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Christmas Gift Wrapping without the Waste - 10 Inspiring Ideas!

Christmas Gift Wrapping without the Waste - 10 Inspiring Ideas!

Each year Australians use approximately 150,000km of wrapping paper - that's enough to wrap around the Earth's equator nearly 4 times (National Storage). Whaaaat!! Here's 10 ideas to inspire waste-free wrapping this Christmas.

One of the joys of Christmas is wrapping time!

Or is it just me who loves wrapping?? It’s probably a personal thing… 

Either way, this year we're here to help you wrap with Mother Nature in mind and enjoy a waste-free Christmas.

Store-bought wrapping paper often comes wrapped in plastic, plus it can be hard to know whether the paper you buy is recyclable or not. If it has a shiny coating it often can’t be.

Each year Australians use approximately 150,000km of wrapping paper - this is enough to wrap around the Earth's equator nearly 4 times (National Storage). Whaaaat!!

And it's not like that wrapping paper is reused...

So, here are ten alternatives to wrapping paper to help you enjoy Christmas this year without the waste (and the cleaning up that goes with it). 

1. Boxes

If you do a fair bit of online ordering, you probably have some boxes lying around the home. Or, you could search on Facebook marketplace or Gumtree…tons of people are giving away boxes.

Boxes are a great idea as they come in all shapes and sizes, and you can simply pop the present straight in.

If you want to decorate the box to make it look a bit more Christmassy then decorate away!  

You’ll still be left with the boxes to clean up after, but at least they will be recyclable/or you can reuse them again next year.

Christmas wrapping without the waste - boxes

2. Pillowcases

Pillowcases are a 100% zero-waste Christmas wrapping option.

If you want to keep the Christmas theme you could find some green and red pillowcases, or other Christmassy fabric. Check out your local op shop as a place to start.

Or, if you’re happy with any colours then you could just use what you have. There's no waste involved here at all, you can simply reuse them over and over again. 

Plus, pillowcases make wrapping so much easier and faster (i.e. no wrapping invoved)!

3. Recyclable and recycled brown Kraft paper & paper twine

If you’ve got your heart set on wrapping with paper, then opt for Kraft brown paper which is 100% recyclable. Use it with recyclable brown tape or washi tape and then you can decorate it to make it look ‘prettier’. You can find large roles of these at Officeworks.

Trust me, when children are involved, all they want to do is find out what’s inside. They don’t care bout the wrapping!

If you can salvage some of the paper afterwards then you can reuse next year. Or cut it up and pop in in your compost bin.

10 ways to wrap Christmas presents without the waste

4. Fabric wrap/Furoshiki

Fabric wrap is an excellent alternative to wrapping paper because it can be reused for years to come. Plus, there are some gorgeous fabric wraps to choose from.

We're so excited to be stocking Christmas themed fabric wraps this year. They're handmade in Adelaide - you can check them out here.

Furoshiki wraps are traditional Japanese wrapping cloths. You can find some beautifully designed ones online, or you could head to your local spotlight/op shop and find some cuttings and make some yourself (if you've got a sewing thumb...unlike

Using fabric to wrap christmas presents

5. Tea towels

Similar to the fabric wrap, tea towels are a great sustainable Christmas gift wrapping option. And one you can use over and over again. You could either use what you already have, or you could try to find some Christmas themed tea towels and wrap the smaller pressies in these.

Head to your local op shop to see what bargains you can pick up. Make a day of it with the kids, and see what other Christmas inspired fabrics you can find.

Tea Towels as a christmas wrap alternative

6. Fabric gift bags

Fabric gift bags are becoming more popular in the world of sustainable gift wrapping options. 

You can find them online, or if you can sew you could try making some yourself. Fabric gift bags are a great option as they’re simple, easy, and reusable. 

I’ve even found some fabric gift bags at home that I’ve received gifts in over the years that I’ve kept stored away (I knew one day I would find a purpose for them)! And they're perfect for all those small stocking stuffers.

Gift bags and 10 other alternatives to wrapping paper

7. Newspaper

If you have any old newspapers lying around at home, upcycling them into wrapping paper is a great idea!

And, decorate decorate, decorate…to give your pressie the 'Christmas feel' (you'll find sustainable decoration ideas further down).

Use recyclable brown paper tape or washi tape, so once the presents are all opened, you can pop all the leftovers straight into the recycle bin. 

Wrapping gifts in paper

8. Kids paintings

If you are anything like us, you have a cupboard full of kid’s paintings stored away that are kind of just taking up cupboard space. 

Suggest to the kids that they would look beautiful as gift wrap.

Again – make sure you use washi tape or brown recyclable tape and you'll have a 100% recyclable gift wrap. 

Repurposing kid's paintings as wrapping paper

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

9. Scarves or Clothes

Using what you already have at home is not only a great waste-free wrapping option, it also costs you zero dollars!

You could use scarves, shirts, jumpers, or basically any item of clothing you wish.

Or, if you can't find anything at home and you don't mind spending a few dollars you could head to your local op shop to search for options there. You might even be lucky enough to find some Christmas coloured items.

The best part about using scarves and clothes for wrapping presents is that there's no mess to deal with afterwards, no waste, and you can reuse them next year. 

10 waste-free wrapping paper alternatives

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash 10. Bags

10. Bags

Tote bags, canvas bags, bags that you’ve received gifts in yourself. These are a perfect idea for gift wrapping because #1 - they’re easy, #2 - bags come in all different shapes and sizes, and #3 - all you have to do is pop the present inside! So simple.

Have a look around at home. I bet you have a handful of bags lying around the place. We even have small bags that our sheet sets have come in – and they're now used for gifts.

Sometimes you just have to think outside the box!

Bags as an alternative to wrapping paper

Photo by Annisa Ica on Unsplash

11. Decorating

Ok I know I said ten alternatives to gift wrap, but let's not forget about the gift wrap decorations. 

Here, your only limitation is your imagination. But, remember you’re doing it waste-free, so think of items that can be recycled or composted. 

1. Dried oranges – tied with some jute string

2. Dried flowers

3. Twigs/sticks/leaves

4. Organic unbleached twine

5. Fabric strips

6. Dried herbs/seeds

7. Colouring in/artistic work

Christmas Gift Wrapping without the Waste
Paper gift wrap with cinnamon and Christmas tree twigs

Christmas Wrapping without the waste


When it comes to wrapping Christmas Gifts without the waste, it's about thinking outside the box, and remember - it doesn't have to be perfect, the kids don't care!

What's great about deciding on a waste-free Christmas, is that you're setting your children up for having their own sustainable Christmases in the future.

We hope we’ve inspired you and by no means is this list exhaustive.  If you have your own ideas, we'd love to hear them. Pop them in the comments below.