How to Take an Eco-Friendly Approach to Gift Wrapping This Year

What Does It Mean to Be Eco-Friendly?

Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution. So as you can see, Christmas is basically the exact opposite of eco-friendly. So let's talk about some ways to make your Christmas gifts a little more eco-friendly. But before we can give specific examples, let's explain what types of products qualify as eco-friendly.

Making a truly eco-friendly product keeps both environmental and human safety in mind. At a minimum, the product is non-toxic. Other eco-friendly attributes include the use of sustainably grown or raised ingredients, produced in ways that do not deplete the ecosystem. Organic ingredients or materials are grown without toxic pesticides or herbicides. Products with "made from recycled materials" contain glass, wood, metal or plastic reclaimed from waste products and made into something new. Biodegradable products break down through natural decomposition, which is less taxing on landfills and the ecosystem as a whole. Now that we armed with definitions and defining traits, let’s talk about saving our environment one gift at a time. 

Why Does It Matter?

Did you know that half the paper consumed in the U.S. every year is for wrapping and decorating items? Between the wrapping paper and Christmas trees, Christmas the most environmentally harmful holiday on the planet. So if you care about the environment, this is kind of a big deal.

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideals

Applying what we learned above, the best way to wrap Christmas gifts is to follow the recycling mantra, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. Here are a few ideas to consider when you are wrapping gifts this year.

Use What You Already Have:

Don't buy gift wrap supplies unless you have to. Find inspiration from things lying around your house—shopping bags, newspaper ads, and the like. Once you start looking at the material as potential gift wrapping aids, the possibilities are limitless.

Reuse as Much as Possible:

If your recycling bin overflows, you have plenty of wrapping paper and containers.

Buy Sensibly:

If you do need to buy wrapping material, look for paper and bags that can be reused and recycled.

Less Is More:

When you use unconventional materials for gift wrap, it's easy to get carried away and think you need to make up for your approach by overly decorating the wrapped gift. Just keep wrapped gifts simple. A little bow, a picture, or hand-written message on a brown box goes a long way, and it looks classy without looking like you tried too hard.

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Examples


Cloth is great to wrap oddly-shaped gifts. This technique has been around for centuries and is still really popular in Japan. Below is a helpful guide in how to wrap with a cloth.

fabric gift wrap

Furoshiki—the Japanese art of fabric gift wrapping.

Brown Bags

Brown bags are super versatile. They wrap your lunch, carry your groceries, make great costumes, and now they can wrap your Christmas gifts. Just because it is simple, does not mean it’s not classy.

Brown bags for gift wrap

Brown Paper from Cut-Up Brown Bags:

If your gift won't fit in a standard brown paper bag, consider cutting up a brown paper to wrap your gift with. This makes a classy and durable wrapping for any gift. 

Brown paper packages tied up with string

Plain Paper with Tape Embellishments:

White paper does not have to be boring. Coloring, taping, or drawing can make for an extremely fun and festive wrapping. Yet another use for duct tape. 

Duct tape and paper

Children's Art Work:

Kids love to draw, and parents love to wrap gifts. A combination made to last. Children's artwork makes for great wrapping due to its individuality and personalization. 

use children's artwork as wrapping paper

Bottles with a Handmade Label: 

It's easy to transform bottles and tins into special gift packaging with a custom handmade label. All you need is a little white paper and some creativity.


Newspaper, believe it or not, makes for an extremely classy and timeless looking gift. And if you want a little more fun on the gift, just use the comics section.

Use newspaper as gift wrap


As you can see, there is plenty of fun and eco-friendly ways to wrap your Christmas gifts this year. So instead of going out and buying new wrapping paper, and killing more trees, look around your home first and try to reuse something that you already have. 

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Tyler Farr

Tyler is an energetic nature enthusiast who is currently considering moving into a tiny house. Tyler and his wife enjoy hiking, mountain biking, camping, and doing anything in the great outdoors. He hopes that the articles he writes will help others learn how important it is to take care of the environment.

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