5 ways to wrap up Christmas, without trashing the planet

Filed in Blog by on November 3, 2014 10 Comments
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alternatives to wrapping paperIt’s coming up to the festive season again and like many of you I’ve been thinking about ways to celebrate without trashing the planet.

And today I’m thinking about wrapping paper.

If all the wrapping paper we throw away each Christmas was laid out in a line; it would reach all the way to the Moon…

Here are a few suggestions that will help save resources and stop you wasting money:


Furoshiki is a great way to flex your creative muscle and it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Put simply, furoshiki is the art of wrapping gifts in fabric and you can make some amazing designs.

From rabbits to handbags to strawberries you’re only limited by your imagination.

Here at Chez Green, we have several pieces of material that get recycled among family members!

Have a watch of the video and check out these tutorials.


My Grandma used to carefully unwrap gifts then IRON the paper.

And now I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I used to take the you-know-what out of her.

As I get older I realise I have the Grandma gene in me as well.

So why not reuse paper and save a few trees?

Maps, newspapers and magazines

If you have the time to carefully select the right paper you can make a stunning, personalised giftwrap.

Imagine a gift wrapped in an old map of an area that is special to the recipient. Or a newspaper wrapped gift that has someone’s favourite football star on?

Have a rummage through the recycling bin and see what you can salvage.

maps as zero waste wrapping paper

Gifts by post

If you’re posting gifts you need them to arrive safely to avoid breakages or damage, otherwise you might have even MORE waste on your conscience!

I can’t remember the last time I bought new padded envelopes; I carefully open the ones I receive and put them away for reuse. Likewise bubblewrap (if I can resist popping all the bubbles).

If you need to buy new supplies, put your money where your mouth is and support a company like Crownhill Packaging, who are committed to providing customers with green solutions for packaging.

Art work

How many parents can’t bear to throw out their kid’s art work, but have every available surface covered in it?

Using it as gift wrap is a way to reduce your own clutter without feeling guilty for throwing away a masterpiece.

While work colleagues might not appreciate a stick man wrapping their pressie, it’s sure to be a winner with Grandparents or doting Aunties.

artwork - zero waste wrapping paper

What about you? What are your creative ideas for wrapping paper that doesn’t cost the earth?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (10)

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  1. Kathleen says:

    I love all these ideas. I will keep them in mind when doing my gift wrapping this year. I am not going to use tape on my paper wrapped gifts. I figure the ribbon can hold things together. Thanks for the great post!

    • Mrs Green says:

      Great idea about using ribbon rather than tape, Kathleen – at least that can be reused if the recipient chooses too 🙂

  2. Gillg says:

    How about all those beautiful centre page photos in the guardian. I keep selected ones and use them for all the family. They even have to guess who’s is whose by the subject in the picture! Fun for all!

  3. jadwriter says:

    I try to buy and use paper that can be recycled. So that means, it is not the shiny stuff and not have glittery things on, as I know they can’t be recycled.

  4. Jean says:

    I have always reused shopping bags. So now when I give a gift it is in a reusable shopping bag. Some I’ve made, some I’ve purchased. You can make some really cute ones from old jeans. Pillow cases, fabric scraps, bed spreads. By using the bags I save two ways. The gift has to for in the bag and I give a “wrapper” that can be reused.

    • Mrs Green says:

      I love this idea Jean – thanks so much for sharing. The recipient ends up with two gifts 🙂 And for those of us who aren’t at all crafty, a scarf or tea towel might work 😉

  5. Jennifer L. says:

    I bought some organic cloth bags for produce a few years back and they did not work for keeping our food/produce. Since I couldn’t see in the bags, things were forgotten and went moldy in their secret places. So, knowing that didn’t work for us, I decided to re-use the bags for holiday gift wrapping and it works quite well. I think this year we might dye them or stamp them to make them more festive. Also, we found an old holiday sheet at a thrift store one day and we used that to sew up some re-useable gift bags with ribbons sewn on them. Now on Xmas morning, we just take out the gifts and throw all the cloths back into the bag to re-use next year. Admittedly it’s kind of fun re-visiting some of the bags we made each year. Some with hand-prints, some with the festive-activity-du-jour (reindeer or snowman hand prints…).

    • Mrs Green says:

      Hi Jennifer, thanks for joining in the conversation. I love that you are creating a tradition and some special memories with your wrapping. And what a great reuse idea for those produce bags that didn’t work out for you!

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