Have yourself a green little Christmas

Green gift wrap ideas

Looking for some festive gift wrap ideas which are a little more green?

Try these top tips for accessorising your special gifts, alternative gift wrap ideas and quick recycling tips.

Brown paper wrapped packages tied up with strings and green foliage

We use how much paper?

Do you un-wrap gifts like an excited puppy pounding snow for the first time, or do you gently open every corner to savour the moment?

Either way, there’s no denying, unwrapping is exciting for everyone involved.

Seeing little ‘uns hardly able to contain themselves as they open surprises lovingly left by Santa is like nothing else.

But, did you know, in the UK alone, we’ll use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper this year, and over 83m2 of this will be thrown away.

Of course, wrapping paper doesn’t stick itself, so we’ll also use around 40 million rolls of tape.

So, the average home will rip their way through four rolls of wrapping paper.

We’re clearly a very generous and gifting bunch, but these startling numbers do make us think about how we’re gifting our planet.

Of course, no one’s suggesting we forget about gift wrap entirely and present our family with surprises pulled out from under our Christmas jumper.

But, there are a few things we can do, and actually they’re pretty cool.

Quick Gift Wrap Recycling Tips

Interesting fact…

The glistening paper we all know and love will not be recycled. Many councils are refusing bins containing any glitter as it contaminates the recycled material and clogs machinery.

So as obvious as it sounds, just making sure we send our wrapping paper away in the correct bin is a start. Every council in the UK recycles paper and around 98% will recycle card, too.

Scrunch test…

Not all wrapping paper can be recycled so it’s best to do a quick scrunch test. If the paper stays scrunched, it can be recycled. If it quickly un-scrunches, it’ll be covered with a film which can’t be recycled.

Tip: Remember to remove any bows, ribbons or sticky tape which can’t be recycled before sending away your wrapping paper.

Alternative green gift wrap ideas sure to jingle their bells

Accessorise!

Think festive leaves, beautiful berries and gorgeous pine to jingle all the senses…

We’ll jump straight to the accessories. Mainly because these are super festive and our favourite part of wrapping. They are also the perfect place to start as you can base your gift wrap ideas on them. (Make sure to read on for our alternative gift wrap ideas.)

Try using recyclable ribbon, bows and string to tie these accessories to your gifts. They’ll look stunning under the tree:

Little cuts from a Christmas tree

Add a gorgeous pine scent by taking a cut from your Christmas tree.

Beautiful berries and dried orange slices

Adds a dash of colour and delicious scents. Dry out or bake a few Satsuma slices and tie together with cranberries or holly berries.

Cuts of Holly and mistletoe

Readily available at Christmas time, take little cuts for those special gifts.

Cinnamon sticks

Share a deliciously warming wintery spice – looks amazing and smells divine.

Winter leaves

Take a few from the garden, sprinkle and tie, for gifts reminiscent of a winter woodland.

Sprigs of rosemary and thyme

Looks lovely and the delicious scents will get everyone in the mood for their Christmas roast!

Pine cones

Easy to collect, looks beautifully rustic for a natural winter woodland feel

Top tips for attaching accessories to your gifts:

  • Tying cuts of pine, mistletoe, sprigs, leaves and holly;

String is the key! String your parcel first by placing the string over the length of the parcel, cross both ends underneath the parcel and bring them back around the width of the parcel to the front. Before tying into a bow, wrap one end of the string twice around the end of your pine cut or thyme sprig. Slot a few winter leaves underneath the string and sprigs.

  • Adding pine cones, berries and dried orange slices;

Florist wire is perfect for this as it’s easy to bend around the cones and fruit slices. Tuck a piece of wire underneath a bottom layer of scales, all the way around your pine cone, leaving a small length of wire at either end. Next, string your parcel and tie tight with a bow. Finally, twist both ends of wire around the taut piece of string. For berries, bend the wire around the bottom of the cluster. Orange slices tuck under the string and sprigs.

  • Tying cinnamon sticks;

Natural colour string blends into the cinnamon stick perfectly. String your parcel (as in step 1) and before tying into a bow, wind one end of the string around the middle of your cinnamon stick a couple of times and tie both ends of string into a knot so that it’s tight.

The beauty of biodegradable accessories:

  • Can be re-gifted
  • Can be reused as festive decorations
  • They smell divine
  • Easy to dispose in the food bin once they’re past their best

Green present wrapping: alternative ideas

So you have decided on how you will embelish and accessorise your gifts – but how will you wrap them in the first place? Here are a few different green gift wrap ideas which will provide the perfect blank canvas for your festive decorations.

  • Brown paper rolls – Traditional brown paper feels wonderfully nostalgic and looks beautifully rustic. It is also extremely cheap to buy and comes in really long rolls so you are less likely to run out. You should be looking at around 25 metres for £5 – £10.
  • White paper sheets – These look clean, fresh and everyone has some at home. Kids can add their own festive drawings for that personal touch. You can also save time by writing names directly onto the paper instead of using gift tags.
  • Tissue paper – There’s just something about unwrapping tissue paper that feels a little bit special. It’s available in a variety of colours and is easy to twist around curvy edges. It can be easy to rip but this can be a good thing for small children.
  • Reusable gift bags – Everyone loves a good gift bag. They make wrapping very easy (as there is none!) and they’re reusable so they can be re-gifted time and time again. No paper waste to recycle!
  • Cardboard gift box – Less can be more with a gift box – plain cardboard boxes are more cost effective than pre- decorated boxes and gives more scope for customising with accessories. Traditional brown boxes are widely available, reusable and work beautifully with a natural winter woodland theme.
  • Newspapers – This may sound slightly off-piste, but newspapers look stunning once accessorised. It’s a great chance to reuse newspapers at home and easy to recycle after.
  • 100% recyclable gift wrap – If you don’t fancy using accessories to jazz up your gift wrap, source printed recyclable gift wrap – many shops offer this.
  • Biodegradable sticky tape – Don’t forget the tape! This does exactly what it says. Easy to use with no hassle. So not all that easy to find, but with plenty of resources available online, buy in advance and be prepared. Look for paper tape or cellulose tape. Cellulose is made from wood pulp so will biodegrade. The benefit of paper tape is it can be recycled, but you will need to find double sided paper tape or use paper wrapping if you want it to look right.