The Inexpensive & Eco-Friendly Giftwrapping Trick

Updated on December 20, 2017
BethanyHalbert profile image

I'm on a mission to save the world and a couple of bucks! Here I share my creative solutions to life's everyday problems.

What's the Best Way to Wrap Gifts in an Eco-Friendly Way?

Reuse old magazines! I've found that you can wrap pretty much any shape, from cylinders to books, with just a bit of creativity. I demonstrate several different wrapping techniques below.

The most wonderful time of the year

I love Christmas! The holidays are such a wonderful time to be with family, enjoy special movies, music and books, and eat many yummy treats. I love celebrating Jesus' arrival, peace on earth, and a promise fulfilled. Just as that was God’s amazing gift to us, we also get to exchange gifts with those we love!

I remember when I was younger, other children would talk about how much they loved their birthdays because of the presents. I always argued that Christmas was far better because everyone received gifts instead of just one person. Before you think me too altruistic, I had two siblings that were very close in age to me, so Christmas meant three times as many toys coming into the house.

We buy a lot of gifts second hand, both because you can get great deals that way, but also because it means those things won’t end up in a landfill!

Being kind to the earth (and your budget)

Now as an adult, buying all of those presents means thinking more intentionally about our budget as the holidays approach. We also try to be intentional about buying presents that won’t create a lot of waste. We buy a lot of gifts second hand, both because you can get great deals that way, but also because it means those things won’t end up in a landfill! It creates a win-win situation.

Another challenging element of gift giving is wrapping paper. I hate paying for something that I know will just get ripped off and thrown in the trash. I must confess, we’re the type of family that collects old bows, reuses gift bags for years, and saves large swaths of wrapping paper if they’re in good condition. At the same time I love the look and feel of all those perfectly wrapped packages under the tree.

The Christmas catalog
The Christmas catalog

A solution right in front of me

This year as the holidays approached, the gifts to wrap started piling up. I wanted to get started on the job, but we didn’t have extra money in our budget that week. What we did have was a Christmas gift catalog that had been delivered into our mailbox because of the previous tenant. It was filled with beautiful pictures of Christmas decorations and candy boxes. I realized those images looked just as good if not better than most wrapping paper, so I began pulling pages out and was very pleased with the results!

Doesn't this page look great?
Doesn't this page look great?

Here are three different types of scenarios I encountered when it came to the shapes and sizes of the gifts:

The small rectangular package

As you can see the package is much smaller than the page.
As you can see the package is much smaller than the page.

I started with the easiest gift: a small book that I knew could be covered with a single sheet of paper. As you can see, the sheet from the catalog fit around the package just fine. In this case you can simply wrap like you would any other present.

The larger rectangular package

This package is much closer to the size of my page.
This package is much closer to the size of my page.

After that, I had some larger rectangles to wrap. They weren’t too challenging, except that they were too big for a single sheet. To solve this problem I began by lying the present on top of the sheet and creasing the edges up around it. Then I laid the second sheet on top and creased the edges so they hung down over the first sheet. I taped the edges of the two sheets together, and then creased the corners, taped them down, and then taped the seams all around the edge.

The first item like that that I wrapped I tried doing the corners of the bottom sheet first, and then placing the second sheet on top, almost like a box. I found it worked much better when I taped the sheet edges together first and then worried about the corners.

The long skinny cylinder

There are always those gifts that test our skills, and I found this cylinder to be a little difficult. After puzzling it over a bit I rolled one sheet around the bottom half of the cylinder and trimmed a second sheet to go on the top half. I lined them up very carefully before I applied the tape. I gave myself just enough margin on the ends to fold them up into neat triangles and tape them down.

I carefully matched the edges of the paper.
I carefully matched the edges of the paper.

A great new trick

I can’t wait to give these gifts to my family! I love their unique look, and I’m thrilled that we were able to put that catalog to good use instead of throwing it away. It makes me want to cruise all of our local stores to see what other unusual wrappings could be out there.


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    • BethanyHalbert profile image

      Bethany Halbert 2 months ago from West Virginia, USA

      Thanks Renee! It's definitely easier if the paper you're using is bigger than the gift. Taping together multiple pieces of paper can be hard. But if you're looking for something to make your wrapping different and unique this is a great way!

    • renee21 profile image

      renee21 3 months ago

      I love Christmas too. I'm not a great gift-wrapper, so I'll have to try these tricks.