How to Wrap a Gift 9 Green Ways

Photo: Wolfgang H. Wögerer, Wien, Austria/wikimedia commonsWho else loves the holiday season? Gathering family, friends, and food together in your gaily decorated home is great. The cream on the cake is that it's also a time to show love by giving and (hooray!) getting presents.

Just make sure to share your love with the environment as well as your near and dear. As well as hiring a handyman for energy-efficient Christmas lighting installation, learn how to wrap a gift to look lovely yet reduce waste. Try these 9 tips to green your gift wrap.

1. It's always a good idea to start by getting your supplies organized. Dedicate a craft room or kitchen drawer for green gift wrapping and decorating materials.

2. Open traditionally wrapped presents with care; fold the paper, save, and reuse. Cover small tears or creases with a recycled-content adhesive gift tag. And of course, grab all bows and baubles for your collection as well. Smooth paper and ribbon with an iron (sans steam) if needed. What's an iron, you ask? Er ... flatten your present pretties under a stack of heavy books instead.

3. When purchasing new gift paper, the ideal is to go for 100 percent recycled, with a high proportion of post-consumer content, as certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Look for non-toxic soy-based ink, while you're at it.

4. Fabric is more durable and forgiving than paper. How to "wrap" a gift with cloth? The simplest way is purchasing premade gift bags. Or take this opportunity to use up a few of the fabric remnants some of us (ahem!) have been hoarding for the past year. Are your scraps too small to cover a present? Try your hand at patchworking -- or cut into unique, colorful, glue-on appliques.

5. Use -- and reuse -- pretty plastic or paper bags … tied with a gorgeous recyclable bow, of course. Small to medium repurposed cardboard boxes will also do the trick. Enhance their appeal with decorations which are both pretty and practical. Add excitement to a child's present, for example, with a mini chalkboard gift tag.

6. Give presents that double as packages. Think a trendy tote bag, handy tool box, glamorous jewelry case, or homey recipe file, to give just a few suggestions. Tuck a loving message or a tiny surprise inside.

7. Speaking of tiny, scale down your gifts this year -- in terms of the amount you spend as well as their physical size -- to serve two admirable purposes. Not only will you need less wrapping material, but you'll also save a chunk of change that can be donated to the worthy cause of your choice. And that's the true holiday spirit.

8. Garnish green gift packages with eco-friendly decor. If you or your kids are scavengers at heart, fill your gift supply drawer with bounty to be reused, whether from your own home or garage sales. Ideas: Vintage buttons are a treasure trove (thread onto recycled ribbon or yarn ties), as are bits and bits of costume jewelry -- lone earrings or cufflinks and inexpensive "gems" that have lost their settings. 

9. Love nature walks? Keep your eyes open for goodies like fallen bird feathers, pinecones, maple keys and other seeds, porcupine quills, or unusual pebbles to save and add. They may be cherished even more than the gift they embellish.

Laura Firszt writes for

Updated December 19, 2018.

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