Coolest Alternatives to Christmas Wrapping Paper
Christmas and the holidays are once a year, but many of us fall into the trap of doing the same thing every time. While you shouldn’t change some traditions, there are things you can do to make the season fun and creative.
One of the best ways to do this is by replacing boring old Christmas wrapping paper with more unique alternatives. These wrapped gifts always look amazing. And they’re also inexpensive. Or even free.
So get crafty with these 10 original gift-wrapping ideas that are way better than standard Christmas wrapping paper. Why waste money on something that gets thrown away after unwrapping anyways? It's a big win-win.
1. Kraft Paper
Kraft paper is the gift-wrapping answer to the minimalist aesthetic. Its beauty lies in its understated simplicity, but also in its versatility. You don't have to complicate this one. Wrapping your gifts with it and tying them with twine or a bow will give your gifts a nice presentation.
If you want to take your gift wrapping a step further, you can also decorate it. Melissa Breyer, the editorial director at Treehugger, says that her whole family has an unspoken wrapping challenge during the holidays. The name of the game is to be as creative as possible, which makes this a perfect craft activity for kids. Some ideas include painting, drawing and stamping the paper with rubber stamps.
Breyer also loves getting herbs or dried fruit from her garden and yard — like rosemary sprigs, winter berries and pine cones — and using them to decorate the gift wrap. The result is fragrant and Pinterest-perfect pretty.
As an added benefit, kraft paper is cheap and it's fully recyclable, unlike your typical Christmas wrapping paper.
You Can Decorate the Kraft Paper by Hand
Or Get Herbs From Your Garden to Embellish It
No, really, hear us out. We know it sounds strange to use newspaper for anything other than preserving avocados or protecting floors while painting. But newspaper gift wrap actually looks great.
This eye-catching alternative is original, eco-friendly and absolutely free. Save your money for actual gifts rather than spend it on paper that will soon end up in the trash. If black-and-white print is too bland for you, use ribbons to decorate it. Another alternative is to use old magazines, which have the printed effect of newspapers with more colors and shapes.
Breyer recommends using Japanese washi tape. "It’s beautiful and comes in all colors and patterns and then you don’t need a ribbon or as much decor," she suggests. Unlike regular tape, it is also recyclable and biodegradable. There are several other eco-friendly tapes if you want to keep your holidays green.
It Looks a Lot Nicer Than You'd Expect
You Can Also Use Magazines
3. Old Maps or Calendars
Similar to newspapers, Breyer suggests using old maps and outdated calendars.
It's time to finally put those road maps from 1989 to good use. The results look amazing and are perfect for anyone who thinks newspaper is too bland. Maps are particularly perfect if your gift is travel-related or meant for someone who spends every day daydreaming about worldwide adventures.
Calendars are also a visually different gift wrap alternative. Rather than throw away obsolete calendars, use them to impress everyone on Christmas. You can even save specific months for future birthday presents for a personalized wrapping paper that will melt hearts.
We love Breyer's idea of using your children's drawings (that haven't made it to the fridge) as gift wraps for the grandparents. "Parents usually have stacks and stacks of kid’s art and it makes kind of a bonus gift," she explains. “They’re cool, they’re really unique.”
Like newspapers, these options are completely free since you're using things that you already have in the house.
It's a Good Way to Reuse Things You Already Have (And Are Likely to Throw Away)
And It Won't Cost You a Single Penny
4. Fabric Wraps
In Japan, people traditionally use furoshiki, or wrapping cloths, to carry things and present gifts. Cloths have been used in many other societies since they make for a lightweight bag as well as a pretty wrap. "One of my favorite things is using fabric," Breyer claims, "because these have a dual purpose since they can also be a gift." This way, they'll get reused rather than thrown away.
You can find traditional furoshiki online, but you can also use other cloths. Breyer suggests fabrics like scarfs, tea towels, handkerchiefs and dinner napkins.
This chic gift-wrapping alternative can fit any style. Use silk scarves for a high-end item, cute tea towels for a cooking-related product and thrift-store cloth napkins for a vintage-style gift.
Tea Towels or Scarves Are Perfect for Wrapping Gifts
Fabric Wraps Are Great for Oddly Shaped Gifts That Are Hard to Pack
5. Fabric Bags
If you like the idea of a gift wrap that can be reused but want something sturdier than a cloth, consider fabric bags. Christmas-themed cotton bags are very easy to find and can be used again and again by different gift recipients.
It's like a holiday pay it forward that never has to end — unless someone wants to keep the bag and use it to wrap gifts for their spouse or kids every year, or to store holiday decorations.
But if you want to keep it simple, you can use a tote bag. There are about a billion uses for tote bags, and you can repurpose them as Christmas "stockings" or as gift bags. Pin them shut or fill them with tissue paper to hide the gifts inside.
People Can Keep the Cloth Bags and Use Them to Store Christmas Decorations
Or Reuse Them for a Future Gift
6. Baskets (and Other Containers)
Gift baskets are by no means a new idea. Yet it's surprising how many people don't realize their full potential.
This is another way to make the wrap part of the gift. Of course, an actual basket is perfect, since there are countless ways it can be reused. But you don't have to get literal about gift baskets. Breyer suggests alternatives like a flower pot if you're giving someone something garden-related.
There really is no limit to what can be used as a "basket." A large mug can be filled with coffee and chocolate, a colander can be used for cooking gifts, a shower caddy is perfect for home spa products and a bucket can be personalized to fit almost any theme. You could even use a six pack caddy to roll up different goodies. Let your imagination run wild with this one.
The Container Can Be Part of the Gift
And It Can Be Anything From a Basket to a Colander
7. Jars and Cans
Is it passé to use mason jars? Maybe, but sometimes fashion is simply wrong. The truth is that jars and cans have proven to be timeless decorations and make for great gift bags.
The best part is that you can use different materials depending on what you have at home or your specific idea. Glass and tin tend to be the most widely available and versatile. Both can be used bare or painted, or even coated with paper.
Glass jars are perfect for gift bundles that include several small things and tin cookie cans are good for gifting, well, home-baked cookies. But don't limit yourself to conventional uses. Both cans and jars can be used creatively and will be especially appreciated by people who like reusing items as much as possible.
Mason Jars Have Versatile Uses as Gift Wraps
And Tin Cans Are Not Just for Cookies
8. Lucky Thrift Store Finds
You may not be one of those really lucky people who score a thrift store find worth millions, but you do have a chance to find items that can work as gift boxes.
Vintage luggage and trunks, for instance, can serve as unique gift boxes. Chances are that the lucky person receiving said gift will be just as excited about the box as about what's inside.
You could also look for lunchboxes, which are durable and lightweight and often come with cool designs. If you find one with a TV show or movie that your loved one was obsessed about when they were children, they will never forget your awesome gift wrap.
Once again, this is an opportunity to make the gift box or wrap part of the gift itself, but this idea makes things much more personal and decidedly more unique. Of course, for it to work, you have to make sure that you're giving it to someone who loves and appreciates vintage items.
Lunchboxes Make for Great Personalized Christmas Gift Boxes
And, For the Right Person, So Does Vintage Luggage
9. Paper Bags
Brown paper packages tied up with string are one of Maria Von Trapp's favorite things. That's one thing we have in common with her.
We love paper bags for how simple they are. They look good even without decorations, but you can certainly show off your craft skills if you want by painting them. Encourage your kids to decorate their gift bags as a fun project that will get them excited to hand out gifts.
Although you can buy paper bags, you can also take the easy (and sustainable) route and reuse the paper grocery bags you get at the store. Punch a hole through them and tie them with twine for a more refined look. Trust us, no one will guess where you got the bags from.
You Can Stamp or Paint Them
Plus They Are Julie Andrews-Approved.
10. Empty Potato Chip Bag
This is perhaps the most unconventional of Breyer's suggestions. "There’s a trick where you can take a potato chip bag and turn it inside out and wash it and it’s like a silver foil gift bag," she tells Family Minded.
The result looks exactly like the silver foil wraps you unnecessarily spend money on at the store. Sure, it takes a bit of extra work, but it's a fun DIY project.
Get the kids involved to make it even funner — though they may be into it mostly to have an excuse to eat more chips.
It May Be Unconventional, But It Actually Looks Great
And It Fits Gifts of Different Shapes