The Twelve Days of Craftsmas: Green Gift Wrap

December 23, 2008

Christmas is coming, and it’s time to wrap the gifts! Wrap Small this year with one of these greener-than-standard-gift-wrap options.

Grocery sacks (a.k.a. kraft paper). Have yourself a very Martha Christmas! Turn your grocery tote inside out for a clean look, or take advantage of the patterns on the outside to create a signature gift. Not reusable, but recyclable. In lieu of taping corners, why not stitch them, à la Wild Olive?


Newspaper. You gotta love the prezzies that come clad in this week’s dailies. You can’t use it twice, but it beats recycling après read. For a fresh twist on an old standard, take a tip from Danny Seo: use newspapers to wrap a bottle of wine. Secure with a ribbon around the bottleneck, and then cut the top portion into strips and curl with scissors, as you would a ribbon. Fancy pants!


Gift bags. Who doesn’t reuse a gift bag over and over and over and over and over…? My mother is the poster-woman for reusing those things. I’ve been getting Xmas yummies in the same gifts bags for, like, fifteen years. We speak of them in (ir)reverent shorthand: The “Shorts” Tree. The Music Shoppe. Napoleon Santa. And to this day, they incite in me veritable paroxysms when I see them arrayed in all of their glorious bounty. Ooh!

While you’re already baggin’ it, why not pump up the volume? Make your own gift bag out of newspaper (shout-out to CRAFT Mag for this idea). Head. Spinning. So. Eco. Friendly.


Decorative tins. Thrift store time! Secondhand shacks abound with tossed-out cookie tins, tea tins, candle tins, whatchamawhosiewhatsit tins. And these tins are infinitely reusable as gift boxes. Clean ’em up (and embellish as below, if you’d like), pack yer stuff, and give, give, give!


Papercraft Gift Card Box. Like the gift bag, this little bit has a long life. Slip in a gift card now. Your recipient can use it to store all kinds of objects later — things like buttons and bubblegum cigs and pieces of string.


Fabric. Use up remnants, or make a gift out of the wrapping, too. Gifting a quilter? Wrap the present in a fat quarter or two. Presenting a sheet set or duvet? Bundle it in a pillowcase. Offering a pair of mittens? Swaddle them in a matching scarf. Chez Living Small, we’re fabric wrappers almost exclusively. (Easy, because my fabric stash doesn’t seem to deplete. I think I’m lazy.) All you need is a swatch big enough to cover your gift and some yarn or ribbon. It’s tricksy at times — no slick creases, no sticky tape — but it beats having to toss crumpled gift-shells, even if you’re recycling. (I Spy Smallers! Is that faux bois fabric familiar?)

And what about pages from a desk calendar? Or tinfoil? How do you wrap it up?

Tins via Design*Sponge; Fabric-wrapped gifts via me.


8 Responses to “The Twelve Days of Craftsmas: Green Gift Wrap”

  1. Michelle said

    We’re mostly kraft and newspaper wrappers around here. My MIL wrapped our gifts in gorgeous cloth napkins she made herself, and I think I’m more excited about the wrapping than the presents! I had to let most of my fabric stash go in the last move, but I’ve been known to shroud gifts in pillowcases and tablecloths (and then ask for my linens back–but only with immediate family).

  2. Amanda said

    I’m a naughty wrapper. I collect pretty papers and ribbons and small glittery birds and coat packages in them mercilessly. I hope you won’t think less of me.

    Faux bois fabric = paroxysm. Lusting hard.

  3. Michelle: Handmade napkins — gracious! And as gift wrap? I like your mom-in-law!

    Amanda: Oh, no less-thinking, of course. Do you think your papers and birds see a life beyond the gifts? If so, you’re good. :)

    The faux bois fabric is flippin’ sweet. I was so excited when I found it. I can’t remember the maker, unfortunately. If I swing by Stitches, I’ll check out the bolt for you. Maybe you can find it at your favorite fabric store.

  4. Demelza said

    I’m definitely a recycler. I save bags, fabrics, ribbons, and even tissue paper that I get from the high-end wrapping you get from some stores, and use them all the time.

    LS – Love you, love your perspective, love this blog! Wishing you a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year!

  5. To you, too, Demelza! Happy holidays, and thank you so much for the shows of affection. I’m blushing.

    Saving tissue paper — thanks for bringing it up. That’s a great way to reuse something that typically gets tossed. Reusing wrapping paper is an excellent practice, too, provided your giftees know you’re planning to recycle!

  6. Amanda said

    Oh yay. I’m nice after all. I re-use the glittery birds and tissue paper, and am a compulsive ribbon hoarder. One day I will build a ribbon next and live in it. And the paper gets recycled, one way or another. Phew!

    Ooooh I would love to know about the fabric if you happen by it. Many thanks, lovely! And happy Christmas!

  7. Amanda said

    (P.S. “nest” not “next.)

  8. You are very nice. I <3 glittery birds.

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