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Eco-Friendly and Reusable Gift Wrap Ideas

Dec 6, 2022

Eco-Friendly and Reusable Gift Wrap Ideas

Dec 6, 2022

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a tiny commission, at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure here.

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a tiny commission, at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure here.

Here are some easy ideas for reusable gift wrap to make your holiday more eco-friendly. I’m recycling this blog post from last year, because I like to stay on topic… ha! You might also like my post on Gorgeous Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap (just paper options) if you need to wrap something more securely for prying eyes.

If you’re into sustainable, reusable gift wrap – often much easier and faster than traditional wrapping paper – you’re in the right place. Let’s tear into it…

Wrap Kitchen/Bath Gifts in a Tea Towel

I love giving gifts wrapped in a tea towel – it’s a bonus gift! This works great for both kitchen and bath gifts. I recently gave my neighbors some corn muffins and wrapped the tupperware container in a tea towel. They were more excited about the towel than the muffins!

Here’s how to wrap a box in a Turkish towel. This blue towel is one of my favorites from The Bali Market (check them out and save 20% with code LIST20!). I tied some yarn around it and tucked in a fresh clipping from our Christmas tree.

Read More: My Favorite Affordable Turkish Towels

Turkish towel (Get 20% off with code LIST20)
wrap in a tea towel

NEW for December 2022

I just bought a fresh batch of Turkish towels for gifts this year. These are all lovely colors for the December holidays. Wouldn’t a nice hand towel make a fabulous little gift paired with a cute mug and tea or local soaps and lotion? Be sure to use my discount code LIST20 and save 20%!

This 3-pack of tea towels is a nice set and such a deal! They are a tad smaller than other hand towels from The Bali Market, which just means they are a standard kitchen towel size. They can also serve as oversized napkins, and the 3-pack colors include red, taupe, and navy stripes on cream.

Use code LIST20 for 20% off your purchase!

tea towel set in red, taupe, navy stripes

Here are more great options. I love all three of these styles, and I ordered them for a range of holiday-ish colors. The Waffle Weave is light, soft, and absorbent, the Essential Stripe is the largest hand towel and crazy-soft, and the Perfect Classic starts out crisp but softens up beautifully over time (it might be my favorite).

Essential Stripe in green | Waffle Weave in navy | Waffle Weave in green | Perfect Classic in taupe

You can see the Perfect Classic has a white background/tassels versus the cream tassels on the others. This color is “taupe” but it’s a true greige and very pretty. Here’s a more accurate shot of the color below.

Use code LIST20 for 20% off your purchase!

Perfect Classic towel in taupe

This is for my mom, so I can’t tell you what’s in the gift… but the Waffle Weave green towel looks cute as wrapping, doesn’t it?

I like to add a fun ribbon and accessories to dress up the gift, when possible. These jingle bells are a great deal at Target – $5 for a box of 12 bells. The greenery is clipped from my yard.

striped towel (set of 3) | navy waffle towel | bells | taupe string | red ribbon
(Need to Wrap More Securely? Read This!)

Gorgeous Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap

eco friendly gift wrap

Cloth Reusable Gift Wrap

On to more traditional cloth gift wrap – gift bags! I bet most of us already save and reuse paper gift bags that are in good shape. Have you tried fabric gift bags yet? After the initial investment, you’ll reuse these bags indefinitely. You could also invest in some stylish gift wraps and give those as presents.

Get gift ideas here! >> Ultimate DIYers and Makers Gift Guide <<

reusable gift wrap cloth bags

We have a variety of these fabric bags, which were actually a gift from my sister-in-law many years ago. Some have cute cloth bows and others came with wired ribbon, which is fantastic.

wired ribbon and cloth bow
similar red wired ribbon | similar plaid ribbon | similar gold ribbon

The ribbon actually does double duty. It closes the bag and it looks fancier than a drawstring. I also use it on other cloth-wrapped gifts, not just bags.

reusable gift wrap
similar gold ribbon | similar red wired ribbon

I’ll share sources for similar items below, but if you can sew, you could make these bags yourself. Pick out festive fabric and make bags with a drawstring or to pair with a wired ribbon.

You can also make or buy Japanese-style fabric wrap, called furoshiki, which is a beautiful square of cloth that is tied around the gift. I added a jingle bell to spruce it up, below. Furoshiki has exploded in popularity recently, here in the US, and the best variety of fabrics is at Etsy.

reusable gift wrap
jingle bell set for $5

Here are some cute choices from Amazon. This set of 12 bags in different sizes is a great deal, and they can be used for any occasion. You can click on the image.

I’m debating this cute set of 3 large Christmas bags which look nice for large gifts. You can click on the image.

Etsy is a great source for cloth bags and reusable wrapping. Here are just a few of the many options:

Amazon Gift Bags – Wrap Service Option

Another easy way to build a collection of reusable gift bags is to pay for the gift wrap service when you order presents through Amazon. If you have Prime and can order gifts with free shipping, it’s often less expensive to pay for the gift bag than to wrap and ship items yourself!

My brother has been sending us gift-wrapped items from Amazon for a few years, and we now have a nice collection of these bags. They are made of thick fabric, come in different sizes, and have a built-in drawstring. Piece of cake!

Get gift ideas here! >> Ultimate DIYers and Makers Gift Guide <<

reusable gift wrap bags from Amazon

Upcycle Festive Boxes and Bags

If you’re ready to level up your reusable gift wrap game, keep an eye out for festive boxes and bags that can be repurposed for future gifts.

We come by this reusable gift wrap hoarding honestly. My thrifty grandparents were known for it. My extended family even has an annual gift exchange where upcycled gift wrap is judged and awarded for creativity. Wyatt’s side of the family excels at upcycling, too. I bet his mother is wondering when I will regift that cute red bag (above) back to her.

boxes and tubs for reusable gift wrap

But Wait… What About Regular Wrapping Paper?

We still wrap some gifts in traditional wrapping paper. Small items in stockings, packages sent away to relatives, and the big, exciting toys from Santa all get the regular treatment. When you’re seven, there’s nothing better than tearing the paper off a new Lego toy you’ve been obsessing over for months, right?

Get gift ideas here! >> Ultimate DIYers and Makers Gift Guide <<

wrapping paper

The problem is that not all wrapping paper can be recycled. If fact, I recently learned that Denver treats all wrapping paper as trash! We do have a local company that will accept wrapping paper to recycle for a small fee.

I admit, I’ve always thought plain wrapping paper was fine, and it still may be… Digging deeper, various paper companies and recycling sites claim that simple paper wrap probably can be recycled. If it passes the “scrunch test” and stays in a ball when you crush it, regular wrapping paper should be safe to recycle. Make sure it has no glitter, foil, or heavy lamination, and remove the tape to be safe. Here’s a good overview.

recycle wrapping paper
“Meowy Christmas”

We’re also using up our old stash of metallic and plastic ribbon and bows. I’ll try to get my act together and save the bows for reuse. Then, I plan to switch to more eco-friendly options.

ribbon, bows, and wrapping supplies

**Update 2023 – More Sustainable Wrapping Choices**

Since first writing this, I have discovered beautiful paper options that are recyclable and/or compostable! Check out this post:

Gorgeous Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap


While researching this article, I started shopping for brown kraft paper or simple printed brown paper. I researched ribbon and bows and found some good, recyclable choices. This raffia ribbon is biodegradable and recyclable. How cute are these book page bows? Although I wouldn’t throw them out! For crafty folks, here’s an svg file to make paper star bows with a Cricut machine. Here are more recyclable choices, although some of these items are so pretty, you’ll want to save them anyway! Scroll right to see more.

However you choose to wrap gifts this year, I hope you are looking forward to a safe and festive holiday!

Recent Posts from List in Progress

list in progress projects

1 – The Ultimate DIYer’s Gift Guide
2 – Tips to Install and Stain a New Front Door
3 – Christmas Decor to Grab Before It’s Gone
4 – Winterize Your Life + Mental Health


Hi! I’m Erin, a Colorado-based home improvement blogger and lover of all things DIY. I aim to inspire creative folks to tackle home improvement with confidence and style. READ MORE

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