Paperless Christmas

Posted on Dec 31, 2009 in Simple Living | 3 comments

This is the second year in a row that we opted not to buy any paper wrapping for Christmas. Last year we started using cloth for all of our wrapping. We store it in a bin and plan to re-use it every year.





We do run into some issues with gifts given outside the family because I have a hard time giving away the cloth and not getting it back. This is primarily an issue of finances at the moment because we don’t have the funds to replace it. Plus, I would like to know that the recipients would use it again and not toss it or else it defeats the purpose. For now, we’ve been using up the last scraps of paper and gift bags from other years on friends. But we are finally out so next year will truly be 100% paperless for us.

We save ribbon whenever we get gifts and toss it in the bin so we have quite a stash now. I’ve noticed that many people use cloth ribbon even on paper wrapped gifts and I never ever let it go to waste. I also picked up a few rolls of ribbon on sale at the dollar store after Christmas last year. The rolls were deceptively sparse (very big cardboard tube inside) but there was still a perfect size piece for 1 wrap job.

I went to the fabric store early in December last year and bought fat quarters from the quilting section. There were lots of Christmas prints to choose from and the cloth was already cut into usable pieces. This was a little pricey but I’m sure you could find good deals if you were to visit the quilting section now as they would be selling off the Christmas stock.

My husband saw some Christmas dish towels at a dollar store on sale a few days before Christmas last year and picked those up. They work perfect and it’s nice to have some pieces that are bigger than the fat quarters. They are a little stiff but they do work well with the ribbon.

Next year I plan to pick up some fabric by the yard for bigger items and also to sew into draw string bags of various sizes.

Even my mother-in-law has gotten in the spirit. Last year she bought each of the kids a new beach towel and used that to wrap their gifts. This year, they each got a new blanket as wrapping and we got a new table cloth around our gift. There are lots of ways to be creative and get rid of paper wrapping.

You can tie the cloth in various ways according to Furoshiki. Here is a good how-to page with pictures showing techniques for various sizes and types of objects. It’s fun and doesn’t require any ribbon. You’ll need soft cloth though that is pliable and easy to manipulate. The fat quarters work well for this as they were thin cotton.

Otherwise, wrap as you normally would and use ribbon to tie in place. You might need another person to hold the cloth for you while you get it tied but that doesn’t happen too often. It’s also pretty easy to adjust the fabric and tuck in stray bits once the ribbon is tied.

The biggest issue I ran into this year was not having pieces small enough for stocking items. I think the drawstring bags would work well for this or we could choose not to wrap stocking items.

Overall, paperless Christmas was another big success this year! I love the look, it’s easier for the kids to unwrap gifts, there is less garbage to clean up and dispose of and it’s a lot more fun and creative than buying paper from the store.


  1. We stopped buying new gift wrap over a year ago, but we continue to accumulate gift bags from family and friends. I’ve had ongoing plans to make cloth gift bags, but so far it just hasn’t been necessary. I would prefer using cloth, honestly, but I also think that using what I already have beats creating something new, you know?

    Anyways, I’m encouraged to see so many other folks jumping on the re-usable wrap. And Happy New Year!
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..The Next 10 Years =-.
    Twitter: AmberStrocel

  2. This is a fabulous idea. I think I will try to incorporate here. I hate spending money on paper that is going to be tossed out or burned.

  3. Love it! I’m heading to the quilting store on Monday! 😉

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