Reusable Gift Wrapping

Holiday wrapping with play cloths

Last minute and you aren’t sure what you’ll use to wrap gifts?

Don’t reach for paper. All you need to create colorful holiday gift wrap is a cloth bag, a tea towel, or a play cloth. No more post-holiday bags of garbage. Reduce and reuse.

  • Sew a bag. Even last minute, it’s very quick to sew a bag. I did this the year I decided I was done with paper wrapping. I used soft printed cotton flannel lining inside, cotton velvet outside, and colored cords as ties. I made about a dozen bags from a few inches square to several feet square to accommodate a lot of different gifts. Grandma was staying with us that year, and even she thought these were nice enough to skip the paper.
  • Use play cloths. A lot of children have a collection of silk or cotton play cloths in a variety colors. My children still use theirs, but I confiscate them during the holidays to wrap gifts. We like the play cloths especially because they are bright colors. We combine them, make creative knotwork, and tie gifts together. A lot of gifts end up looking like christmas crackers. The fruity gift above was wrapped in an old curtain that has since become a play cloth.
  • Self wrap. This is certainly the least elegant way to wrap gifts, but it can work. Our pajamas this year were used to wrap slippers and books. The colorful sleeves made nice bows on top.
  • Buy tea towels. If you are giving gifts away and you don’t want to use paper for wrapping, how about a nice tea towel. Especially if you are giving a food gift to family members and neighbors, it works really well to add a useful towel as a cover.

With reusable wrapping, you still get the joy of anticipation (“What could that shape be?”) and the fun of untying and unwrapping bit by bit until the gift is revealed. You also get the satisfaction of knowing you aren’t creating more waste.

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