Eight of the Best Reusable Alternatives to Traditional Wrapping Paper

Eight of the Best Reusable Alternatives to Traditional Wrapping Paper

While wrapped presents are a big part of the joy of holiday gifting, all that disposable wrapping paper can seem pretty wasteful, not to mention expensive. Bringing in some reusable alternatives that actually look nice can add some sustainable and cost-effective beauty to your holiday gift-giving routine. The best alternatives to paper can even be a part of the gift itself. Here are some of the best ways to upgrade your wrapping skills with a sustainable twist.


Using cloth napkins, dish towels, or tea towels as wrapping can be both festive and reusable. During the Christmas shopping season, you can often find good bargains on these, and you might be surprised at how little you’ll spend on something that it’s hard to imagine anyone having too many of. Dish towels can be found in sets, as well as cloth napkins, making this practical, multi-use “wrapping” even more cost effective.

Leftover fabric

If you’re a crafter, you probably have leftover fabric hanging around that could be easily repurposed as gift wrap. You can cut it to whatever shape you want, so fabric can be practical for odd-shaped gifts or if you want to get creative with the style of wrapping. If you have longer, thinner strips of scrap, they can be used like ribbon to tie your packages.

Hair accessories

Headbands, scarves, and bandanas can make excellent gift wrap, as well as being great stocking stuffers for the gift recipient. Use a scarf or a bandana as wrapping with a stretchy headband or two to hold it all in place for a gift that is both pretty and practical.

Jars and tins

Depending on the size of your gift, jars and tins can make for a nice presentation, and you can add embellishments to make them more fun. Jars and tins don’t have to be just for cookies — you can fill them with other lovely small gifts like socks, jewellery, belts, hats, or other accessories. Adding some cloth ribbon or baker’s twine to finish it off will give it a cheerful touch.


Baskets can be a great way to wrap, using some other elements like fabric or dish towels as a part of the package. Baskets will often be popular with gardeners and crafters, but they’re likely useful to lots of people. Since they come in such a wide variety of shapes and sizes, baskets can be a good solution for odd-sized gifts, and they’re an attractive way to get outside the box with your gift wrapping this season.

DIY reusable Christmas box

To make a more traditional looking package, try using a hard sided wooden or cardboard box and some mod-podge to adhere some wrapping paper to the box. You’ll also need a foam brush to apply the craft glue. Once it’s dry, your box will be preserved for many Christmases to come.

Reusable shopping bags and totes

As an alternative to paper gift bags, reusable shopping bags or tote bags can be good for wrapping. With a wide variety of styles, you can find one that matches the size of your gift and looks just as good as a paper alternative, except that it can be used for all kinds of things after it’s been used to present your gift. Since you can find various reusable bags for about a dollar apiece, they’re also an affordable alternative to traditional wrapping. (Or you can use this as an opportunity to offload some of your own multiplying stash.)

Add embellishments

To add decoration to your holiday packages, you can use fabric ribbon, dried holly, pine sprigs, rosemary, and any other aromatic dried plants you like. Butcher’s twine, parachute cord, and ornaments are also reusable decorations that can add some style to your wrappings.


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