Reduce, Reuse, Rejoice

Ribbons and homemade wrapping enhance your gifts year after year!

Reduce, Reuse, and Rejoice this season while saving the planet and your wallet!  I believe packaging is almost as important as the gift but you don’t have to spend a fortune on  typical “use-and-toss” commercial paper gift wrap and bows to make your gift special.  Instead, recruit your own elves (in this case my 8 year old daughter and 6 year old son) to create extraordinary gifts the recipients are sure to remember.  Here are a few tips for wrapping and trims that can be used over and over, year after year!


  • Repurpose grocery bags.  Cut open and use non printed side.  Have your kids paint or use stampers to decorate.  Admittedly, I do most of the holiday shopping.  By having kids decorate gifts they feel involved and proud on opening day.
  • Fabric scraps work great especially for my young nieces who then “repurpose” wrapping into doll dress and other crafts.  I stapled in key corners and dabbed elmers glue along the edges to hold in place.
  • Boxes either as is (if it is appealing with no writing) or wrap top and bottom separately so box can be used over again next season.
  • Gift bags (cloth, paper or plastic). Cliche? Not really when it comes to being green.  And your certain to bring a smile when you add a special trim or handmade ornament .
  • Coffee and chip bags. After use, carefully inside out bags and wash with warm soapy water.  The metallic wrapping is festive and economical!


  • “Real” ribbons.  Yes, the kind you buy at a fabric store or if your lucky find at an antique store  (currently  60% off JoAnne Fabrics)
  • Pine cones. Sydney collected a bag in the fall.  Use floral arrangement wire to twist and connect to package.
  • Artificial greens. These can be cut up into smaller pieces and attached to pinecones.
  • Snowflakes. What kid doesn’t like making snowflakes?  Channel that creativity into adorable gift toppers.

See?  Incorporating sustainability into your lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard!  Please post your comments and suggestions to keep the ideas flowing!


  1. Robbin Lenardon says

    I’ve been scratching my head about why people are willing to spend so much money on mailers, and why they can’t be made reusable. I have been having fun making my own. For some, I line the outside paper (HEAVY gift wrap, or fused plastic bags) with old bubble wrap (I’ve been making the outside part on my sewing machine). For others, that don’t need to be padded, I’ve been experimenting with wallpaper. So far I’ve only tried the fabric-backed type. I guess I probably won’t know if my recipients reuse these–but I least I’m making mine out of upcycled materials. Maybe I need to write “please reuse me” on them 🙂

    • Robbin Lenardon says

      I also have lots of yarn scraps. You can tie the box with the yarn, and then top it with a matching pom pom. Pom poms can look very cool when made with a variety of yarns.

  2. Gina, this is a great idea. I have a bunch of Whole Foods bags that I am going to wrap gifts in this year.

    Hope you guys are well…

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