In the United States, we throw away 25 percent more trash during the time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day than we do during any other time of the year. That might not sound like a huge number until you realize that the additional waste totals 25 million tons of trash — about 1 million additional tons each week!

On Christmas Day, a good majority of that extra trash is wrapping paper. Most wrapping paper, ribbon and bows are used once and then thrown away. People, by nature, love giving gifts — but we seldom think of the toll our environment pays for our love of beautifully wrapped presents.

Fortunately, awareness is rising that there are better ways to wrap gifts — ways that reduce waste while helping to protect our environment. Purchasing recycled wrapping materials is a good start, but choosing reusable options is even better.

Here are five reusable gift wrap ideas to help you green your Christmas morning.

Drawstring-Style Cloth Bags

Many companies offer drawstring-style cloth bags that are great for wrapping gifts of many different shapes and sizes. Find some good options on Etsy.

Japanese-Style Wrapping Cloths

Companies like Furoshiki have introduced wrapping cloths that originated in Japan to the U.S. These versatile cloths can be tied in many different styles to accentuate your gift.


Gift baskets are always a huge hit. The best part is the basket is part of the gift and the wrapping as well.

Mason Jars

Candied pecans in jar
Image courtesy of Elana Amsterdam

Gifts presented in mason jars are hot! So many things can be gifted in a mason jar. We put together this list of five homemade gifts you can make yourself in a mason jar.

Old Maps

Maps make visually interesting gift wrap. You can often find old maps at yard sales and thrift stores at very affordable prices.

Colorful Magazine Pages

Need a fun wrap option for a small gift? Use a page torn from a colorful magazine that features something the recipient would relate to.

Sunday Comics

Do you get the paper every Sunday? If you do, start saving the Sunday comics. They are colorful and great for wrapping larger boxes.

Decorative Tins

Tins are the perfect wrapping system for homemade gifts like cookies, candies, fudge and more. The great thing is they can be used year after year and passed around to others.

Decorative Boxes

You can purchase sturdy, decorative boxes that are wonderful for presenting gifts and can be used more than one time. The gift recipient can often use these boxes for other purposes around the house as well.

Dish Towels

You can use a dish towel to wrap a wine bottle when you’re attending a holiday party and want to give the hostess a nice gift. Simply wrap the towel around the bottle and tie with a simple, reusable ribbon or piece of twine. It’s a unique presentation and an extra gift for your hostess.

If you receive a gift that is wrapped in disposable paper gift wrap, you can try to carefully unwrap the gift so you can reuse it next year. Store it folded with the rest of your holiday gear.

How will you be wrapping your gifts this holiday season?

Feature image courtesy of Taryn Domingos

By Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering, founder of Green Moms Media and essential oil fanatic, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former corporate marketing communication manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life.