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5 Package-Free Wrapping Alternatives for the Holidays

My Granny has always used the same 5 squares of cloth to wrap presents for as long as I can remember. She uses them just like wrapping paper, fastening them with little pieces of scotch tape, and she always asks for them back as soon as we open our gift. When I was younger, I never thought much about it, but as I contemplate the huge amounts of plastic waste and over-packaging associated with the holidays, I wish more people would do the same! 

Here are 5 methods of zero-waste wrapping for the holidays, inspired by my granny:

1. Use materials you already have. Often we receive packaging from our friends or family that cannot be put in regular recycling, so consider re-using it for wrapping the following year. Things like gift bags, paper bags, ribbons and bows can be used over and over. Newspapers are a classic low-waste alternative to wrapping paper, but you could also consider something useful like a map or calendar page that you already have at home. Using neutral colours and twine, yarn or string means that materials can be used at any holiday again. To add a zero-waste festive touch, I love to add a sprig of spruce from my yard to the outside of the package. 

2. Fabric wrapping. You can use fabric and tape like my granny, or look to Japanese Furoshiki for inspiration. This traditional technique combines different folding and knot tying to create packages that look fantastic! Check out our Holiday Gift Bundles that are wrapped in squares of muslin cloth and tied off with a different colour fabric bow to see how we did it. You can use scraps of fabric you might already have at home, sew your own, or find silk scarves from the thrift store to use. 

Be like my granny and get in the habit of asking for your fabric wrapper back, or include the fabric as an added layer to your gift that encourages the recipient to pass along this method to their loved ones!

3. Ditch the packaging altogether! If you are gifting something like food that will be eaten right away, or will live on someone's shelf looking pretty - consider decorating the box or jar with festive doodles and forgetting wrapping at all! Paint pens or a paint brush with acrylic paint are an easy way to add some pizzazz to a jarred gift. Draw things like snowflakes, holly, or a hat and mitts and involve your kids for a fun winter activity!

4. Get creative with sewing, crochet or knitting. If you know how to sew, crochet or knit, and are up for the challenge, we love these tiny toques on our jars for some added cheer. These little cozy hats could be repurposed year after year, used as a Christmas tree ornament or even a doll hat. The yarn can even be unravelled to use in another knitting project later. 

5. Wrap in reusable shopping essentials. Wrap your gift in Abeego or make your own beeswax wraps to cover your present. Cloth bags are also a great way to promote bulk shopping and to wrap a present. I also love the idea of getting a collection of fun cloth tote bags from the thrift store to deliver your gifts in!

Do you have any other zero-waste wrapping ideas? Leave them in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

- Claire

Claire Lester is the Marketing Manager at Jarr, she is a graphic designer, avid crocheter, and has a background in biology. Claire loves zero-waste DIY projects and recipes that keep you crafty in the kitchen. She lives in Mount Pleasant with her partner Alex and their grumpy cat Sylvia. 


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