5 Green Alternatives to Wrapping Paper

Being green doesn't have to mean sacrificing fun -- gifts can still look festive and fun while remaining eco-friendly.

Being green doesn’t have to mean sacrificing fun — gifts can still look festive and fun while remaining eco-friendly.

Is there anything more satisfying than ripping the paper off a neatly wrapped present, uncovering a hidden treasure inside? Probably not – but have you seen your living room after a morning spent unwrapping what Santa brought you? It’s an environmentalist’s nightmare; all that trash is hardly eco-friendly. On the other hand, you have to wrap your gifts in something. So what’s a tree-hugging Santa to do?

Fortunately, there are ways to keep all the fun of Christmas morning while remaining environmentally responsible. Check out these alternatives to wrapping paper so you can keep your holiday season green – not Grinch green, but earth-friendly green.

1. Reuse those brown paper shopping bags.

Paper or plastic? During the holiday season, opt for paper – you can reuse it to wrap gifts. Simply cut the sides of the bags so they lay flat, just like regular wrapping paper. Use colorful ribbons and bows to add some pizzazz to the package, or you could even decorate it with your own artwork. It’s like a blank canvas! And remember to save ribbons to use on other gifts next year.

2. Pick out some pillowcases.

You know you’ve got a few extra pillowcases hiding in your linen closet. Why not put them to good use during the holidays? Just drop a present inside and cinch the top with a brightly colored ribbon. You can use them over and over again, and there’s an added bonus: It’s a much faster way to wrap gifts than bringing out the wrapping paper and tape.

3. Find the funny papers.

Remember when people used to wrap gifts with the comics section of the newspaper? That’s still a good system! Even if you don’t subscribe to the paper version of your local news anymore, you can pick up a Sunday newspaper at all sorts of locations around your town. Just lay the comics section flat and get wrapping. You won’t even have to add any extra decorations to the gift; it’s already colorful enough!

If a gift comes in a box, no need to wrap it -- just tie a ribbon around the box and you have a beautiful package.

If a gift comes in a box, no need to wrap it — just tie a ribbon around the box and you have a beautiful package.

4. Break out the boxes.

Think about it: If a gift is already enclosed in a box, why do you need to wrap it? You don’t! A regular box tied up with a colorful, reusable ribbon makes for an attractive, simple presentation, and you can keep the box and bow for years to come.

5. Wrap one gift with another gift.

Are you giving someone a scarf and another small gift? That’s a gift wrap in itself – just wrap the scarf around the smaller gift and secure the ends. This also works with bandanas, small blankets, and all sorts of other reusable wrappers.

More ideas to keep your holiday season merry and bright:

And if you do use regular wrapping paper, you can toss it in the recycling bin instead of the trash after you unwrap gifts.

How will you stay green this season?

Photo credits: Shutterstock / Marie C Fields; Flickr / FutUndBeidl

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