Looking for an eco friendly wrapping paper? Why not replace it altogether? We explore some alternatives that will still look luscious under your tree.

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Material Wrapped Gifts

It is really encouraging to see many of the UK’s large store chains making a concerted effort to move away from glittery papers and plastic covering around rolls of wrapping paper towards more sustainable eco friendly wrapping paper.

But what if we want to go further and remove the wrapping paper altogether? We explore some alternatives to wrapping paper that will still look luscious under your tree.

These ideas will minimise single use papers and hence waste and, in many cases, double up as a bonus gift for your loved one!

Looking for more gift inspiration?  Click here for ideas galore of what to put under the tree this year.

We’ve gathered together 18 clever alternatives to traditional wrapping paper and have grouped them together for you by material.  So choose between fabric, containers, paper & card and other fun ways to present your gift this year.

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1. Furoshiki Folding

Furoshiki is a traditional folding technique originating in Japan.

Using the technique will make for some awesome looking gifts without the need for a single piece of sellotape! Cut old bedsheets, tablecloths or even shirts to size to make use of fabric you already have.

Alternatively, why not wrap one gift with another and add a new scarf, handkerchief or tea towel to your main present?

The tutorial below from Wrapuccino shows you how – follow them on YouTube for lots more great Furoshiki tutorials!

2. Tartan Designs

We also love this idea for any old festive materials you have around.

Fix the wrapping in place with a complementary bow secured with elastic.

Tartan Gift Wrap with tartan bows

3. Sweater Sleeve Pouches

This gorgeous pouch has been created from a cable knit jumper sleeve, sewn up at one end. Finish with a beautiful ribbon and natural festive icon to create a really striking gift.

Get the tutorial from A Homemade Living here.

Christmas Sweater Treat Bag - alternative way to wrap your gifts


4. Christmas Canisters

Reuse your old tins and canisters to deliver your gifts.

We think you could simply remove the label on the canister and add a festive ribbon to the shiny container.

But, if you have some odds and ends of wrapping paper or any other paper around, you could wrap them first (like the ones from Crafty Nest below).

Either way, these make fabulous reusable gift containers.

Reusable Gift Containers

5. Pringle Containers

Similar to the above, Pringles tubes and other similar shaped containers can make great Christmas gift holders. What about stacking homemade cookies inside for a loved one?

Get the tuturial from Sew Many Ways here.

Recycled Pringles Containers

6. Container As Part Of The Gift

What about if you have a container as part of your gift? Why not use that as the ‘wrapping’?

Fill a cake tin with items for the kitchen including the utensils and dry ingredients needed for a cake.

Or, stuff slippers with lovely spa goodies to make a fabulous pampering gift (just like the one below from Laura’s Crafty Life).

Perfect Pedicure Gift Basket

Paper & Card

7. Brown / Kraft Paper

The most eco friendly wrapping paper available in the stores. Check out our list of creative ways to use brown (or kraft) paper to wrap your gifts this Christmas.

Christmas Brown Paper Gift Wrap Ideas

8. Music Sheets

Old sheet music can look really elegant when dressed up with a little festive twine and greenery (like those below from Maison de Pax).

It makes a great alternative to traditional wrapping paper.

Music Score Sheet Wrapping Paper Idea

9. Paper Store Bags

The festive paper bags used by shops in the run up to Christmas make absolutely brilliant wrapping paper.

Take advantage of the ready made folds to give you great gift protection and finish with a festive flourish here and there!  More information at A Creative Mint.

Shopping Bag wrapping

10. Old Maps

Vintage maps are another excellent gift covering as demonstrated by Ms Rachel Hollis.

With Sat Navs slowly making paper maps obsolete, are you one of the many households with redundant maps lurking in the cupboard?

Bonus points if you can find a map of a location relevant to the recipient.

Vintage Map Wrapping Paper

11. Newspaper

Newspaper can look beautiful when decorated with ribbons and foliage.  Perhaps even try to track down the paper from a special date, or save the paper from your lucky recipient’s birthday during the year.

And if you’re looking for a purpose made fully recyclable newspaper, we can highly recommend Read Wrap Recycle‘s unique newspaper wrapping paper.  One side is a fabulously fun edition of news from the North Pole, complete with jokes and puzzles, and the other side is fabulous patterns ready to wrap your gifts.  

Read Wrap Recycle Christmas Newspaper Wrapping Paper
Read Wrap Recycle Christmas Newspaper Wrapping Paper

12. Book or Magazine Pages

What about finding a second hand copy of your loved one’s favourite novel and using the pages to make gift wrap?

Or, how about covering kitchen gifts in recipes from a cooking magazine destined for the rubbish?

The possibilities to repurpose old literature as personalised and eco friendly wrapping paper for your gifts are truly endless!

Book page Wrapping Paper

Other Alternative Gift Wrap Ideas

13. Crisp Packets

Such a simple idea from EcoCult for smaller gifts, but an inside-out (clean!) crisp packet makes a fabulously shiny festive wrapping alternative.

Potato Chip Wrapping

More Ideas?

Looking for more gift inspiration to spoil your family and friends?  We’ve got gift guides, homemade gifting ideas & wrapping tips galore!

14. Baskets

Why not show off your gifts and simply present them arranged beautifully in a basket?

Use shredded paper as a base on which to lay out the treats!

Your loved one can then enjoy using or regifting the basket afterwards. We love this fabulous night-in crate by Pretty Providence.

Night In Gift Basket

15. Tiny Parcels

We can’t resist including this gorgeous idea for jewellery and other tiny gifts.

Use a hollowed out walnut and add a little festive sparkle to the inside. Add your gift and hold it shut with a ribbon.

A perfect idea for … dare we say it … a ring wink

Walnut Wrap

16. Lego Box

Should you happen to have spare LEGO around at home and a family member in need of an activity, why not follow Cool Mum Picks’ example and put them to work?

There is no denying that this is a time-consuming gift container design. However, to really showcase a main gift and as a way of passing along second-hand LEGO to a new owner, it could be just the ticket!

LEGO Gift Box

17. Tote Bag

Present your gifts in a lovely reusable tote bag and give your loved one a bonus gift!

Bunch it together at the top with ribbon or hang it up like a stocking by the fireplace on Christmas Day.

You could even get the tote bag personalised for an extra thoughtful touch.  

Personalised Tote Bags

last but not least…

18. Don’t Wrap!

And of course, you could choose not to wrap the gifts at all. Why not create a treasure hunt activity and hide the gifts at the end of a trail to make a festive game instead?

We do hope you’ve found our list of eco friendly wrapping paper alternatives helpful? Let us know of any other ideas you’ve used or come across in the comments below.

Looking for inspiration for homemade gifts, click here for our ideas.

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And be sure to tag #jollyfestive in your photos.  We can’t wait to see what festive treats you are planning to gift this year!

More Gift Ideas