Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Ideas You’ll Love

Eco-friendly Gift Wrap Ideas You'll Love

Did you know 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper is used each year? That’s around 50,000 trees. Why not do your bit for the environment and choose eco-friendly gift wrap this Christmas.

I remember as a child, each Christmas morning my sister and I would be up very early tentatively opening up all our presents. Gently encouraged by our mother to be careful with the paper and not tear it up too much so that it could be reused the following year. Well, not all of it but some pieces were salvageable.

I’m still mindful when opening gifts, even to this day and I’ll keep pieces which are good to be reused. I’m now a mum myself and always have a box of recycled wrapping paper on the go, coming in handy for emergency gifting and saves running to the high street for supplies. My daughter (now a teen), would always love to make gift tags out of last years cards or reuse them for other craft activities so the family tradition continues within her.

Christmas is always a time of much waste, items being panic-bought for the sake of having something to give to another and then going by the wayside. Not to mention all the discarded wrapping paper.

Throughout the latter part of the year, The Beauty Spyglass focussed on sustainability, making conscious choices and favouring ethically sourced products where possible. Continuing along those lines, I thought I’d share some gift wrap ideas for those conscious of unnecessary waste. Using recycled wrapping paper and reusable accessories, you can create beautifully wrapped gifts to sit elegantly under the Christmas tree whilst knowing you’re doing your bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love a bit of luxury, and naturally, I’m attracted to those pretty rolls of wrapping paper and matching gift tags but this type of paper isn’t eco-friendly, can be plastic-based and once disposed of sits in landfill for hundreds, and sometimes up to a thousand years! I’m becoming more and more conscious of our environment and try to do my bit by making small changes where I can.

This Christmas I decided to go ethical with my wrappings so I took to Google, just to see what was about but wasn’t particularly inspired but the extra cost involved. I like to support my local high street but interestingly, eco-friendly gift wrap isn’t so readily available, again I imagine the cost is an issue but one store which sprang to mind is Oxfam.

With a mixture of ethically made and sourced items inside it’s really worth taking a look with fresh eyes.

I discovered a few tubs full of 100% recycled, traditionally coloured gift wrap rolls in both plain and patterned designs. I chose plain gold as I’d already decided that would be my colour scheme for gifting this year. Each roll is 4 metres in length and is a little more than your average roll at £3.99


eco-friendly gift wrap ideas you'll love

 Given the price, I was actually surprised at just how many rolls were flying out the door.

If your budget won’t allow it, you could always pick up a roll of brown parcel or craft paper from The Card Factory, WHSmith or The Range which is really inexpensive. I paid £99p for mine. Plus, you tend to get more on the roll for your money.

Make your own coordinating trim

This has long been a favourite of mine and is really enjoyable to create. Cut a length of wrapping paper about two inches across and five in length (or choose your own dimensions). Next, take your scissors and carefully cut into strips, leaving half an inch at the top to keep it in one piece. Now, you’re ready for the fun bit –  use the scissors to carefully curl the lengths one at a time by starting at the top and applying even pressure as you drag the sharp side of the blade along each individual strand.

Finally, attach it to your wrapped gift with eco-friendly tape or glue. Remember, your average sticky tape isn’t recyclable so use sparingly and try to remove it from the paper before recycling.


Eco-friendly Gift Wrap Ideas You'll Love

Eco-friendly Gift Wrap Ideas You'll Love

Eco-friendly Gift Wrap Ideas You'll Love

Ribbon & Jute

Gifts tied up with ribbon will always look like you’ve gone the extra mile and far more attractive. All manner of inexpensive ribbon can be purchased in The Range or the haberdashery on your high street. There are usually lots of different seasonal styles and colours to suit all age groups and are reusable year after year.

My bright red 15-metre satin band ribbon is £0.90 and Jute string £1.00 both from Flying Tiger on my local high street.


Eco-friendly Gift Wrap Ideas You'll Love


Jute is a natural, vegetable fibre which is spun into coarse threads and has many uses around the home and garden. Of course, it’s equally lovely tied around a “brown paper wrapped” parcel. If you’d rather not stretch to ribbon then this is an alternative, plus a roll of plain jute is cheap to buy and there’s always plenty on the roll.

Reusable wooden gift tags

These can be personalised with your own words or design and reused each year. Give your friends and family a gift tag alternative they will love. If they’ll give them up without a fight,  stash them away somewhere safe ready to reuse next Christmas. Again, these are easy on the purse can be found in most craft departments or stores.

Get creative with the Christmas tree decs’

If you have some smaller baubles, remove the original loop and thread your piece of jute through attaching it to your parcel as I have below.

When it comes to Christmas and greeting cards… go paperless

Not exactly gift wrap, but certainly related – I was shocked to discover that around one billion Christmas cards will be headed straight for the bin once we’re done with Christmas this year, so why not do your bit to reduce such waste and go paperless instead?

Paperless Post is your one-stop online destination for paperless greetings cards, from Christmas to birthdays, save the date, flyers, and more! There’s literally a design for every conceivable occasion, and unlike its competitors; Paperless Post has teamed up with many top-name fashion houses, designers and lifestyle brands such as Kate Spade, Anthropologie and Vera Wang to create stunning designs for you to use. I’d highly recommend having a look if you want to continue with the eco-friendly theme this Christmas.


Eco-friendly Gift Wrap Ideas You'll Love

Eco-friendly Gift Wrap Ideas You'll Love

Eco-friendly Gift Wrap Ideas You'll Love

Remember, Christmas isn’t just about gifting.

In the words of Peg Bracken…

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas”

How do you feel about eco-friendly gift wrap? Do you prefer to make conscious choices? I’d love to get your take on it.


Image use: All content and imagery is the property of The Beauty Spyglass. If you would like to use any of the images (with credit link), Please email with your request detail.


  1. December 15, 2018 / 5:46 pm

    Love this post Samantha and the photos! All of these ideas are so lovely, I’m definitely going to try and give the trim a go! Love the wooden gift tags too. I’m making a conscious effort again this year to use brown paper to wrap my gifts. It’s so important to do our bit for the environment like you said xx

    Amelia /

    • Samantha
      December 15, 2018 / 6:07 pm

      I’m so pleased you’re going to give the trim a go. I did a few more today, it can be a little frustrating when a strand snaps off but you can always fold it in half to hide the missing one. Thanks lovely x

  2. December 15, 2018 / 11:02 pm

    This is such a great post! I didn’t even buy wrapping paper this year, I always reuse all my gift bags from the previous year. Your wrapping is so pretty!

    • Samantha
      December 15, 2018 / 11:21 pm

      That’s good to hear! Gift bags are great for reusing aren’t they! I do that too. Thanks lovely!

      • December 16, 2018 / 7:58 am

        They are! When I got married I saved every single gift bag and I’ve been using them whenever I have to buy a wedding gift for someone xD

        • Samantha
          December 16, 2018 / 8:40 am

          What a great idea. Good to hear you’re doing your bit too! Thanks for reading lovely x

  3. December 15, 2018 / 11:03 pm

    So creative! And very well thought.
    Your ideas are very nice.
    Details make the difference.

  4. December 16, 2018 / 1:24 pm

    This is such a great post Samantha! I’m loving the trim, it looks so effective and easy to do, thanks for the inspiration! Reusable wooden gift tags are a fantastic idea, I never even knew they existed. Your wrapping looks beautiful and even better knowing it is all eco-friendly and good for the environment. Thank you for sharing your fab suggestions! <3 xx

    Bexa |

    • Samantha
      December 16, 2018 / 4:33 pm

      Hi Bexa, so glad you feel inspired! The trim is really fun to make and always gets compliments as it’s a bit different! x

  5. December 16, 2018 / 1:41 pm

    Absolutely beautiful photos Samantha and such an important post! I wish I could wrap as beautifully as you. I have to admit I do get sucked in by the pretty wrapping in all of the stores sometimes but I’ve definitely tried to be more mindful this year and look for other alternatives. I love the idea of the wooden gift tags and I think brown parcel paper is a good choice too. It’s a good one to jazz up a little and get creative with xx

    Tiffany x

    • Samantha
      December 16, 2018 / 4:34 pm

      Thank you so much Tiffany. I agree, brown paper is a good base for jazzing it up. I was going to choose black ribbon but I just thought red was more festive! x

    • Samantha
      December 16, 2018 / 11:23 pm

      Thank you Christine! Oh, and a big thank you for all your support throughout the year! Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas time too! xx

    • Samantha
      December 16, 2018 / 11:26 pm

      Thank you! We really should be more mindful of what we’re using and try to cut down on waste if we can x

  6. December 17, 2018 / 6:33 pm

    Wow these are such gorgeous ways to wrap presents- the way you’ve accessorised them actually makes these look better than any standard wrapping paper. I’ll definitely be keeping this post in mind for future gifting but have a similar box to yours from last year full of gift bags and the paper I could save from last year for all my gifts this year! I love all of your sustainability posts.

    Soph – x

    • Samantha
      December 17, 2018 / 11:24 pm

      Thank you so much Sophie! I’m so pleased you’re enjoying my content, I had fun wrapping my gifts and making them look special. Yes! gift bags are great for reusing, aren’t they! If the tag has been written on I always replace it with a different one and no one would know! It’s great to hear you’re doing your bit too! Thanks for reading x

    • Samantha
      December 18, 2018 / 9:46 pm

      Thank you! Ahh, she is a cutie! Her hair is really long at the moment so she’s like a little woolly bear. x

  7. December 18, 2018 / 11:40 pm

    I so agree with you that so much waste happens during this season as we rush around to buy a gift just for the sake of giving something to someone. And then we generate even more waste wrapping said gifts!

    I was so excited to read this post because it’s great that there are so many more eco conscious options out there that won’t break the bank. Next year I need to be better about planning ahead and go with more sustainable options.

    • Samantha
      December 22, 2018 / 9:14 am

      So pleased to hear you agree! I found it actually works out less expensive to go eco-friendly with wrapping. My satin ribbon is still going strong and was so cheap and I’ve still got reams left for next year! If we all just make small changes, we can do our bit for the planet. X

    • Samantha
      December 19, 2018 / 11:26 pm

      it is shocking, isn’t it?! So much unnecessary waste but you’re right – gifts can still look attractive. There’s so much you can do to dress up brown or plain paper wrapping. Thanks for stopping by x

  8. December 21, 2018 / 11:37 pm

    I love this and your gifts look so stylish as well as ethical. I also saw someone suggest using material to wrap gifts in and reuse each year. I really wanted to be more ethical in my wrap but I’ve been so disorganised this year. Maybe next year. I’m going to save your article to hopefully share next December as it’s so useful!

  9. December 22, 2018 / 8:11 am

    Love your ideas in saving more paper and being eco-friendly while wrapping our presents. Will definitely take into account your tips next time I have to wrap presents.

    • Samantha
      December 22, 2018 / 9:07 am

      Thank you! So glad you’ve taken inspiration for next time x

  10. December 25, 2018 / 1:49 am

    That’s a great suggestion! I like your production very much. It looks very beautiful and easy to operate. Thank you for your inspiration! Most importantly, they are reusable wooden gifts. They are environmentally friendly and beneficial to the environment. We can strongly advocate it.

    • Samantha
      January 8, 2019 / 9:59 pm

      Thank you for your lovely comment. Yes, the woodeden gift tags are a great eco-friendly idea! x

  11. January 2, 2019 / 12:11 am

    I love this idea. I’ll admit I went searching for wrapping paper this year that would match my aesthetic not being conscious about the environment. I think next year I’ll definitely take it into consideration. You’re right, Christmas is a time where people can become quite wasteful in the heat of all the celebrations and joy.

    Thanks for sharing this unique blog post idea!

    xx, Des |

    • Samantha
      January 2, 2019 / 12:18 pm

      Hi Des, thank you for your comment. I was the same the year before, but once you alter your mindset you start questioning/considering what you do! It’s great to be more mindful in general, I think. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you all the best for 2019.x

    • Samantha
      January 8, 2019 / 9:55 pm

      Ah, that’s great to hear. I’m considering using fabric next year but we’ll see. I saw some using scarves to wrap gifts with which was a lovely idea too. Thanks for your kind comment x

  12. January 16, 2019 / 8:25 pm

    ¡Por supuesto! Además puedes personalizar el regalo como las gorras, un accesorio indispensable.

    • Samantha
      January 17, 2019 / 12:04 pm

      Muchas gracias! Gran idea. Espero que tengas un hermoso día. x

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