Wrap It Green: Alternative Gift Wrapping Ideas

Make the package part of the gift and make a party of wrapping it up.

| November/December 2005

In the midst of all the hubbub, it’s easy to forget that the holidays are meant to be a time for connecting with others and that gifts are a happy token of kinship with those we love. This year, turn what’s usually a harried, solitary to-do into a fun excuse to get together with friends by throwing a wrap party. A little food, some holiday music, and lots of great ideas for eco-conscious wrapping make for a creative, festive, and productive afternoon.

We gathered seven creative, environmentally aware friends and asked each to bring a half-dozen gifts that needed wrapping. We prepared a light, healthy selection of sandwiches (wraps, of course!), fruit, and bite-size cookies to nibble. The real smorgasbord, however, was the table laden with wrapping materials: recycled papers crumpled to resemble Florentine fabric; colorful, eclectic wallpapers cut from discarded sample books; raffia, hemp, and jute string; an intriguing pastiche of baubles and tags; and rubber stamps, stickers, and colorful pens to put a personal stamp on the packages.

After a couple of hours—and a heaping helping of enjoyable chatter —everyone had an armload of stunning, unique packages to share with others.

Crushed Paper 

Transform paper that looks unfashionably utilitarian into something that has a handmade texture resembling crushed silk. Paper that would otherwise be too stiff to use as wrapping can be crumpled and crushed to make a soft paper that wraps beautifully and defies its roots. The secret is to first ball up the paper, then unroll it, then crumple it repeatedly until it crushes easily into a small ball. Unroll it, smooth it out, and it’s ready to wrap.

What to recycle (and re-create!): 

12/6/2014 8:22:21 PM

Cute ideas, but I have used the 'new' newspaper (soy inks) and they smear easily and do not end up nice like the pix on the page. Just know that ahead.

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