Low-waste Christmas gift wrapping ideas

Here are Style Curator HQ we’re becoming increasingly conscious about ways we can reduce waste and become more eco-friendly at home. And while Christmas is a truly magical time of the year, it’s also when we create a whole lot of extra rubbish. So today we thought we’d explore some low-waste Christmas gift wrapping ideas with you!

Related article: 50 of the most beautiful Christmas gift wrapping ideas (with stacks of free printables!)
Related article: 9 ways to elevate your Christmas gift wrapping

Ideas for low-waste Christmas gift wrapping

Fabric

A simple idea but one of our faves. You can either use fabric you have at home, or buy a new tea towel, scarf or other fabric item that can also form part of the gift.

Check out YouTube tutorials on furoshiki, a Japanese fabric wrapping technique, which teaches you to fold and tie your fabric in a unique way. Love!

Fabric christmas furoshiki technique
Beautiful fabric wrapping – image via Geneva Vanderzeil

Butchers paper

Cheap as chips, brown paper comes in nice big rolls so you’ll certainly get bang for your buck with this one. Although waxed butchers paper cannot be recycled, it can be composted ā€” helping to reduce the amount of wrapping paper going to landfill.

You can find butcher’s paper in stores like Kmart or Big W, as well as craft stores. Keep it plain and simple, or jazz it up with string, washi tape, stencils, greenery… the possibilities are endless!

And being plain, it means you can use it for Christmas, birthday’s, and every other occasion throughout the year. Smart AND resourceful!

Natural hammered flower linen gift wrap

Did you see this recent DIY gift wrap project we did? We hammered flowers into linen fabric to create this beautiful, muted print. And then used the Bojagi technique to wrap the gift, similar to the first gift wrap in this article.

You can really have fun with this idea, experimenting with different types of flowers and fabrics to create unexpected patterns. Divine (if we do say so ourselves!).

Finished gift wrap using fabric
Linen fabric gift wrap with natural dye print using hammered in flowers | Find the DIY how to here

Glass jars

Foodie gifts, handmade candles, teacher gifts, bath salts, bath fizzies, all these ideas (plus so many more!) can be ‘wrapped’ in a glass jar! Instead of wrapping presents in a gift bag or cellophane, why not just use a jar?

You can pretty it up by tying on some ribbon or fabric and then whoever is lucky enough to receive your beautiful gift can reuse their jar again and again!

Newspaper and magazines

Buying for a gardening lover? Why not wrap their pressie in a gardening catalogue? Foodie? How about a recipe or the foodie pages of the newspaper?

Simple black and white newspaper can look super chic and you’re doing your bit for the environment too. Don’t let your imagination stop there, you could also use all kinds of recycled materials such as old maps, books, or calendars.

10 Christmas gift wrapping ideas pinecone

Beeswax or vegan-wax wraps

These clever wraps make the perfect low-waste Christmas gift wrapping! And once they’re done being substitute wrapping paper, they can be used instead of clingwrap and food covers.

You can buy them at local markets, health food stores or, you can DIY your own beeswax wraps following our tutorial here!

Reusable fabric gift bags

Sure, we’ve all probably got a stockpile of gaudy paper gift bags on hand, but for an extra special touch, why not consider reusable fabric gift bags?

If you’re handy on the sewing machine, you could whip up a few yourself. But for the rest of us, there are plenty of clever crafters on Etsy who make beautiful fabric gift bags that can be used again and again.

This one is also ideal for those who love the idea of using fabric but just can’t nail those wrapping techniques!

A bag that’s part of the gift

Anyone else guilty of always forgetting their bags at the supermarket?! One can NEVER have enough reusable bags! So why not give a gift and pop it into a reusable bag that the recipient will HOPEFULLY not forget on their next trip to the shops!

There are SO many cool designs available so you can find a design to suit the gift inside or the recipient. We really love the range of tote bags from Cotton On. They’re part of the Cotton On Foundation range, meaning you’re also donating to a good cause.

Beautiful embellishment ideas for low-waste gift wrapping

Ornaments

Spare Christmas baubles or decorations lying around that didn’t make it on to the tree this year? Why not add one on top of a present to pretty it up AND give a gift with a gift!

You could even DIY your own like our gingerbread clay ornament below or, check our fun tutorial here.

Plantable cards

We adore this idea! These cards are made from recycled materials and contain sweet little flower seeds. Once you’ve finished with it, you can plant your card in the ground!

Your finished-with Christmas card won’t go into landfill, instead it will produce beautiful blooms to be enjoyed long after the festive season has finished.

You can also get these in a range of different designs, gift tags and blank cards.

Christmas biscuits

Edible, tasty and beautiful. Simply bake your favourite kind of biscuit (this time of year screams out for gingerbread, don’t you think?) and use a wooden skewer to pierce a hole in your shape, pre-bake*. Once baked and cooled, thread through some ribbon and tie to your gift. Delicious and no waste!

Oh, and maybe don’t leave this one lying around with pets or small children about!

*Tip: (speaking from experience) don’t make your hole too close to the top of your biscuit, or too small!

Gingerbread gift wrap
Image via Self Architecture

Cookie cutters

Still on the foodie theme, for baking lovers (or for someone who simply loves cookies), why not add a sweet cookie cutter to the outside of their gift? Not only does it look adorable, it also doubles as a useful gift.

And you never know, you might even score yourself some homemade cookies later on for giving such a thoughtful gift!

Cookie cutter embellishment_Lilyandval.com
Image via Lily & Val

Ribbon or washi tape

To avoid using sticky tape, tie gifts with ribbon or string (both of which can be reused). Or, if this sounds a bit too tricky, go for washi tape as it’s a paper-based alternative to sticky tape.

Tape gift wrap

Cinnamon sticks

Adding cinnamon sticks to the outside of your perfectly wrapped present is another of our fave ideas. It not only smells incredible, it’s also compostable. Love that.

Spiced dried orange slices

Dried orange slices look beautiful adorning the outside of hand-wrapped Christmas gifts. And they’re SO much easier to make than you might think! No, really! They are! Follow along our DIY dried orange slice tutorial here.

Adding a slice or two to the top of your gifts looks beautiful, smells incredible and… can be popped into a sneaky G&T later in the day šŸ˜‰

Natural elements

Leaves, pinecones, gumnuts, herbs, twigs. These all make beautiful additions to your Christmas gift wrapping. We adore the idea of using native Australian greenery to our gifts, like eucalyptus. A lovely little Aussie touch.

Flax and twine eucalyptus gift topper
Image from Flax & Twine

Old Christmas cards or photographs

Wrap your gift in plain paper, and then add a photograph or old card. This is a sweet and simple idea, just look at the gift wrap below for inspo!

Photo on Christmas gift wrap
Image via Cambiando Strada

Will you be using any of these low-waste Christmas gift wrapping ideas for your presents this year? We’d love to see them so be sure to tag us on Instagram if you do! Happy wrapping everyone!

Find more Christmas content here

Disclaimer: This article was first published in December 2019. It has been updated with new low-waste Christmas gift wrapping ideas. It contains some affiliate links. This means, if you purchase an item we may receive a commission on that sale of the products at no extra cost to you.

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