handmade gift wrap

Every year the holiday season generates an incredible amount of garbage, much of it in the form of wrapping paper that is purchased, used once, and then ripped into shreds and tossed in the trash. Reduce your holiday footprint by refusing to buy wrapping paper – try these creative ideas instead.

  • The Funnies: Use the comics section of the Sunday newspaper to wrap children’s gifts. The kids will love the colorful pictures and jokes… if they even notice the wrapping before tearing into the package.

  • Newspaper: Other sections of the newspaper can be used not only to wrap gifts but also to hint at the present inside. Use the travel section to wrap your jet-setting friend’s new atlas, the style section for a necklace or the automotive section for car seat covers. Top with a bright red bow, which will make the black and white newsprint really pop!

  • Wax Paper: Parchment paper from your kitchen makes for cool, opaque wrapping paper. Take it up a notch by using two pieces of wax paper with something pretty inside: colorful leaves, crayon shavings or red and green candy wrappers. Use an iron on low heat to melt the two sheets of wax paper together for a neat and unique design.

  • Collage: Sort through that giant stack of old magazines sitting around your house and rip out any pages that appeal to you, or go for a theme for each gift recipient (beauty magazines for sis, travel magazines for mom, car magazines for dad). Create a collage to cover each gift that will match each person’s style and taste.

  • Stamped Bags: Brown grocery store bags are perfect for wrapping gifts, especially since the rustic-chic look is so in style this year. Personalize your brown bags with a potato stamp: slice a potato in half, then cut a simple design into each side such as a star, cross or evergreen tree. Dip the potato half into acrylic paint and create original stamped designs on every gift.

  • Part of the Gift: Let your present’s wrapping paper be part of the gift. Any textile will work well; use bandannas, cup towels, tablecloths or even tee shirts to wrap around your gift as an added bonus.

  • Repurposed Material: Many people keep a box of household goods, clothes and other items for donation to charity throughout the year. Search through yours to see if you can turn those old curtains, sheets or dresses into new wrapping paper. That ugly shawl might make for beautiful gifts under the tree!

  • Photo books: Find old picture books laying around your house or search through a discount bookstore’s “free” bin to find pretty pages that can be wrapped around a gift. Nature and travel books work particularly well; pick a general theme for all your gifts or select pictures that suit each individual present.
  • None! Get uber eco with it, and don’t wrap your present at all! Instead, leave a note in an envelope that gives a clue where the gift is hidden – the seek-and-find adds more fun and suspense to the experience. Or go all out and create a scavenger hunt with multiple notes and clues that finally leads the recipient to the gift at the end!

image: erika g.