How to Have a Frugally Green Christmas – Wrapping Gifts & A GIVEAWAY!!

This is the third post in the series How to Have a Frugally Green Christmas. Read the first post on gift giving, and the second post on Christmas cards.

Photo by di_the_huntress

When you think about Christmas, one of the main images that probably comes to mind is the beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree. I remember as a child getting up on Christmas morning before everyone else and just sitting in the dark and staring at our Christmas Tree with the Christmas lights on and all of presents under the tree.

And I also vividly remember the huge trash bags that we would fill with wrapping paper, boxes, bows and packaging when we had finished opening our gifts. And I think our family was fairly conservative in this area. We saved gift bags, bows, and ribbon to reuse for as long as they still looked fairly decent. My dad would always open his gifts carefully so we could fold up his wrapping paper and use it again. We saved all our boxes and reused them year after year. It’s kind of a joke in our family, because when you open a gift and the box is for a crockpot, you know that’s not really what’s inside.

Photo by jennandjon

In America, we create an additional 1 million tons of waste during the holiday season.1 One million tons. Now, that includes more than just gift wrap, but that is a lot of trash. Most gift wrap is not recyclable because of the type of paper it is made out of, or it has dyes or metallics or other decorations that make it un-recyclable. So it all ends up in the trash.

But, it kind of defeats the purpose if you give a gift and the person knows what it is right away, right? So, how can we wrap our gifts and still be frugally green? If every family in America wrapped 3 gifts in re-used or re-usable material instead of new wrapping paper, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.2 Here’s how you can do your part!

1. Re-use gift bags, wrapping paper, bows, and ribbon. Be careful as you are unwrapping your gifts and try to salvage gift wrap that could be re-usable next year. You will save yourself the cost of buying all new wrapping paper, ribbons and bows. If every family reused just two feet of ribbon it would save 38,000 miles of ribbon and could tie a bow around the entire planet.2

2. Use alternative gift wrap. Save the comic pages from the Sunday newspaper for the next few weeks and use that to wrap your gifts. Or find old calendars with pretty pictures or magazine pages for wrapping smaller gifts. Your gifts will look unique and memorable.

3. Use recycled wrapping paper. Like Christmas cards, this is a more spendy option, but still a more earth friendly choice than traditional gift wrap.

4. Use re-usable gift bags. Last year my sister made me a bunch of re-usable gift bags for Christmas. It was such a great gift, and I’m so excited to use the bags to “wrap” my gifts this year. To me, this is the best option. It may cost a little more money than gift wrap up front, but will save you money in years to come, and there is no waste. You can keep the bags within the family and keep using them year after year, or if you are giving a gift to someone outside of the family you can make the bag a part of the gift. See below for your chance to win a set of your very own gift bags!!

Here’s a tutorial if you would like to make your own gift bags.
Or if you want to buy them, check out Etsy for lots of different options.

If you have simplified your gift list, then you will have fewer presents to wrap. Also, gift bags make wrapping presents MUCH easier! You just put the gift inside the bag, tie the ribbon and you’re good to go! No struggling with large rolls of wrapping paper. No measuring, cutting, folding, taping. No last minute rush to get the presents wrapped and under the tree (Oh, does that only happen in my family?) Less stress and still beautiful presents!

This giveaway is now closed!

Would you like to have your own set of reusable gift bags to use for wrapping presents this year? Like I said, my sister made me a set of bags last year, and she graciously made a set of 5 assorted bags, with coordinating ribbons, for me to giveaway to one lucky reader! Below is a picture of the bags, if you want to see an example of what they would look like all set up and pretty see the picture above.
To Enter:
Simply leave a comment below and tell us one of your favorite things about Christmas!

Also, there are two ways you can earn additional entries:
1. If you are a subscriber or follower of my blog, or sign up as a new subscriber or follower, you get an extra entry! Leave an additional comment saying you are a subscriber or follower.

2. If you blog about this giveaway on your blog, you can have another extra entry. Please leave an additional comment with a link to your post about this giveaway.

Giveaway ends on Tuesday, November 24th at 10:00pm EST. At that time a winner will be chosen by and will be announced the next day!


For more great frugal tips check out Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom, and Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life.


  1. […] Just like for Christmas, we can reduce the amount of wrapping paper that we buy to use just one time and then throw in the trash, by getting creative with wrapping gifts.  This year my daughter had two gifts wrapped in the comics, which she did enjoy ripping open, and two gifts wrapped in fabric gift bags, which she enjoyed opening just as much. […]

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