Green Living

A Greener Christmas: Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping

December 11, 2018

Now that Christmas is getting closer, we have (nearly) all our gifts sorted out (thanks to my husband who’s much more on it than me). It’s time for the fun part – wrapping! 

I’ve discovered there’s definitely two different types of people when it comes to gift wrapping: you either love it or hate it. There’s those people that wow everyone with their beautifully packaged gifts. They spend time thinking about the different colour schemes, they know how to tie a beautiful bow and add lovely handmade touches. Now there’s the opposite group who would rather have someone else wrap their gift any given day. I guess that’s why there’s always a line at the gift wrapping stations in the shops!

While I’m sort of leaning towards the first group – I’m definitely not a pro, but I love some simple gift wrapping – I realised something about all this wrapping we do: it’s VERY unsustainable. If you think about the amounts of printed paper & plastic ribbons that just get thrown out, it’s no small thing. 

The good news is that you don’t need to give up your pretty gift wrapping to care a little more about our environment. I’m going to share two different ways to gift wrap in a more eco friendly way!

Option 1: Reusing packaging material to wrap your presents

“Brown paper packages tied up with string.” They are definitely some of my favourite things! Well, that brown (or neutral) paper is often used as filler for packages, as paper shopping bags or wrapped around fragile items. Look at this massive amount of paper that was stuffed in a package I received just recently! Reusing paper like this instead of throwing it out (and then buying new wrapping paper) is an easy way to make a difference. I love this style of packaging for small token gifts, big items or soft materials (like clothing or plaids). 

Use some twine or string (instead of tape) and finish with some decoration like a little sprig of wintergreen. 

Option 2: Using fabric to wrap your presents

There’s something so lush and special about a gift wrapped in a soft piece of fabric. Maybe my most favourite thing about using cloth wrapping is that it can be reused many times over. 

You don’t need to buy any fabric for this, as you most likely have things in your home that you can use. I used some cotton bags, those ones you get as shopping or goodie bags with printed logo’s on them. I cut those up and used the plain side for wrapping (and the handles as ‘ribbon’). You can also use an old shirt, pillow case, tea towel…get creative! Cotton or linnen in a neutral soft colour works best for this style of wrapping.

You’ll need a square of fabric – by tearing it you’ll get that rustic fringed edge. Place your gift in the middle and fold over the top and bottom. Fold the sides in, bring up and tie together with a knot. Again, you can decorate with any greens to finish the look. 

In Japan this type of wrapping is known ‘furoshiki’. There’s many techniques so if you’d like to learn some more check out this infograph.

I would love to hear from you! Would you share some tips on how you like to wrap your presents? Leave a comment below!

This post is part of our ‘a greener Christmas’ series, which gives you some ideas and tips to make this holiday season that little more sustainable. Some simple changes can go a long way to reuse, reduce and create less waste. Check out our other posts on using cloth napkins and wasting less food

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