Sustainable Gift Wrapping

When it comes to holiday gift-wrapping, we Rebel gals are the first to get creative with whatever we have on hand. And what we have on hand is... a lot. We're both known within our families as the person who, at the end of a gift-opening session, runs around scooping up and re-folding all the wrapping paper and bags. What can we say? We love recycling and reusing!


Whether you're a minimalist or you hoard Christmas paper like a depression-era grandmother, we'll teach you how to "Shop the House" -- to use what you already have on hand to wrap a customized, unique gift without spending additional money or using new resources.


Why sustainability?

  • Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the amount of trash produced in the United States increases by an estimated 25%—that’s about one million extra tons of garbage each week. (epa.gov)

  • Putting things into perspective, if every family would reuse gift ribbons, the 38,000 miles could “tie a bow around the entire planet.” And, if recycled paper was used to wrap presents, the amount of paper saved could cover 45,000 football fields. (stanford.edu)

  • The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we'd save 50,000 cubic yards of paper. (greenily.co)

  • On average, an American will go through seven hundred pounds of paper a year. With HALF of that taking place over the holidays. (calicarting.com)

  • Americans spend an average of 2.6 billion dollars on gift wrapping each year. (visual.ly)

We've put together a list of tips and ideas to help you get started on your sustainable holiday gift-wrapping journey.


Sustainable Gift Wrapping Tips

  1. Choose a Theme: Honing in on one theme makes it easier to focus, since really the possibilities are endless!

  2. Personalize It: Consider the recipient -- what are their favorite colors, design, animal, etc.? Could you add stickers or stamps to monogram the package?

  3. Get Creative: What do you already have lying around the house? Can you use part of the gift as wrapping? Check the recycling bin, scavenge the garden, sift through junk drawers.

  4. When purchasing and gifts & packaging, can it be reused in the future? Scarf, tote bag, mason jar, etc...

  5. Don't stress & Keep it simple. Gifts are supposed to be a HAPPY thing!


Theme Ideas

  • For the Traveler- old map, wrapped in twine, with favorite travel quotes across the front and state patch or keychain

  • For the Flower Child- scrap fabric or vintage scarf, spritzed with favorite perfume and topped with a brooch or solo earrings

  • For the Chef- upcycled cardboard box or basket lined with a tea towel and filled with food/kitchen supplies

  • For the Music Lover- Old tee as wrapping with band sticker

  • For the Fellas- Comfy sweater wrapped with a tie and keychain


Go-To Simple Supplies List

  • Craft paper/paper grocery bag

  • Twine/Yarn

  • Markers/Sharpies

  • Scissors

  • Tape


Optional Supplies/Inspo List (all found items from around the house!!)


  • Newspaper

  • Scrap Paper

  • Sheet Music

  • Doilies

  • Baggu bag

  • Vintage sewing patterns

  • Past wrapping material/Previous years holiday cards

  • Hole punch

  • Glue gun

  • Paperback book cover

  • Old Calendar

  • Old Photographs

  • Kids artwork

  • Rubber Stamps/Ink Pad

  • Yarn/Twine/Ribbon

  • Scrap fabric

  • Canvas tote bag

  • Vintage scarf

  • Mason jars/baby food jars

  • Old road map

  • Cardboard box

  • Felt

  • Stencils

  • Mens tie

  • Faux flowers

  • Tea tin

  • Cinnamon sticks

  • Washi tape

  • Tissue paper

  • Candy canes/other snacks

  • Old tee shirt

  • Greenery/florals from outside/pinecones

  • Brooch/old solo earrings/broken jewelry

Where to start with holiday sustainability:

  • Shop local- This keeps money in your communities, plus less travel distance for goods= better for the environment. PLUS helping small business means helping real people and families.

  • Instead of purchasing all your gifts this year, how about trying- homemade gift certificates, outings with the fam to parks, hiking, museum etc… Maybe a handmade gift, subscription to a monthly club, make your own greeting card or better yet send virtual cards instead, instead of a physical present. How about an experience like a concert or day trip?

  • Check the recycling- We all have some goodies in our recycling box at home that would probably make great materials! Remember to think outside the box...the recycling box that is.

  • Start NOW. Save this years gift wrapping from the holidays as well as start collect throughout the year as you are attending celebrations. This will be a good time to get your collection started.


Holiday Sustainability Resources:



Happy Holidays to you and yours,

Tori + Sara

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