Sustainable Gift Wrapping Ideas To Try This Christmas
Is it possible to have a sustainable festive season? Christmas means Christmas gifts, which means gift wrapping but it doesn't have to mean waste.
These sustainable gift wrapping ideas will help you to present your presents in a unique way that will not hurt the planet.
Tue 12 Nov 2019
Christmas should not just be about the gifts but they are part and (literally) parcel of the season. Wrapping them up for friends and family is all part of the festive process. Unfortunately, once you have parcelled up your socks, scarves and salt shakers with standard wrapping paper, tape and ribbon, your packages will be a single-use plastic nightmare before Christmas.
These sustainable gift-wrapping solutions will keep the tradition alive, but ensure it is eco friendly. Done sustainably, Christmas gift wrapping is more creative, more fun and easier on the earth. That’s a wrap.
Why Is Sellotape Unsustainable?
Sellotape isn’t recyclable. This makes it a huge culprit when it comes to gift-wrapping related plastic waste.
Because it cannot be recycled, every shred of tape must be fully removed from discarded wrapping paper. If it isn’t, your recyclable paper could be removed from recycling collections altogether, totally cancelling out your eco efforts.
Why Is Standard Wrapping Paper Bad For The Environment?
Most wrapping ‘paper’ found in high street shops and supermarkets contains plastic. This makes it largely non-recyclable. Many rolls of wrapping paper that look earthy and eco are equally guilty of contributing to plastic pollution. So, beware! It isn’t only the glossy shiny types that are non-recyclable.
It’s easy to avoid all this hassle. Tape and store-bought paper can be negated saving you money and your presents will just look prettier in our opinion.
1. DIY Newspaper Christmas cards
Don’t forget to include the Christmas card in your environmentally friendly gift-giving routine. It’s (technically) the part that gets opened first after all. This one is so simple.
You will need:
- An old newspaper
- Some Kraft card
- Needle and thread
Step 1: The first step is to dredge your discarded newspaper out of the recycling. Dust it off, cut three differently sized triangles out if it and fold each one in half.
Step 2: Cut a card shape out of your piece of Kraft card and fold this in half as well.
Step 3: Lay your mini triangles onto your card with the tips slightly overlapping the bases of the ones above. Hey, it’s a Christmas tree.
Step 4: Thread your needle and tack your triangles into place with a few stitches. Once you are happy with the effect, sew a straight line through their centres.
Get as crafty as you like, and try out different shapes and effects.
2. Christmas Newspaper Wrapping
Nope, it’s still not time to ditch that old newspaper. Having wrapping paper that matches your card looks pretty professional, and it’s a great opportunity to keep upcycling.
This is even more self explanatory than the cards.
You will need:
- An old(er) newspaper
Step 1: Here comes the complex part. Wrap your present in your newspaper and tie it up with your twine. Did you get all that?
Step 2: Newspaper presents look chic and minimal and each one stops yet another sheet of wrapping paper going to landfill.
Step 3: Once you’ve wrapped up your gift, you could add a little festive flourish. Try a few sprigs of rosemary, holly or eucalyptus. If you really want to go all out, why not use some of these dried orange pieces, or a garland from your other ethical Christmas crafting sessions?
3. Printed Wrapping Paper
This is a slightly more creative way to save on plastic when you do you’re gift wrapping. If you have any brown parcel paper lying around- great. If not, you can buy a roll of recycled paper.
You will need:
- Recycled parcel paper
- Some small potatoes
- Paint or, ideally, vegetable ink
- A small dish or plate
- A small knife
- A pen or pencil
- A small towel
- Some Rosemary sprigs or foraged leaves and berries
Step 1: If you really want to make your gifts special, then you can use different, personalised shapes for everyone on your list. Or, you can stick to something much more simple. It’ll save time and be equally sustainable.
We have some great ideas on our Ethical Christmas board.
Step 2: Now it’s carving time. Take your knife and slice your potato in half.
Step 3: Try to soak up as much of the liquid from the potato as you can with your towel. Then, etch your design onto it, using your pen or pencil. Creativity is encouraged, but bear in mind that simple, geometric shapes are easiest to carve.
Step 4: Take a knife and carefully cut away the negative space around your shape. Remember that when you come to stamp your paper, you only want the part of the potato baring your design to touch the paper.
Step 5: Soak up any excess water that has come out due to your carving and lay out your paper.
Step 6: Pour some of your paint or vegetable ink into your dish and dip your stamp into it. Do a couple of practise prints first, to make sure that you have the right amount of ink on your spud.
Step 7: Now, simply start stamping! Create your own pattern, and leave roughly the same amount of space between each mark.
Step 8: Leave the paper to dry for a good 20 minutes before you wrap your present with it.
Step 9: Again, avoid the sticky tape. Tie up your present with string and add some foraged sprigs and berries if you like.
4. How To Fabric Wrap Your Gifts
This lovely Japanese tradition is a great way to avoid the paper all together. It is called Furoshiki and is a considered a real art in Japan.
There are all sorts of levels, and if you really want to dive in, then give some of these knots and techniques a go!
Here is the basic technique. It will get you started, and will still make your presents look beautifully presented.
Happily, the only equipment you need for this gift wrapping method is one square section of fabric per present. It’s the perfect opportunity to use up any scraps you have. Think old tablecloths, curtains or scarves.
Step 1: First place the gift you want to wrap in the centre of the fabric, and bring the sides up around it to map out whether you have enough or too much.
Step 2: Once you’ve matched a piece of material to a present, place the gift in the centre of the fabric.
Take the two opposite corners of the wrap, and tie them over the top of the present. Then, take the other two corners and tie them together above the first knot.
You’re done! You can add sprigs or berries to it too of course.
To make this method even more sustainable, you could put a little note inside the parcel, telling the receiver about Furoshiki, and encouraging them to re-use the material for someone else next year.