Five Alternatives to Traditional Gift Wrap

Ditch the wrapping paper and boxes and show off your crafting skills with these techniques

Looking to find a use for those old shopping bags, containers or jars? Or are you simply trying to preserve the environment or save some cash? We’ve got you covered with five gift-wrapping alternatives that you can use this holiday season and beyond.

Paper Shopping Bags

We keep telling ourselves we’ll find a purpose for those paper shopping bags from our favorite restaurants and retail stores. Finally, here’s an opportunity to put that paper to good use as wrapping over boxed gifts.

Here’s how: Find the seam on the back of the bag and cut it until you reach the bottom fold. Then continue cutting along the bottom until the fold is gone, essentially cutting the bottom out of the bag, and then along the sides. After this, your bag should be completely flat, and the bottom should be to the side. If not, you’ve cut too much. Place your gift in the center and fold the sides up over the ends of the box, tape them down and continue until you’ve covered the entire package. If there are gaps, cover them with a leftover bag piece.

Calendar Pages

In the same vein as paper bags, try using an old calendar. The year is practically over anyway. Snatch off used calendar pages for an unconventional look.

Empty Oatmeal or Pringles Containers

Spray painted or covered with newspaper, colored duct tape or fabric, the tubular shape of these containers and their sealable lids are great for stocking stuffers such as crazy socks, mittens or candy. Try stuffing them with confetti (think: shredded paper). All you’ll need is the container and whatever you want to decorate it with. Or keep it simple, empty the contents and your container is ready to go.

Baby Food Jars

These single-serving containers are perfect for food gifts such as homemade spices, hot cocoa and trail mix, or small items such as jewelry. They’re also fun for DIY candles and snow globes, and cheap enough where you can buy tons of them to distribute to all your friends. First, make sure all the baby food is gone—duh! Once the jar is cleaned, remove the label and fill it with your gift, tie a ribbon around it or put a bow on top and you’re good to go.


Stay with us, here: Tying your old neon windbreaker or favorite graphic tee around large gifts is a lot easier than struggling to make perfect folds or wasting rolls of wrapping paper on sizable items. Clothing can be sentimental, and it’s recyclable for a double wow factor. The technique here is different depending upon what type of clothing you’re using and what you are wrapping. For shirts, put the gift inside the neck hole, but let it stick out just a bit. Then fold the bottom of the shirt up, sew the bottom of the shirt to the lower back of the shirt, then extend the arms out, wrap them around the neck and tie with a ribbon.

Gif by Cierra Pedro