Creative for Christmas – 5 great ways to recycle wrapping paper

Christmas gift and baubles on defocused lights background

If you have been into a supermarket or department store in the last month then you know it is well and truly that time of year again – Christmas time. Last year we spoke about some gift ideas that are great if you want to give a sustainable and practical present.

This year we want to look more at the idea of wrapping paper – of which, “we completely waste about 4,000 tonnes of wrapping paper each year – the equivalent of 25,000 trees,” says Bill Parker in his article from Green Times. That means there is a huge opportunity to give a gift back to the environment by finding some clever reuses for that happy wrapping.

Here are five ideas that we found quite easily:

5. Reuse for another gift

Ok, so you didn’t need me to tell you this one – everyone has known about reusing gift wrapping for eons, but how many of us actually do it? Planet Ark is reminding Aussies to recycle their wrapping paper this Christmas, but also to look for wrapping paper that is made from recycled content. The creative team at Planet Ark have also come up with some other great ideas for alternatives to wrapping paper.

4. Create decorations

In the lead up to Christmas, you might be looking at the paper that you have kept from last year thinking that there’s no way you’ll use it all on gifts. You can turn that paper into Christmas tree decorations quite quickly and easily, which also makes for a fantastic holiday craft for the kids.  All you’ll need is some cardboard, scissors, ribbon or string, the old paper, glue and some other craft materials like glitter.

Trace a shape (maybe a star) onto the cardboard, then onto the old wrapping paper (x2) then cut them out. Glue the coloured paper on each side of the cardboard and add glitter as you see fit.

There’s nothing quite like some home made Christmas decorations for the tree to add to the sentimental value of the tree.

3. Create gift cards

Similar to the decorations, creating your own Christmas cards will use the same materials and keep the kids busy for a bit longer, as well as saving you money. This works especially well if the old wrapping has a special image or wording.

Simply cut the cardboard and fold it to form the card, then glue the wrapping paper to the front and back. Once you’re happy with the decoration, open the card and write a special message to your loved ones.

2. Origame

If you don’t have any glue handy, then oragame is also a great way to reuse some of your wrapping paper. There are plenty of Christmas related origame instructions out there, from Christmas trees and snowflakes to mini Santas and stars. You’re sure to find something that matches your Christmas wrapping design, like the example in the following video for an origame Christmas Tree decoration.

1. Another fine art from Japan

From the same country that gave us origame, here is another idea – not to reuse wrapping paper but to use something more practical to wrap the present. Furoshiki is a type of traditional cloth which was used for wrapping gifts. Today you might use a tea towel or even an item of clothing to wrap gifts. Find out some more about Furoshiki from theKitchn blog.

Whichever way you choose to reuse or recycle this Christmas, we wish you and yours a safe and sustainable Festive Season.

Do you have some ideas about reusing or recycling your Christmas wrapping? Comment below and let us know what you’ll be doing with your wrap this year.


  • Nice use of video. I feel not enough people utilize video to demo the ideas. Its so good and gets across clearly what needs to be done. I put one on our blog:

  • FranTasTic

    …or you could scrunch it up and tie it with pretty ribbon?