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Last Minute Sustainable Gift Wrapping

Here are my tips for making everyday items in your house look beautiful as gift wrapping. Because you are giving new life to something you may not have had a use for, a lot of these tips are also more sustainable (and cheaper) than buying gift wrap that will only be used once.

Hopefully these tips help you this holiday season, and share pictures of your wrapping if you try any of these out!

Tip #1 - Brown Packaging Paper or Brown Paper Bags

I order from Grove Collaborative a lot and because they are very eco conscious they package the boxes with brown craft paper instead of something like packing peanuts or those plastic floaty looking things, you know exactly what I'm talking about. So I have collected quite a bit of this brown craft paper over the course of the year because I knew I could use it for something. So my first tip is to use this craft paper to wrap your gifts!

If you don't happen to have a ton of this lying around, you can also use a brown paper bag that you would package your groceries in. If it has an undesirable logo or pattern on the outside, just flip it over to use the inside of the bag!

Here you can see some of my favorite ways to spruce up the paper for the holidays!

This first gift was wrapped using brown paper that I decorated with a green market and a tree stencil. I used yarn as the ribbon and a recycled hot chocolate package to make the tag.

This next gift was wrapped in brown paper that was decorated with a Christmas themed stamp in alternating red and green pattern. I used some simple string and natural elements (tree sprig and cinnamon stick) as embellishment. I just wrote the "to and from" directly on that package with red and green markets.
For this last gift I used the end of a pencil and some white paint to make some organic looking snow and used a cardboard box to make a gingerbread house tag.

Tip #2 - Alternatives to Ribbon

Although ribbon is very beautiful on a gift box it is over not cheap and may not be reusable or recyclable. So I like to use some things that you might already have in your house for ribbon instead.

Yarn makes for a great alternative to ribbon. You can mix different colors and textures to make it more interesting. And if you are like me, you might have too many skeins of yarn in your craft closet that you don't even know what to do with all of it.

You can also use lace or scraps of fabric as ribbon. This is something that can actually be very lovely and is another tip for crafters who don't know what to do with the extra fabric they have lying around.

For those of you that don't have an overflowing craft closet, I think that using string or rope can actually be really nice if you pair it with a nice tag or some other elements. Which leads me to my next tip...

Tip #3 - Gift Tag Ideas

If you are using the craft paper/paper bag idea then you can skip the tag all together and just write the "to and from" right on the paper! I like to spruce it up a little by drawing a banner or decorating it with something festive.

You can also make some simple gingerbread house tags out of cardboard. All you have to do is cut out a house shape from the cardboard and then draw some house designs with a white paint marker or even a white colored pencil or Crayon.

Last year I got some festive hot chocolates as a gift and they came in these cute little boxes. Instead of throwing the boxes out or just recycling them, I decided to save them. The patterns on the paper make for a great gift tag so all I need to do is just cut them into a tag or circle shape and write on the back. This year, keep your eye open for things that you can save to use for gift wrapping next

Tip #4 - Use natural elements

I like to use sprigs of pine which you can just pull from your tree if you have a real one. Cinnamon sticks are another inexpensive embellishment to use. Another popular one is to dehydrate citrus fruits.

More tips to consider

Another alternative wrapping you can use is to get reusable wrapping fabric. I really like this Etsy seller's items.

You can also use reusable draw string bags to give gifts and just add a ribbon and tag. Even better yet, you can use a festive reusable shopping bag that you can get at most stores and the receiver can reuse them for shopping!

Leave your wrapping tips in the comments and send me pictures if you use any of these for wrapping your gifts this season!


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