Zero Waste Wrapping Paper Alternatives

Spread the Sustainable Gospel!

Zero Waste Wrapping Paper Alternatives | Every single year, we landfill millions of pounds of wrapping paper. I occasionally see someone carefully unwrap gifts as to not damage the paper so that it can be reused. But ultimately, most is trashed. 

And for the glittery or shiny papers, those aren’t even recyclable as they are coated with plastic.

Isn’t it always fun to spend about 20 minutes after everyone has unwrapped their holiday gifts cleaning up the waste?

We spend hours meticulously wrapping each and every gift, waste valuable money on wrapping paper, disposable gift bags, and bows, and give it to our loved ones to destroy – only to have it crumpled up inside a trash bag destined for the dump.Why do we do this to ourselves? Because it’s pretty?

There are alternatives to wrapping paper that can still be just as pretty and do the job. Besides, it isn’t about the wrapping now is it? I think the hardest part of trying a sustainable alternative is just that it isn’t “the same”. But trust me, it can still feel like a normal Christmas experience!

Zero Waste Wrapping Paper Alternatives

zero waste wrapping paper alternatives

Last Revised: 11/12/2020


Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping cloth. If you are like me, you have a cabinet full of tea towels, a bathroom full of bath towels, and a few sets of extra bed sheets.
If you have babies, let’s not forget all of those swaddles and baby blankets! Use those to wrap your gifts! The recipient still has to “unwrap” the gift – you will just get the wrapping back.
If you are wanting something a little more festive, you could purchase holiday themed cloth and a craft store and reuse it every year.
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Cloth Gift Bags

Break out that sewing machine! Folding a piece of fabric in half and sewing two sides is as about as easy as it comes.
Tie the open end with a ribbon and you have an easy, no fuss gift bag that you can use over and over. Of course, there are other ways of obtaining cloth gift bags if you do not own a sewing machine or would just rather not sew.
Pillow cases work great or use reusable grocery bags for gifts. Ribbon always makes things more festive.
I found this burlap bag to contain my son’s gifts from Santa every year. No need to wrap, just slide the gifts into the bag and done!


Use clothing to wrap your gifts. Slide the box inside of the shirt and use the sleeves to tie it up. This would be a fun way for your family members to know which gifts belong to them. If it’s their shirt, it’s their gift.

Reusable Tins

Tins are so intrinsically Christmas. Especially when they are stuffed with something delicious. These are great for homemade goodies such as cookies, candy, cakes, or just about anything you can whip up. Of course, the contents don’t have to be edible.


Newspaper/Magazine Pages

My grandmas as always and still wraps all of our gifts in the funnies from the Sunday paper. I love it so much that I do it now when I can get my hands on a paper or two. She still  used cereal boxes toaster pastry boxes, and cracker boxes to wrap gifts. We have so many Christmas videos of the kids opening the gifts screaming, “Yay – Pop Tarts!”, then realizing it’s something else. It was hilarious.

Recyclable Paper Packaging

Save paper stuffing from all of the packages you get throughout the year. It can be easily used to wrap gifts. I love the crinkled look of used brown paper. Always makes me sing, “Brown paper packaging tied up with strings!”


Don’t wrap the gifts. Simple as that!

Save yourself the money and hassle this year. Spend your time enjoying those special moments – not picking up trash.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday filled with love and happiness!

Check out my other Holiday posts!
50 Zero Waste Stocking Stuffer Ideas  101 Zero Waste Gift Ideas  Why Christmas Tree flocking is Bad for The Environment



6 thoughts on “Zero Waste Wrapping Paper Alternatives

  1. We use some fancy pillow shams, double them over and then fasten them with a sparkly ribbon. It makes wrapping so much easier and the gifts look great.

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