Christmas Gift Wrap Alternatives

Christmas Ideas

Christmas Gift Wrap Alternatives

Today class, we are going to learn about the many ways to save money on wrapping paper by not using wrapping paper or, alternatively, a lot less wrapping paper. I don’t imagine that wrapping paper is going to disappear from the scene altogether. After all, no matter how inventive we get, nothing quite beats the thrill of ripping paper off of a present and it remains fresh and new with each use because, as a rule, it is not reusable.

Still, at Christmastime, we may resent spending inordinate amounts of money on something that will end up in the local landfill. 

We all enjoy seeing beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree on Christmas morning, however, a pretty package doesn’t necessarily have to be wrapped in paper. There are alternatives and they can be just as attractive while at the same time, saving us money.

A reusable box can be adorned with wire-edged ribbon and two small Christmas berry picks in lieu of a bow. Add a tag and you have a simple, beautiful gift to present to someone special on your list. After Christmas, the box will still be useful as storage. 


The square green box is 4 1/2″ deep, has a padded lid and comes pre-adorned with a fabric wrap, ribbon and leafy embellishment. All you have to do is add the gift and a tag. We’ve seen these in red, as well. This size box would be perfect for gifting a mug.

The same plain coloured box was made Christmassy by cutting two strips of leftover wrapping paper, one 2 ½” and one about 5″ wide and attaching them width- and length-wise. The red in the paper was a good match to the colour of the box and as the pattern in the paper was printed in rows, it was easy to cut straight strips of paper.

If you opt for this paper-conserving method, be sure to secure the paper strips by taping them to each other so you don’t damage the reusable storage box.


We found this unfinished wooden box in the craft aisle at Dollarama. It’s about 9″ long by 6″ wide and 2″ deep, a perfect fit for a pair of gloves. For a slightly different take on the traditional, I added two lengths of Christmas ribbon and a bell decoration from my stash with a small piece of pine pick. This might be a good idea to give to someone who would enjoy painting the box afterward.


Patterned boxes or tins don’t need wrapping as well. Here, I simply added ribbon and adorned it with a matching gold pick, instead of a bow.

One of my newsletter readers, Liz from London, Ontario, suggests wrapping very large items, like the ones we buy for our kids, in unlined coloured plastic tablecloths, using it the same way you would wrapping paper.  I would also suggest that one large tablecloth could be used to wrap several smaller gifts. Wipe clean gift wrap – neat!

Liz has made numerous fabric gift bags in many colours and prints. She writes: “a person could find some cute Christmas placemats or towels, sew the three sides, pop the gift in and tie with ribbon or a tassel.”


I took her advice, here using a Christmas fingertip towel and Christmas green and red cloth napkins to hide surprises. We added a Christmas sticker to the plain green bag and Christmas pins help to decorate the other two bags and make a little extra gift as well. We applied a self-adhesive gift tag directly onto the wide ribbon of the smaller bag.

Along with the above suggestions, you could also use bandannas to make into reusable gift bags or use as gift-wrap. It’s an economical and eco-friendly idea that you can use all year long.


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