Whack It With a Hammer

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Plastic Free Christmas – Festive Wrapping

I adore Christmas! It is a time of joy, overindulging and giving and I love everything about it, except for the waste. So, this year I’m going to try my hardest to move towards a plastic free Christmas.

Over the festive season we create more waste than we do at any other time of year. I really admire and support those who chose to go gift free but I’m in no way ready for a present free Christmas (and neither are my family, you can read about our usual Christmas style and traditions here).

Over my next few blogs I’m going to explore really easy ways in which we can reduce waste and plastic but still have all the fun we usually do. I hope some of them will help you have a plastic free Christmas too. Today I’m going to focus on a really simple one…

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Gift Wrapping


Personally I think suppliers should just stop making non recyclable wrapping paper. Why would you make something that is torn off in minutes last 100 years? It doesn’t make sense to me. I’m sure some news papers would be apoplectic for a day and Piers Morgan would be against it but that’s just an added bonus.

Unfortunately, little old me saying this won’t make it happen. If you want your wrapping to be recyclable choose the non foil type without glitter. There’s a huge selection in the shops, its still got pretty Christmassy designs on and you can just buy it. A totally no effort way of reducing your single use plastic.

There are lots of suggestions about using fabric wrapping like the Japenese art of furoshiki or buying tea towels and scarves and wrapping your gifts in those. This is fine if you were going to buy the person an extra gift anyway and a gorgeous scarf is something they would wear (it might confuse my father-in-law somewhat). But beware, fabric takes a huge amount of water to produce (250 gallons for one t-shirt) so if its not going to be reused its a waste of money and bad for the environment.

One of my friends always wraps presents in newspaper which is very eco friendly and cost effective. However, I would feel I would have to read all the stories in case there was something unsavoury before handing it to my little 7 year-old niece “What’s a prostitute Auntie Nat?” is not something I want to hear on Christmas day. I have used comics in the past as my son used to get ‘The Beano’ every week and these were a good use for the old copies (WARNING: always ask the comic readers permission first)

Gift bags work really well as they are readily available and everyone I know reuses them, you just need to keep a stash of them for next year. If you buy ones that aren’t specifically festive they can also be used for birthday presents throughout the year.

I like to use brown parcel paper. I think it looks classy and while I’m wrapping I can sing “Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things…” which, I think you’ll agree, is a joy for everyone!

for plastic free Christmas wrapping try brown paper and ribbon


OK, so to the less earthy types I’m going to sound worthier than thou but I’ll admit it, I do cut the pictures out of my Christmas cards and save them for the year after. I know, not exactly rock ‘n’ roll, but its a very pleasing way to spend a January evening while finishing off the spiced rum and watching something about plane crashes. This year I even know where I’ve stashed them!

If you’ve not had the foresight (or you’ve forgotten where you put them) luggage tags look good and if you buy them in bulk they’re much cheaper than the shiny ones in the shops.


Take a stroll right past the plastic and foil bows and ribbon, they are soooo pre climate emergency! There are so many better ideas!

You could keep it simple and use string and leave it at that. Last year I added a sprig of rosemary to the adults gifts which looked totally Instagram worthy and elicited an “Ooh! What’s all this?” from my mum.

pretty jars full of ribbon

I have a stash of ribbons and lace trimmings from my crafty days so I use them to make my gifts look pretty, especially for the children. If people want to keep them they can but if they are left they get rolled up and put back in my ribbon jars to use again.

Sticky Tape

I’ve always used sticky tape in the past but I’m really trying to be as plastic free as possible this Christmas. Big Hubby said, “Just use string and don’t use tape at all.” He’s such an expert gift wrapper! Yet, he’s often just as surprised as the recipient when they open their present from us on Christmas Day.

While not using tape is sometimes an option spherical and awkwardly shaped items will require a bit of sticky. This year I’m going to use paper tape. I’m really lucky as my local eco shop sells it but you can buy environmentally friendly options in WHSmith and online.

I hope this has given you some ideas on how you could cut waste when wrapping presents. To see some more innovative and beautiful gift wrapping ideas take a look at my Eco Christmas Wrapping Board on Pinterest and feel free to share your ideas in the comments, I’d love to hear them. If you enjoyed reading this please follow me – you’ll just get blogs no spamming! Or to share ideas and inspiration follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.

Next time….Stocking fillers X


  1. nadzzm

    November 21, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    I just love the brown paper. It has such a rustic feeling and it feels really personal. Good for the environment too. Great tips.

  2. Plastic Free Christmas - Stocking Fillers – Whack It With a Hammer

    December 5, 2019 at 3:25 pm

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