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22 November 2023

Sustainable Style: eco-friendly gift-wrapping with St Michael's Hospice Shops

Are you in need of some Christmas wrapping inspiration? Lucky for us, our Content and Campaigns Executive, Rhiannon, is at hand with some great ideas

Are you in need of some Christmas wrapping inspiration? Lucky for us, our Content and Campaigns Executive, Ani, is at hand with some great ideas of how you can make great creative wrapping with eight sustainable gift-wrapping ideas.

“Getting crafty at Christmas is one of my favourite things, so I’m keen to share some handy tips I’ve picked up over the years that not only look great under the tree but can help you be more sustainable too!

– Ani, Content & Campaigns Executive

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Wrapping Alternatives | Decorations | Bags & Baskets

1. Buy wrapping paper and gift bags from your local charity shop

From November, make your way to your nearest charity shop and browse for rolls of wrapping, gift bags, and gift boxes. I’ve spotted plenty of great wrapping paper, tons of gift bags and even some sparkly gift boxes on my visit to our shops. Not only will these items costs less than buying new, but you’ll be also helping reduce waste going to landfill.

2. Wrap with fabric

Have you heard of Furoshiki? This Japanese cloth wrapping technique (sometimes called knot-wrap) is a great alternative to using paper and plastic. Reusable time and time again, this easy-to-learn skill works perfectly with vintage scarves, cloth napkins or thrifted fabric from your local charity shop. I recommend heading to Pinterest, Instagram or TikTok if you fancy learning some of the more technical knotting styles!

3. Transform old pillowcases into no-sew gift bags

No sewing required to transform old pillowcases into attractive gift bags! Ideal for larger or awkwardly shaped gifts, simply place your item inside, gather up or fold over the open end and tie closed with a ribbon. Quick tip: colourful hair scrunchies make a great quick fastening accessory for these bags and can look as good as ribbon too!

4. Add extra sparkle with second-hand costume jewellery

Swap single-use plastic-coated rosettes for old brooches, earrings, or accessories to add sparkle that can be reused again and again. It’s a great way to give new life to unworn or slightly damaged items in your own jewellery box but you can also find great pre-loved options in our charity shops too.

5. Transform last year’s Christmas cards into gift tags

Keeping hold of last year’s Christmas cards is a handy way to remember who you need to send cards to this year, but they are also a great resource for creating festive gift tags. Simply cut around the design on the front and add a hole for attaching a ribbon and you’re done!

6. Search for ribbon alternatives

If you don’t have a handy stash of ribbons and bows, balls of yarn, old t-shirts, bedsheets, or thrifted fabric can be easily transformed into ribbons! There are plenty of how-to videos out there for upcycling fabric, with many only needing a pair of scissors and a little patience – I used this one to transform a section of old bedsheet fabric into this frayed-edge ribbon.

7. Thrift preloved baskets and bags

If wrapping isn’t your thing but you’re keen to move beyond the humble gift bag, then searching for preloved baskets or containers to turn into festive hampers is the perfect solution. Line the bottom with tissue paper or a colourful piece of fabric and pop in your goodies. Not only does the basket display the gift well, but it is also part of the present. Maximum style with minimum effort – perfect!

8. Start your stash for next year!

To make sustainable gift-wrapping easier next year, I recommend saving pretty paper bags and wrappings throughout the year. Collecting packaging, gift boxes, ribbons and packing fillers is a great way to save some money and do your bit to recycle and over the years you’ll build a great stash of decorations that will make your gifts the envy of all.  

We hope these ideas will give even the least crafty gift-wrappers the courage to try out some environmentally friendly wrapping options. For more ideas to make your Christmas more sustainable, read our Christmas blog.

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