can also use a basket as the container of a gift you have wrapped in a sustainable wrapping for an extra special touch. Things like christmas candies, treats, or natural soaps and miniature candles fit well into a basket container and can be an add-on to the main gift inside.
Brown Paper Bags
Lastly, as another recycled paper option, the brown paper grocery bag just may be the easiest to procure if you find yourself lacking in fabric, baskets, or jars. This option is especially relevant if you find yourself at a holiday home or at a family member’s for the holidays, with little recyclable items to choose from. Simply choose a paper bag option next time you buy your groceries, and you’ll have wrapping paper on hand. The monotone colour of the paper bag allows you to really get creative with things like candy canes, twine, or small decorative pieces to adorn your gift from the forest, sea, beach, or beyond.
Looking for gift options for family or friends? Check out some great gift ideas from Vivida Lifestyle, featuring small stocking stuffers to more luxurious finds that are a great fit for anyone, anywhere. These finds are especially suited for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Jackie Tyburski dives deep into the stories and true essence of the Vivida Lifestyle brand, ethos, and mission. She believes the right words illuminate our purpose and capture life's moments in pure, imperfect, and poetic form. Traveling, cooking, yoga, and paddle-boarding are a few of Jackie's other favourite things, alongside being a mom and wife to a few awesome humans.