A Green Christmas: 3 Inexpensive and Eco-friendly Wrapping Tips

December 17, 2015

You have a room like this in your house, too, right? Wrong. Follow these tips to make your holiday wrapping quick and simple even without a dedicated storage and work area.

We’re in the single digits of the countdown to Christmas. You might be feeling good about having all your gifts bought, cookies baked, and tree lit and decorated. But as you collapse onto the sofa after a long day of merriment, you may suddenly realize one glaring item not checked off your list: wrapping. The gifts you thought about and (literally) fought for on Black Friday are surely beautiful, but nestling them inside a gorgeous package is will make them even more memorable for your loved ones. Presentation is everything, right? But what’s a peaceful dumpling to do when she doesn’t have a wrapping room, a la Martha Stewart, and the prospect of tackling tangled rolls of ribbon and paper is worse than facing off Black Friday crowds? Consider these green tips for simplifying your wrapping routine in a way that your budget won’t regret come January 1, and for which the planet will thank you.

1. Gift bags: They may seem like a wrapping cop-out, but a cute gift bag is the ultimate package for gifts. It accommodates awkwardly-sized or shaped items and is relatively easy to transport. Whether you use one with a design on it already, or a plain/solid color that you can embellish yourself, the gift bag can last through many years of gifting. As long as it doesn’t get damaged–from travel or an enthusiastic recipient–you can regift in it (no regifting though; that’s just tacky) until it shows its age. (This goes without saying, but you should of course save any of the gift bags YOU receive!) The same goes for tissue paper; even folded or slightly torn paper can be crinkled up as filler for other gifts, or used for creative projects like illuminated candle mason jars, snow confetti, or paper snowflakes.

2. Mason jars/other containers: Giving a DIY food or craft gift in a mason jar is like giving two gifts in one, for the recipient can clean out the jar and use it however he or she desires once the gift is consumed. I love using Mason jars for loose tea, snacks like these delicious granola-crusted nuts, or pre-measured baking ingredients. Mason jars come in all sorts of sizes and shapes and fit into any kitchen cabinet’s decor, so you can’t go wrong. To dress up the jar, tie some festive ribbon or twine around the neck, slip a piece of fabric through the lid, or personalize it with a custom stamped tag, so your recipient knows whose love went into your gift.

A Green Christmas: 3 Inexpensive and Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Tips

3. Pick a theme: It’s tempting when you walk into Papyrus or Paper Source to buy all the fancy, glittery, metallic paper you see and go to town. But remember that your wrapping paper will ultimately be thrown out, and the likelihood of your still loving the same pattern next year is slim; not to mention that you’ll literally be throwing your hard-earned money in the garbage. Since not everything can be bagged or jarred, wrap your packages as simply as possible and with a classic theme that you won’t get bored of. I prefer buying plain brown recycled Kraft paper (think of your elementary school textbook covers), which costs a fraction of traditional wrapping paper and is easily personalized. Stamps, decorative tape, ribbons and bows can add the flair you need, and working within a single color palette will keep your gifts looking unified and distinguishable under the tree.


Beautifully wrapped gifts with a few classic supplies.

What are you favorite wrapping tips and techniques?

Also by Jennifer: Yoga to Survive the Holidays – Poses for Self-Love

5 Reasons to Be Thankful Wherever You Are

Photos: homedesign.marthastewart.com; Jennifer Kurdyla

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Features Editor Jennifer Kurdyla is a New York City girl with Jersey roots and a propensity for getting lost in the urban jungle. An experienced publishing professional, yoga instructor, home chef, sometimes-runner, and writer, she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle in 2008 and became vegan in 2013. She has written for The Harvard Review Online, The Rumpus, and Music & Literature and maintains a wellness-based website, Be Nourished, which features original writing and recipes. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram @jenniferkurdyla, Twitter @jenniferkurdyla, and Pinterest.


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