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A Greener Way To (Gift) Wrap

By Amanda Wilkes:

There have been far too many Christmas mornings and days after birthday bashes when I have found myself throwing away an excessive amount of gift wrap. All that paper, all those trees — for a mere second of gift wrap admiration. Everyone is so focused on what lies beneath the thin paper that very few individuals take the time to recognize what a beautiful job you did wrapping the gift and how many trees were sacrificed, only to be torn open, tossed to the side and thrown into the trash.

I began to wonder what, instead of paper, we could use to wrap our gifts. With a few ideas of my own and few ideas that I found online, I have created the ultimate green gift wrapping guidelines! The best part is that, by using the supplies I suggest below, the wrapping becomes a gift itself!


  • Fabric is very similar to wrapping paper, but I find it even easier to work with! The flexible fibers in the fabric make it easy to tie or knot, and eliminates need for tape! Gift recipients can get very crafty with their fabric and use it as a scarf, a bandana, a decorative piece, as a napkin, or as their next gift wrapping! There are so many ways to gift wrap with fabric. Below is a link to get you started!

Furochic & Wrapagami

Kitchen Towels

  • We can all use extra kitchen towels, so why not wrap with them? Nothing too fancy about it. Simply wrap your gift with a kitchen towel and tie a piece of twine around it. Your recipient will be pleased to have such practical wrapping! 1-cloth

Beach Towels

  • Instead of just gifting a beach towel, use it as the wrapping! Beach towels are best for your larger gifts and can be thoughtfully tied with a jump rope! Perfect for a day of fun in the sun!2-clothbags

Mason Jars

  • Mason Jars are a simple and inexpensive way of wrapping gifts! Simply put your gift inside the mason jar and finish it off with an oversized ribbon tied around the glass to keep your recipients wondering what’s inside.3 masonjar

Planting Pots

  • Clay planting pots are inexpensive and easy to decorate with paint or a permanent marker. Instead of a card, write your personal message directly on the pot. Then, whenever the recipient grows something in that pot, they will think of you and read the personal message you wrote to them.4

Reusable Bags

  • Thankfully, totes are becoming the new fad and can be used just about anywhere you go. Most grocery stores offer their reusable bags for a very reasonable price. In fact, a reusable bag is probably cheaper than many of the gift bags that you find in your local store. The reusable bag as gift wrap is wrapping that keeps giving and giving! Just think about how often you use yours! Make it pretty by tying a big ribbon around the middle or even tying the handles together!5-bags

Brown Paper Bag

  • If you’re looking for an extremely inexpensive but crafty way to wrap, use your brown paper bags from the grocery store. They give a gift that rustic feel and can be dressed up by adding something natural like a leaf or feather tied to the handle.6-paperbags

 Newspaper/Butcher Paper

  • Very inexpensive and easy to use! Add a delicate ribbon or some dainty twigs to give your gift that extra something!7-newspaper

This season, instead of grabbing the gift wrap from the store that is the most convenient, start thinking about how you can sustainably wrap your gifts. Give the trees a fighting chance — don’t doom them to twenty seconds of stardom as they are eyed by the recipient and then almost instantly shredded to pieces and left to be scooped into a trash bag by the end of the night.

There are so many great ideas about greener gift wrapping! What’s yours?

About Amanda

Amanda Wilkes is a Southern California native and an avid advocate for the health, happiness, and the well being of the world we live in! She loves teaching, traveling, writing, cooking, and photography. Amanda cannot get enough of being out doors, playing in the sunshine and doing yoga on the beach at sunset. One of her greatest joys is finding a new Farmer's Market or sustainable eatery! She lives in Laguna Niguel, CA with her beloved boyfriend and fur baby. As a teacher, she hopes to empower the youth of today with the ways of tomorrow's future!

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