Christmas Gift Guide

Eco-friendly Christmas wrapping ideas

Posted by
Helen Booth

Once you’ve got your Christmas shopping out of the way, it’s time to think about gift wrap. Thankfully, many of this year’s most popular and stylish gift-wrapping methods are also the most eco-friendly – and with these ideas you’ll save money too, because it’s likely you will already have everything you need at home. 

Forage for decorations

Present trimmings gathered from nature not only look impressive, they’re easy to source too. If you’ve invested in a real Christmas tree, the easiest option is to take a few small cuttings from a selection of innocuous branches – spruce, pine and fir cuttings look best paired with simple brown paper and natural twine. Even if you don’t have a real tree, alternative trimmings can be foraged from your garden or a local park – try holly leaves, pine cones, winterberries, a sprig from a pretty shrub, or even dried leaves.

Look in your kitchen cupboards

Pssst: another set of beautiful trimmings are hiding in your kitchen cupboard. Grab some sprigs of rosemary first: these not only look great but smell fantastic, too. Next up, dry some orange slices and pair these with a few cinnamon sticks – again, this is fragrant wrapping at its best. You could even swap out the gift tags for gingerbread alternatives: before baking, use a drinking straw to cut out a hole which will allow the tags to be strung onto gifts, and once they’re finished either leave them plain or label with writing icing.

Aim for zero waste

If you’re left with a small section at the end of a roll of wrapping paper, don’t throw it out. Instead, layer your scraps – either by looping one small section on top of another, or by creating a half-and-half effect. This is a simple trick but it instantly upgrades your wrapping game. It also means you won’t waste any paper – a problem which can be especially frustrating if you have spent hard-earned cash on a beautiful roll of paper (or accidentally cut a piece that’s too small).

Reuse and recycle

There should be no shame in collecting old wrapping supplies and reusing them later on – especially if you’ve been the recipient of carefully wrapped gifts complete with real ribbon and expensive paper. Look out for embellishments that you might collect in everyday life, too – for example, luxury shopping purchases sometimes come wrapped in scented tissue paper and ribbon. If you’re feeling especially resourceful, you could use pages from newspapers or magazines as wrapping paper, and even plain brown paper bags can be reused in place of a roll of gift wrap.

Use eco-friendly supplies

If you really want to cut down on waste, consider using fabric gift bags instead of paper. If you’re up for a bit of sewing, drawstring pouches are easy to make and can be reused by the person receiving your gift – either again as a gift bag, or for travel and storage. Alternatively you could try Furoshiki, a Japanese wrapping tradition using fabric cloths that are made to be reused – just include a note with the gift with instructions on how to reuse the cloths. If you do opt for paper wrapping, choose recycled and recyclable options over anything else (for example, glitter and foil covered cards and wrapping paper are said to be non-recyclable, as they can clog recycling machinery).

Main image: iStock