The Glorious Gift of Wrapping Paper

Not the kind you’re thinking about…

It has been 4 months since I started going zero waste. I have accumulated a lot of stuff in that time; unwilling to throw anything away. I have paper bags, tissue paper, calendars, magazines, newspapers, junk mail, crinkly maps and much much more. At one point I tricked myself into thinking I would shred the junk mail and make my own paper out of it. The naive part of me holds onto that hope. But the sifter thingy I would have used to make the paper is now hanging on my wall as a shelf… It looks great. I’ll have to think of something else to do with all of that paper.

Now that Halloween is behind us, I can finally start talking about Christmas and the gift giving season! This Christmas will be my first since my attempt at zero waste and I’m excited to see how creative I can get. The first thing I have decided to eliminate from my present-presenting routine is wrapping paper! $5 for some penguins wearing scarves that will ultimately get ripped to death and tossed in the bin? No thanks, too morbid for my holiday taste. But gift wrapping in my family is essentially an extreme sport. My mother could turn a noodle into the most gorgeous display of buoyant curls. My sister wraps presents the same way a 5-star General folds sheets. And I covet trash in the corners of my room like a crazed raccoon. We all play to our strengths. And this year, I vow to turn my garbage wrapping paper into the most rustic, on message, and Pottery Barn- worthy display of giving my family has ever seen. So naturally, I turned to Pinterest.

And you know what Pinterest told me? People love dried fruit and dead plants on their gifts. Extra points if the gift looks like you just pulled it out of this Fall’s harvest.

So with that in mind, I set out to gather my materials. First, I must choose the canvass on which my decorations will rest. Considering I haven’t decided what gifts I will be giving, I’ll narrow my options down to a few.

  1. Burlap Sacks
  2. Newspaper
  3. Fabric Scraps
  4. Old Maps

Then, the question of ribbon to hold the whole thing together.

  1. Fabric Scraps
  2. Old Twist Ties
  3. Garden Twine
  4. Old Floss (jk… unless people are cool with that?)

And of course, the thing any good display gift has: adornments! This year I’m thinking…

  1. Dried Oranges
  2. Evergreen Twigs
  3. Pine Cones
  4. Heck, maybe I’ll tie little trinkets that the thrift store wouldn’t accept to the packages. The sky is quite literally the limit.

What are some things to avoid?

  1. Tape
  2. That plastic shiny ribbon that curls up into Shirley Temple ringlets.
  3. wrapping paper… obviously.
  4. Burning fossil fuels at an extremely high rate and constantly investing in worn out technology when science has provided us answers we are unwilling to explore in policy… but we’ll discuss that another time. This post is about wrapping paper! Woohoo!


You have about 6 weeks to continue gathering supplies for your holiday gift wrapping! I will continue to post updates on my packages, as I know you guys are just aching for visual models. I got you. For now, Hold onto that newspaper and resist the urge to buy new wrapping paper. If you desperately need to impress some in-laws, I suggest buying wrapping paper at a thrift store. If you’re local or live close to DC, then check out UpCycle Creative Reuse Center in Alexandria, VA!

Now go get creative with your presents!




One Comment on “The Glorious Gift of Wrapping Paper

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