How To Be A Sustainable Gift Giver This Christmas

Give mindful presents

Aside from the sumptuous food and the warm company of loved ones, gifts are arguably a crucial part of Christmas. After all, gifting is one way to express our appreciation for someone. Part of the fun, of course, is the suspense that comes with unwrapping a present. We never truly know what we’re gonna get, and it’s equally exciting to keep the other party guessing.

But in this day and age where we’re faced with ecological concerns, how can we continue the tradition while being mindful of our environment? Ahead, we list down 7 easy sustainable gift-wrapping ideas so you can upgrade your holiday gifting game while being a little kinder on Mother Earth.

Sustainable gift wrapping ideas

There are many ways to be a sustainable gift giver.

Sustainable ways to wrap gifts

1. Reuse shopping bags

Reused shopping bags as gift wrap

Keep your paper bags from shopping trips.

Even before the holiday season, heading to the malls to purchase clothes, groceries, and other necessities is a common occurrence. Given that, there’s bound to be stacks of paper bags accumulated in our houses somewhere. Instead of letting them consume space, reuse them to wrap your gifts. For those who are in a rush, simply stapling your present inside a neat paper bag will do. But if you want to go extra, cut through the bag so you have a flat sheet, then use that as your wrapping paper.

Brown paper bags have long been a popular material, but bags in other colours can still come across as elegant. The key is to use the plain-coloured side and spruce it up by adding bright red ribbons.

2. Look for scraps

Scrap wrapping paper can be reused

Scrap paper like newspapers or old magazines can be used to wrap gifts!

When you do your year-end de-cluttering, look out for scraps of paper lying around your house. That includes outdated newspapers, magazines, or even your old books and papers from your old school days that you never plan on revisiting anymore.

Instead of throwing them away, use them to wrap your gifts, with the print outside for a unique touch. Give it as it is or tie around a twine string and add sprigs of herbs for a rustic vibe.

3. Go get a jar

Jars used for gift giving

Jars can be a sophisticated way to present a gift.

Planning to gift everyone your homemade goodies this holiday season? Instead of buying boxes and cellophane, if you can, pack them in jars.  It's a practical gift: the recipient can use the container even after all the cookies have been devoured. Useful, right?

4. Cover with cloth

An easy and sustainable way to wrap gifts

Cloth can be used instead of wrapping paper.

Instead of using paper to wrap your presents, save the earth by covering your presents with cloth. Those willing to splurge can buy a scarf with a nice print, which your friends can also reuse later on, or cut out sheets from your old pieces of clothing.

What’s great about using cloth is that it is softer and, therefore more flexible than most wrappers, making it perfect to wrap objects of any shape. Try furoshiki, the Japanese art of fabric wrapping, or invent a wholly different way to wrap gifts with cloth.  Go ahead and get creative. 

5. Save for the future

Reusing old wrappers are sustainable

Carefully peeled wrappers from previous years can be reused to wrap new presents.

When you receive your gifts this year, remember to carefully peel the wrappers off the presents. Don’t be rash in opening so that you don’t tear it up. Afterwards, neatly flatten them out and keep them somewhere safe so that you can reuse them come the next Christmas holidays.

It might come across as being a cheapskate, but really, does wasting all that paper every year sit well with you? Might as well make use of their seasonal prints however you can, right?

6. Use pretty (and functional) boxes

Gift boxes can be reused as storage

Gift boxes save paper and time for wrapping gifts!

Boxes can be used for many things including gifting. By giving presents in a beautiful and reusable box, you're also allowing the receiver to utilise the box for other purposes such as storage for small items like stickers, stationery, and trinkets. This also saves you from spending time struggling to wrap presents! Just put the item in a box, place a ribbon, and then you're good to go. 

7. Place the gift in a reusable fabric bag

The fabric gift bag we know well

There are now many more versions of the classic fabric gift bag.

A classic way of giving presents without the use of wrapping paper is by making use of reusable fabric bags. There are also plenty more choices for fabric gift bags now aside from the usual beige-coloured drawstring pouches. These fabric bags, after the holidays, can be used to safely store small essentials. They can also be reused by the receiver to gift someone for the next holiday!

On a budget this Christmas? Here are gift ideas for every budget!

Comments, questions or feedback? Email us at [email protected].

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