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!


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?

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.

Sweet Paul Mag Tartan Gift Wrap
Image Credit: Sweet Paul Mag

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.

A Homemade Living Christmas Treat Bag
Image Credit: A Homemade Living


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. Either way, these make fabulous reusable gift containers. (Just be sure to clean the canisters thoroughly before you start!)

Crafty Nest Reusable Gift Containers
Image Credit: Crafty Nest

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.

Sew Many Ways Recycled Containers
Image Credit: Sew Many Ways

6. Gifted Container

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.

Lauras Crafty Life Perfect Pedicure Gift Basket
Image Credit: Laura’s Crafty Life

Paper and Card

7. Brown 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. It makes a great alternative to traditional wrapping paper.

MaisondePax Music Score Wrapping
Image Credit: Maison de Pax

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!

A Creative Mint Shopping Bag wrapping
Image Credit: A Creative Mint

10. Old Maps

Vintage maps are another excellent gift covering. With Sat Navs slowly turning paper maps redundant, households have a lot of redundant maps lurking in cupboards so go on a map hunt! Bonus points if you can find a map of a location relevant to the recipient.

Ms Rachel Hollis Vintage Map Wrapping Paper
Image Credit: Ms Rachel Hollis

11. 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
Source unknown

Other Options

12. Crisp packets

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

EcoCult Potato Chip Wrapping
Image Credit: EcoCult

13. 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!

Pretty Providence Night In Gift Basket
Image Credit: Pretty Providence

14. 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 😉

Es La Moda Walnut Wrap
Image Credit: Es La Moda

15. Lego box

Should you happen to have spare LEGO around at home and a family member in need of an activity, why not 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!

Cool Mum Picks LEGO Gift Box
Image Credit: Cool Mum Picks

16. 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.

Don’t Wrap!

Last but not least, you could of course not 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.