The Art of Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

You’ve selected the perfect eco-friendly gift and now you have to wrap with without creating a bunch of waste. When it comes to most things in life, presentation is everything.  Why is raspberry glaze drizzled so elegantly on top of the cheesecake?  Because we enjoy food with our eyes just as much as with our taste buds. If you have any doubt that presentation matters, consider this.

Two gifts are in front of you.  One is wrapped in the iconic robin’s egg blue Tiffany box, and the other is wrapped in plain paper is there a contest at all?

Green gift giving takes it a step further.  Not only do we want to give a gift our recipient will enjoy, we make the conscious decision not to create a bunch of waste. Maybe that big garbage bag has become a staple at your holiday celebrations.  Even if you put all that used paper in the recycle bin, it probably ends up in the landfill just like that bag.  Because of the dyes, laminates, glitter, etc., wrapping paper is tough to recycle.

An average roll of wrapping paper costs $4.  We’re just not fans of throwing our money away.  One of these options will easily save you money, and keep the rest of that wrapping paper roll from gather dust in the closet all year.

Fabric Gift Bags

holiday Wrap It Green

Fabric is better for the planet too because most paper gifts bags with embellishments and glitter are not recyclable. Fabric gift bags are the simplest solution I’ve found.  Just drop the gift inside, pull the drawstring, and tie a bow. For a great DIY project, you can make your own fabric gift bags.  Just put the back sides of the fabric showing and sew three of the sides together.  Turn it inside out and tie with a ribbon. Voila!


Furoshiki is an age-old tradition in Japan. It’s the art of wrapping a gift in a beautiful fabric, scarf, or bandana that can be used again & again. Because it looks sophisticated, furoshiki can seem complicated, but it’s really not difficult to do. You’ll find video tutorials here demonstrating a couple of the simplest and most elegant wraps.


Recycle and Upcycle Gift Wrap Options

Other simple ways to wrap your gifts “green” involve looking for ways to use things you already have.

▪Kitchen style – Wrap your gift in a colorful kitchen towel and tie a bow around it.  Oven mitts make a nice pocket to slip a gift inside.  Aprons are fun, and they already have the strings to tie up the present!  And kitchen canisters can hold small gifts.

▪Bucket list – Place gifts inside a small galvanized gardening bucket.  Don’t worry about tissue paper or plastic.  Just tie a festive ribbon on the handle and let the gift speak for itself.

▪Paper Revisited – Old travel maps or sheet music make a creative presentation.  If you’ve moved, save the packing paper to wrap a collection of gifts and add red or green twine for a simple look.

▪Don’t Toss the Box – December 26th isn’t known as Boxing Day for nothing.  Put those leftover boxes to use all year long by wrapping in gift boxes, hat boxes, lunch boxes, tool boxes… you get the idea.

▪Winter Themed Containers – Make your gifts stand out by placing them in an unexpected winter item: lanterns, ice skates, soup tureens, watering cans, or vintage bread boxes.

▪Bring the Outdoors In – Adding a touch of nature makes your gift extra green. Bamboo or banana leaves cover a small gift.  Or try a holly leaf, birch bark, or a bird feather to add a natural embellishment.

▪Tags & Accessories – Save beautiful images from cards to use as a gift tag for the next gift you give.  Punch a hole and tie a ribbon to dress up any present.  Or try plantable seed gift tags.  Don’t forget the recycled trinket or ornament to add a splash of color to your gift.

Remember – greening your holiday is not about adding more stress.  You don’t have to incorporate all of these steps today.  We’re all about baby steps to green gift giving.

So try out the one tip that resonated the most with you as you read this guide.  Give it a whirl, and see how it feels for you and how your recipient responds.

Written By: Amity Hook-Sopko, Editor-Green Child Magazine