Changing the day one present at a time.
fabric giftwrap
Credit: Addie Juell

As you begin packing up presents and tying on bows, you may want to consider going green this year-and we're not talking about the color. According to the latest data from Pinterest, searches for more eco-friendly ways to wrap that special something have been trending this holiday season (and honestly, we are all for it!).

"Pinners are gravitating towards more sustainable gifting trends, with searches for 'zero waste gift wrapping' spiking 75 percent since last year," Larkin Brown, Pinterest's User Researcher tells us. "We're seeing a lot of pinners saving ideas around creative techniques like Furoshiki, which is a Japanese art that uses cloth to create a beautifully packaged gift. Pinners are also trying super simple ideas, like reusing brown paper bags and burlap, and adding pretty details, like fresh mistletoe, to make them feel even more special."

Not only does this news have us tapping into our inner minimalist ideals and finding crafty ways to upcycle old boxes, but we're betting Mother Nature sure is thankful, too. According to the National Environmental Educational Foundation, the amount of garbage Americans toss out between Thanksgiving and New Year's increases by about 25 percent. That's nearly one million extra tons of trash discarded every week, including a total of 38,000 miles of ribbon by the end of the year. Not exactly the most jolly.

Fortunately, wrapping with less doesn't have to mean less beautiful-or less fun. Here are our favorite ways to add a little zero waste gift wrapping into your holiday preparations (plus, why it can be tricky to recycle conventional wrapping paper).

12 Genius Ways to Recycle Leftover Wrapping Paper


This traditional art of wrapping with cloth isn't only handy for toting around your lunch in style, but also acts as a two-in-one present for any giftee. Make or opt for cute fabrics that your craft-lover can reuse in a sewing project, or choose a chic scarf your stylista friends will flip for. Furoshiki can even help you dress up a bottle of wineor cooking oil for your foodie friends or hostess with the mostess.

Wrapped Package


We always knew brown paper packages tied up with string were a few of our favorite things, and now they're totally on trend (and much easier to recycle than most conventional wrapping papers). Keep present-packing sweet and simple with a roll of butcher paper and a spool of raffia string. Then, add a bough of holly or sneak a branch of greenery from your wreath for a pop of color and a festive scent. Feeling extra inspired? Try making your own bows out of recycled paper and old magazines with our how-to video here.

HERE'S: Another Festive Way to Reuse Brown Paper Packaging
paper mesh gift wrap
Credit: Jong Hyup


Don't toss these paper tubes just yet! With this recycling idea, Pinned nearly 3,000 times, you can turn an empty roll into a miniature gift box in seconds. Or take it to the next Martha-level and transform the rolls into these charming yule log favor boxes or a traditional paper Christmas cracker.

TRY: These Other Crafty Ways to Make Your Own Christmas Crackers
plant gift bag
Credit: Pernille Loof


These aren't just for packing lunches or bagging groceries. With a few easy embellishments they can be upcycled into pretty packages, especially perfect for those hard-to-wrap items (such as a plant). Try adding a cute button seal, decorating the edges with scallop-edged scissors, or adorning the bags with stamps, cut-outs, or washi tape.



Whether you fill them with homemade sweets or DIY beauty treats (try our bath fizzies, sugar scrub, or homemade scented candles) glass jars make the perfect eco-packaging for gifts. Save a variety of sizes, from pasta sauce and jam jars to empty baby food containers or larger pickle jars. Then, wash and dry thoroughly and remove any stubborn labels with Martha's tips. The best part? Once your giftee has enjoyed its contents, the jar can easily cleaned out and reused. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving-especially to the planet.

Feeling inspired? Watch how to make gift-toppers with recycled materials:


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