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Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Ideas for Christmas

Go green this holiday season with these eco-friendly gift wrap ideas. Recycled paper and other reusable items will make your gift wrapping look cohesive and gorgeous under your tree.

image collage of eco-friendly gift wrapping with text overlay

Every year I do some kind of themed wrapping paper where I try and make all of my presents look cohesive, including the faux presents I wrap up before Christmas. This year is no different, except that I’ve been focusing a lot more on eco-friendly gift wrap alternatives.

I will be the first to say that I am not an expert when it comes to eco-friendly, sustainable, or zero waste living. I know that I’ve been doing my part to try and slowly reduce waste and reduce single-use plastics in our house. So, today I wanted to share some ideas for wrapping paper, tape, and gift toppers that all are sustainable and eco-friendly.

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Supplies

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Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas for Christmas

Because I am a blogger and Youtuber, I’m always decorating my tree and my home early. That means usually creating some faux presents that I put under the tree. When I’m doing my faux presents, I usually just use old boxes that are recyclable (think cracker boxes, cereal boxes, etc). That way I’m not creating any new waste. Often, even after the “faux” gifts are wrapped, I will open them up and put a real present in them right before Christmas and put them back under the tree.

Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper: Kraft Paper

When it comes to wrapping paper, most wrapping paper you buy in the store is designed for single use only. Although some people do try to use it multiple times, realistically you can only use it once or twice before it has to go into the trash.

On top of that, you can’t recycle most wrapping papers! When I tell people this… they are mostly shocked. A lot of wrapping papers have dyes on them or have shiny laminated finishes. Oftentimes there are non-paper additives like coloring, glitter, or plastics that are added to wrapping paper that make them no longer recyclable. As an alternative to traditional wrapping paper I choose to use this brown and black recycled paper, also known as kraft paper, that is a hundred percent sustainable and recyclable.

packages wrapped in black and brown kraft paper

Another thing that can’t be recycled when it comes to wrapping is any of our typical adhesive tapes. Even the paper that has adhesive tape on it can’t be recycled. Two really great alternatives are kraft paper tape and washi tape.

Kraft paper tape and washi tape

Eco Friendly Tape Ideas

Kraft Paper Tape

Kraft paper tape is one hundred percent biodegradable. I had never used kraft tape before, so honestly, I don’t know if there’s a better or easier way to activate it and make it adhesive, but what I found worked really well was just using a damp sponge and keeping that on hand to soak the paper a little bit as I went to stick it on the package.

I started by cutting my tape into the approximate sizes that I needed so I had them ready to go. Sometimes that meant cutting sheets in half or just cutting off a square or a small rectangle. Then I got ready to wrap the present. I know wrapping is not my strongest skill, lol, but I’ll show you what I did anyway.

When I was ready for one of those pieces of tape, I grabbed it, put it on my sponge and just tapped it on the sponge so that it’s soaked up a little bit of the water. And then I put it in place on the present and held it down. Then I smoothed it out until it stuck securely (you can see this whole process in the video below!)

Washi Tape

The washi tape is a little bit easier to use because you don’t have to soak it and you can just use it exactly as you’ve used any other adhesive tape, but it’s typically made of natural fibers like hemp and bamboo, so it’s highly biodegradable. Plus, it comes in a ton of great colors and patterns which can make it a really fun addition to your wrapping paper.

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Accessories

Okay, so, let’s get to the fun part of actually wrapping these gifts. When it comes to decorating my gifts, I genuinely use the same pieces of ribbon and cording year after year. I’ve bought many of these products, used them, and stored them away in a bag for the following year again. Here are a few of the accessories and things I like to re-use and experiment with when I’m wrapping.

Velvet Ribbon

First is this velvet ribbon that I love. It comes in lots of different colors and often comes in bulk, and it just looks beautiful.

Velvet ribbon

Leather Cording

Second is this faux leather cording. I really love both of these for wrapping because they hold up really well and are totally reusable. The leather cording can be shaped and manipulated and comes in so many different colours so it’s very versatile.

leather cording for eco-friendly gift wrap


I love to add greenery to my gift wrap, whether faux or real. These are faux, but I have used real greenery from our yard before, which is great when you’re wrapping something that’s going to be opened a little closer to the time you’re wrapping it.

eco-friendly gift wrap with faux greenery

Reusable Gift Wrap Toppers

Finally, there’s all kinds of options for things you can use to top your gifts that are reusable, including pompoms, ornaments, little decorations that people can keep afterwards.

I particularly love to put ornaments on top because they act as part of the gift as well. They can open it and keep the ornaments, and I think that’s always extra special and looks really cute.

I’ve also DIY’d some really cute gift toppers that I’ve used again and again, including these mini evergreen wreaths from the photos above!

Creating a Gift Wrap Theme

Wrapping a pretty set of gifts like this is always about trial and error and just trying different things out and seeing what looks good. The main thing I try to do to make sure my gifts look like a cohesive set is to repeat elements at least a couple of times.

ribbon on package wrapped with brown kraft paper

I’ll make sure to use the same things a couple of times, such as using the same colours in my gift toppers, the same ribbons a couple of times, or using the same kind of greenery on multiple gifts.

I also choose pieces to match the scale of the gift box, for example, with the larger box above, I’ll choose use a larger ribbon so that it kind of fits the scale proportionally.

I usually add ribbon or cording to all of the gifts because one, it helps keep the entire group of gifts looking cohesive, and two, it adds a little bit more visual interest to the otherwise plain wrapping paper that we’re using. The other advantage of something like cording is that you don’t always have to attach every piece. You can just tuck it into the ribbon or the cording and usually it will stay put pretty nicely.

Then anything that I want to attach that doesn’t tuck nicely into the cording can be taped on with washi tape. If you’re curious about that velvet ribbon or the candy cane ornament, you can see here that I used as a topper, I made them in this year’s dollar store Christmas DIY video, which I will link to at the bottom of this post.

Eco-Friendly Gift Tags

One final eco-friendly tip, instead of buying gift tags, why not opt to print your own at home? Download the FREE Gifts of Christmas Rules gift tags and these Free Christmas Gift Tags to make your own. You can just print them out on paper or card stock, cut them out at home. Then recycle all of the paper afterwards.

DIY gift tags to use with eco0-friendly gift wrap

And here is how my pretty gift wrapped gifts looked when they were done. I was so happy with them. I think that they all look beautiful individually and as a nice group. You can see that I reused a lot of the same elements and definitely kept with the same colour theme to make everything look nice and cohesive.

group packages wrapped with eco-friendly gift wrap

Now you have beautiful gifts to sit under the tree as part of your decorations for the holiday season. If you do choose to use some of these eco-friendly alternatives, don’t forget to also tell the people you’re gifting to that everything is recyclable or reusable, so it doesn’t end up mixed in with the waste!

Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas

If you’re looking for some eco-friendly ideas to fill your stockings or gift those “hard-to-find-gifts-for” friends and family members, I’ve shared some of my Favourite Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas.

photo of sustainable products with text reading 20+ amazing eco-friendly gift ideas

Dollar Store DIY Christmas Decorations

Joanne Oye

Friday 9th of December 2022

Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for the inspiration


Sunday 11th of December 2022

Glad it was helpful!

Nazool Alli

Thursday 16th of December 2021

Lindi..thank you for sharing these. You are so creative and always giving ideas that are budget friendly. I do hope you guys continue to get well rewarded sponsorships. Thank you always


Thursday 16th of December 2021

Aww, thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed these ideas!