9 Easy Zero-Waste Ways To Wrap Gifts

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Come see 9 different zero-waste gift wrapping methods I use. It’s easy, inexpensive, saves time & doesn’t compromise the festive look beneath our tree. Wrap gifts beautifully in seconds!

I celebrate Christmas using low-waste wrappings. It's easy & beautiful to adorn your gifts without contributing to the landfill! #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)

Realization Of A Holiday Filled With Trash

On a Christmas morning long, long ago I sat in our living-room floor with a steaming cup of coffee in my hands. My heart was full as I listened to the excited chatter of our children as they opened their gifts.

But soon after that gift-opening frenzy I stared with dismay at the mountains of trash that was left behind. 

As I loaded up multiple mammoth trash bags with all that trash I thought there just HAD to be a better way!.

Then in less than a minute those beautiful paper wrappings were turned into landfill-based trash. There just had to be a less trashy way to adorn my gifts without contributing to an already-bulging landfill problem.

Zero waste gift wrapping present cloth eco friendly fast reusable save money #TexasHomesteader

Check out our eco-friendly and reusable gift wrapping options below:

Reusable Yet Festive Gift Wrap Beneath The Tree

My reusable giftwrap still gives me the pretty and festive look under the tree that I crave. But my heart is happy since unlike that Christmas so long ago there’s no trash being hauled to the curb.

Reusable Fabric Gift Bags

Reusable fabric bags are a great zero-waste gift wrapping option. You don’t have to know how to sew, you can * Buy Reusable Bags. The cost will still be less than buying wrapping paper year after year.

And I’ve learned to repurpose old denim by quick-sewing the cutest little denim baskets to hold many of our gifts. 

I celebrate Christmas using low-waste wrappings. It's easy & beautiful to adorn your gifts without contributing to the landfill! #TexasHomesteader

Wrapping Gifts Beautifully In Reusable Cloth

Colorful bandannas are great for wrapping those small or odd-shaped gifts.  I simply fold the bandana around the gift and tie it with festive ribbon.

Plus they’re so versatile and inexpensive it’s easy to have many different colors to adorn the gifts under your tree for a fun splash of holiday color.

I celebrate Christmas using low-waste wrappings. It's easy & beautiful to adorn your gifts without contributing to the landfill! #TexasHomesteader

Fold, Tuck & Tie ‘FuroshikiWrapping

If you don’t want ribbons or bows at all there’s an even easier way to wrap using cloth.

You can wrap a gift in less than a minute using NO scissors, ribbons or bows using the Japanese art of Furoshiki Cloth Wrapping.

Check out how easy it is with this short cloth-wrapping video:


This method of  wrapping doesn’t involve cutting, tape ribbons or bows. Your gift is wrapped in cloth, folded & tucked and then tied.

The ‘bow’ is simply the ends of the fabric where you tied it closed that’s been flared out decoratively.

There are lots of different ways of wrapping furoshiki style, just have fun!

Furoshiki zero-waste eco friendly reusable cloth wrapping for gifts diagram #TexasHomesteader

Wrap Gifts In Holiday-Colored Napkins

For gift recipients living in your home you can temporarily repurpose red or green cloth napkins to wrap gifts for a truly zero-waste giftwrap.

That’s how we wrap RancherMan’s & my gifts here at the Homestead.

When gift unwrapping is done I simply gather the napkins and toss them in the laundry.

Furoshiki reusable cloth napkin zero-waste gift wrapping. #TexasHomesteader

Once the napkins are freshened up they go back in my cloth napkin basket. No waste!

Twice The Gift – Homemade Goodies In Reusable Containers

Below are some of the food gifts we’ve given in reusable things that are actually part of the gift.

I celebrate Christmas using low-waste wrappings. It's easy & beautiful to adorn your gifts without contributing to the landfill! #TexasHomesteader

Sometimes we gift several jars of home-canned goods in fun colorful chunky shelf storage baskets. (Even the shredded paper filler was made from feed sacks for our low-waste gift baskets.)

Wrap Gifts With Other Cloth Gift Items

Like the food gifts above, you can wrap your gift in cloth that’s an extension of the actual gift.

Furoshiki cloth gift wrapping french press and flavored coffee in kitchen towels and dishcloths #TexasHomesteader

      • Wrap kitchen gifts in new tea towels or kitchen dishcloths.

      • Use colorful scarves to wrap a wardrobe-type gift.

      • Bath gifts can be wrapped in pretty hand towels.

      • Homemade soap can be wrapped in a new washcloth.

You get the idea.

Oversized ‘Santa Sacks’

For larger gifts we’ve used *Santa Sacks for our grandchildren’s gifts.

The grandkids know to return these huge wrapping bags when they’ve opened their gifts.

I celebrate Christmas using low-waste wrappings. It's easy & beautiful to adorn your gifts without contributing to the landfill! #TexasHomesteader

How Do You Wrap Large Gifts?

For really large gifts I have a Christmas-themed fleece-backed tablecloth. When it’s not needed for a large gift I use it to cover the storage box that our Christmas decorations were stored in to decorate as a huge gift.

It gives me another surface to stack gifts on and keeps the Christmas package theme.

I celebrate Christmas using low-waste wrappings. It's easy & beautiful to adorn your gifts without contributing to the landfill! #TexasHomesteader

Repurposed Brown Paper Gift Wrap

And of course there’s the old standby of wrappings from Christmases of days gone by.

C’mon now, sing it with me:

“Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things!”

Since we always have a blazing fire going on Christmas morning, a few of the smaller gifts that RancherMan & I place in each others stockings are wrapped in plain brown paper and tied with white cotton string.

That “wrapping paper” comes from the unprinted middle layers of our cattle cube feed bags and the white cotton string comes from these bags as well. So no additional product had to be produced nor purchased.

They look great, and after the gift is opened both the paper and string can be used for heating fuel in our wood-burning fireplace right then, right there!

Repurposed Christmas Card Into Small Gift Box

After the holidays what do you do with those beautiful Christmas cards? Save them!

You can easily fashion an adorable small gift box from last year’s beautiful Christmas cards in only about a couple of minutes!

Old holiday cards repurposed into cute gift boxes. #TexasHomesteader

These small boxes are perfect for homemade soaps, cute bracelets, and various small gifts.

You can see the simple tutorial for making your own Christmas-Card Gift Box Here.

What about you?  What are your favorite ways to reduce the mountains of trash on Christmas morn?


This post categorized in        

Tagged in All our favorite posts about Christmas Holidays. #TexasHomesteader  Our favorite gift ideas in one place. #TexasHomesteader  A list of all our eco-friendly posts. #TexasHomesteader  A complete list of all our zero-waste living articles. #TexasHomesteader   

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17 thoughts on “9 Easy Zero-Waste Ways To Wrap Gifts

  1. Lois

    I love your ideas and I too did away with paper wrappings. I have a few bags I made and collected a couple of jersey bags from relatives they were going to throw out that held sheet sets when they bought new sheets. This year I have to ship a few presents to grandchildren who don’t live close by and used free holiday fabric to make larger bags the size of pillowcases. These the children can reuse as actual pillowcases making a gift from the wrapping.

  2. Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

    We’ve used cloth bags for many years. In fact, I bought a roll of wrapping paper for my little sister’s school fundraiser and didn’t end up opening it until 3 Christmases later, lol. I sewed up a bunch of them, pillowcase style (not even a drawstring). I tie them with ribbons, which we also reuse. I have a variety of sizes, and some years I have to custom make one to fit an odd size or shape.

    Christmas morning, we put an empty tote in the middle of the festivities, and people toss the bags in as they unwrap things. There is still packaging type trash at the end of the day, but FAR less than with wrapping paper. Also, as a kid, my dad used to throw the wrapping paper in the burn box to use to start fires in the fireplace, but you have to be careful not to do that with the metallic prints, since they can give off toxic fumes.

  3. Lisa/Syncopated Mama

    I love these ideas! I don’t use reusable cloth wrapping, but I’ve thought about it. We reuse gift bags and tissue paper, so feel pretty good not throwing all that stuff out when we get gifts given to us in them. Usually if I have to wrap something in paper because it won’t fit in a bag, then I get creative with things I can find around the house.

  4. Hannah@SeeingtheLovely

    Thanks for the great tips, Tammy! I had not thought about using pretty cloth bags, what a fun idea! My husband and I often re-use paper Christmas gift bags we’ve been given or sometimes we even use the comics section of the newspaper!

  5. Coni

    Growing up we had to carefully open our gifts 1 at a time, mom would take the paper and the next day she would iron it flat and put it up for the next year. I don’t recall how many years the paper was reused. I like to wrap my gifts in dish towels or bath towels, so the wrapping is part of the gift.

    Merry Christmas!

  6. ColleenB.

    Even tho we recycle all of our paper products I still prefer reusing the gift bags that I receive.
    If you can find some Christmas pillow cases they also are great as using as gift bags; taking ribbon or cording and tying around the top. Even if you purchase the plain pillow cases you can always decorate them for the holidays or for a birthday gift.

    1. ColleenB.

      :} And guess what Tammy; by using pillow cases; No sewing involved :} :}

  7. Nicole @Little Blog on the Homestead

    I love this! Most wrapping paper can’t be recycled so once I use up what I have now I’ll be going exclusively to recyclable options and reusable ones like this! I also like kraft paper, it’s recyclable and fun to personalize.

  8. Annie

    Thanks for the ideas! Here’s a tip for reusing the wrapping paper from other people’s gifts to your family: run it through a paper shredder, and then it makes great, colorful filler for a gift bag or basket.

  9. RobinP

    LOVE the idea of the inside layer of feed bags and string!! I could wrap the whole town’s gifts with the number of those we have! Even get out the Christmas stamps and stickers and let the children decorate. I’m not a seamstress either so I’m always looking for alternative ways to save in many areas.

  10. Julia

    Great ideas to keep wrapping simple!

  11. Jayne

    I, too, am horrified at the mountains of paper that is wasted on wrappings. I always wrap ours in reusable wrappings, but there is still all the extra coming in from outside gifts. How do you convince other people that you are trying to reduce waste?!

  12. Kristina and Millie

    all awesome ideas! Gift wrap is such a waste of resources! We, if possible, use (and reuse) gift bags here. Love the idea though of using large pieces of cloth or tablecloths for some of the bigger items! Brilliant!

  13. Judith C

    I have some dark green too, also my mom’s (a wedding gift from 1952!) I was thinking of sewing two napkins together with a ribbon casing for a drawstring. Thanks for the ideas.

  14. Judith C

    This is awesome! We have the same 10-15 paper gift bags that we have been using for the last 10 or so years. My kids know which gifts are theirs because we use the same bags for each person every year… they have their names on the tags. I have a bunch of cloth napkins that my mom made years ago, I may turn them into gift bags. Sort of change things up a bit. Wont the kids be surprised!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      That’s funny Judith about your paper bags that already have the names on the tags. LOL We have pine-green cloth napkins, I’ve been known to wrap a small gift in them and tie it with a bright sparkly silver or gold ribbon, it looked beautiful. ~TxH~

  15. Laurinda

    I’ve always entertained the idea of reusable wrappings, but your blog really made it coalesce for me! Thanks for the great ideas {{ HUGS}}


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