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Simply Having an Eco-Friendly Christmas-Time

Christmas and zero waste, eco friendly packaging. Woman is wrapping gifts in craft paper on a wooden table, ecological Christmas holiday concept, eco decor

Why Sustainable/Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping?

Our carbon footprint increases substantially every holiday season. Millions of presents no one wanted, like that ugly Christmas gnome your grandma gets you, end up in landfills each year. Everybody is driving all over the country, increasing CO2 emissions. 

But one of the biggest wastes, and easiest fixes, is gift wrap. 

And have we got a list for you! 

One of the easiest ways to make a difference this holiday season is to use these gift wrapping techniques to have a more mindfully eco-friendly Christmas, Chanukah, etc. 

Step 1: Use What You Already Have 

When it comes to sustainability, zero waste living, etc. the most important consideration is to first use up the things you already have. 

If you have bins and bins of Christmas wrapping paper, use those first! Throwing them away is way worse than just using them up before you transition to more eco-friendly options. 

There’s not much better than the Christmas Dinosaur wrapping paper my grandma bought ten rolls of once that we still receive and have been for the last five years. 

So use that up first and then come back to see what you can do next!

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

A very traditional, old-fashioned way to wrap is using brown paper. 

So traditional it’s in the Sound of Music! 

And it’s traditional for a reason! There are so many ways to make it beautiful and classic while still maintaining a classy, elegant Christmas look. 

To be even more sustainable, you can reuse some paper grocery bags, turning them inside out to hide the brand and then you don’t even have to buy anything new!

We’re going to show you some of our favorite looks we’ve seen this season and show you how to attain them yourself, too. 


Hands-down our favorite part of this look is the dried botanicals aspect. 

Largely because you get to tailor it to the person you’re gifting to, adding botanicals to your gift is such a pretty, timeless approach to Christmas gifts. 

Our favorites include the dried oranges, cinnamon sticks, dried lavender, pine cone, and cedar tip looks but you can add whatever you like!! 

One method could also be going to your local farmer’s market right before Christmas to get some fresh flowers to include as well. 

If you want to save on adding these to your gift wrapping this season, feel free to check out our botanicals page to see what you could add. The possibilities are nearly endless! 

Photo from Planted in the Woods on Instagram
Photo from Native + Sol
Photo from Ann Beth Designs on Etsy

Strings and Twines

Obviously the first step is to use whichever string you have lying around first. 

Then, you get to have a bit more fun with it. 

You can use any strings, as they’re better for the environment than plastic ribbons and plastic curling ribbon and everything of that sort. 

For Christmas, if you celebrate, we enjoy the candy cane stripe ribbon. Twine is a great choice because it’s eco-friendly and can be dressed up. You can even use leftover brown paper to make strings out of to tie with! 

Wax Seals

If you’re one of our candle-making, wax melt-making customers, this one’s for you! 

If you have leftover wax, dyed, fragranced, etc. a great way to use it and not throw it away is to make wax seals! 

They look awesome on gifts, cards, tags, etc. and it’s the perfect reduse, reuse, recycle, while still maintaining a classy, elegant look! 

Our version looks like this; we used it to finish off our influencer media kits this winter! 

Gift Tags

Paper Gift Tags

Okay, so the sticker ones kids get are cute. But stickers can’t be recycled. 

So, we’re inviting you to awaken your own creativity this season and draw your own on recycled paper, scrapbooking paper, or both. 

You could use old scrapbooking paper (we all have it because the craft kind of got less popular but we have so much of the paper) and put a piece of white or similar on top so that it’s still festive. 

Use some of that old wrapping paper!

However you choose, remember to recycle it after! 

Photo from Inspired by This

No Gift Tags!

One idea we had almost immediately after deciding to try and make this Christmas sustainable was draw-on gift tags! 

We already thought of wrapping with paper and stamping on that paper but what about just writing on that paper?? 

Here’s the thing, totally not recommending that our friends with Doctor’s note, chicken scratch level penmanship just use their illegible handwriting here. 

But if you have nice, cursive, calligraphic penmanship and want to show it off, here’s an excuse. Draw on your Christmas gift tags like we did here and your family can enjoy knowing you put in a little extra effort just for them! 




Drawing on the Paper

We also thought, while you’re at it, why not draw on the paper a bit? 

If you have basic drawing skills (as you can see, I barely have those) you can really personalize the look for the wrapping!

I tried to do some calligraphy and some pine needles and got that part down but the leaves are not the best. You could always draw on the paper before you wrap to try and create a pattern that you like and won’t feel embarrassed to give to a friend or grandparent. 

Then, you can combine the look of drawing with the “no gift tag” gift tag. 

You can add some shading, some color, make it your own! 

We think it looks really cool. 

After you draw on it, you can then add on your twine or ribbon, your botanicals, wax seals, etc.! 

Fabric Gift Wrapping

Furoshiki Method

This type of gift wrapping is quite common in the East but rarely seen over here in the States. 

If you need help tying it there are SO many tutorials online.

What does it work for?

It’s perfect for:

1. You buy someone a scarf as one of their presents. You can then use it to wrap one or more of the other presents without having to waste wrapping paper.

2. You have extra fabric (i.e. old pillowcases, sheets, cloth napkins, etc) that you were simply going to throw away. Instead you can put it to use as a gift wrap and give the person you’re gifting to their own sustainable gift wrap, too! 

3. You have old Christmas pajamas or holiday themed items like that you could repurpose!

4. You’re at your local thrift store and you see fabric you can’t live without but have no idea what you would use it for. Here’s a solution!

5. You have a friend you want to prank by sending the same item back and forth. 

My mom and her best friend send the same pajama pants back and forth. Use them as wrapping paper/gift wrap! 

6. You have an item that’s really oddly shaped and you don’t have any idea how in the world you’re going to wrap it. Just wrap it in fabric!

Photo of Furoshiki Method from Zoe Report

Let us know if you make this craft or any others from our blog!

Looking for the best crafting supplies? Check out our website for the best rustic, boho, or botanical supplies for your crafting and so, so much more.

Bulk Apothecary makes no claims of “expert status” and the company will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the use of the information found on this website.

As with all products, users should test a small amount prior to normal extended use. If pregnant or suffering from illness, consult a doctor before use. 

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