“Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.”

Harlan Miller

Are you looking to be more eco-friendly this holiday season? One easy change to make is how you present your gifts to your friends and family! I noticed these fabric wrapped gift boxes a few years ago, and last year I actually received one. My sweet friend wrapped my gift with the cutest tshirt, so it was two gifts in one.  How cute would a bandana be on a small gift? Or a tea towel on a kitchen themed gift?  The possibilities are endless and so fun! 

This way of fabric wrapping has actually been used for many years in Japan.  Furoshiki is a Japanese wrapping cloth used to cover gifts or other goods. I totally recommend googling Furoshiki. I’m going to show you a super simple version of cloth gift wrap, but the Japanese have some gorgeous ways to wrap your gifts! 

How to Wrap Holiday Presents in Eco-Friendly Reusable Fabric

Supplies Needed – just Fabric and Scissors! 

Instructions to Make Fabric Gift Wrap

Place fabric face down on the table with the  gift on top on top. Pull opposite corners of the fabric around the box and cut away corners, leaving just enough material to meet at the top of the box. Or loop it twice, if you used fabric that you’d like to be reused like a tea town or bandana. 

Fold the fabric over the sides of the box, just as you would wrap a gift with paper.  Then gather all the way down, similar to a peppermint wrapper.  Then tie each side together.

I like to tuck evergreen branches or holly inside the knot to make it more festive.  

For a tidier look, conceal the unfinished ends under the gathered fabric. I personally love the look of a handmade wrap with the frayed ends.  To each their own! 

Plastic free christmas present, zero waste  holidays. Female hands in cozy sweater wrapping christmas gift in linen fabric on wooden table with green branch, pine cones, scissors.
Hands wrapping christmas gift in linen fabric in furoshiki style on white rustic table with natural fir, herb, pine cones and scissors. Female preparing plastic free christmas present
Florist preparing zero waste Christmas gift. Plastic free holidays. Hands decorating stylish christmas gift in linen fabric with green fir branch on white rustic table with pine cones and berries.
Zero waste Christmas holidays. Hands holding stylish gift wrapped in linen fabric with green fir branch and red berries on rustic white table with pine cones. Plastic free holidays

Beautiful, reusable cloth gift wrapping can make the holidays both beautiful and eco-friendly.

Using Cloth gift wrap as wrapping material offers many benefits. Not only are the wraps inexpensive to make (especially with discount fabric or boldly colored sheets and blankets from thrift stores), but they are easily stored and reused. Fabric does not tear or scuff as easily as printed gift bags, making it possible to reuse one year’s fabric bags for countless more years.

Eco-Friendly Cloth Gift Bags for Inexpensive Christmas Décor

Bold fabric colors make a decorative statement under the tree. Or you can go simple and frugal and simply use whatever fabric you can find.  Another idea for home décor would be to create gift wrap to match their existing room and holiday decoration colors.

Recyclable Cloth Bags Make Gift Wrapping Fast, Easy, and Fun

Cloth bags are great for wrapping bulky or oddly shaped packages which defy the logic and folding skills of the best-skilled wrapper. The cloth can hide the shape and size of the gift and defy the guessing shake and prying eyes of Christmas spoilers. Parents with several children can even assign one fabric color to each child, making the gift sorting a breeze. I don’t sew, but I love this tutorial if you are more skilled than me! 

Cost-Effective Use of Reusable Cloth Gift Bags

It might seem that taking extra time and expense to make cloth bags is wasteful when giving them away as part of a gift. Wouldn’t free newsprint be cheaper? Cloth bags made from fabric on hand would be virtually free, while those made from purchased fabric would vary in cost. 

Generally, if the fabric can be obtained for a dollar a yard or less, bags can be made for twenty-five to fifty cents apiece. This is cheaper than paper gift bags, comparable to the cheapest quality wrapping paper, and offer the added bonus of being used over and over.

How to Ensure the Reuse of Cloth Gift Bags for Future Wrapping

While it is rude to request wrapping paper and gift bags be returned from co-workers or friends, once the gift is opened, your family will no doubt pile up the cloth bags and hand them over, grateful to not have bags of wrapping to trundle to the curb. 

And for the friend or relation that takes a shine to your hand-made bag, all the better: they will no doubt reuse the cloth sack in any number of ways, helping their own pocketbook and saving our planet’s resources as well.

Related:  More Eco Friendly Holiday Ideas