Christmas gifts can often be handmade using natural materials from your garden. But you should also be sure to consider more sustainable and eco-friendly, natural options when it comes to gift wrapping ideas too.
Common gift wrapping options like wrapping paper often come at a cost to people and planet. So if you want to make a more ethical choice, it certainly pays to research ways to use natural materials.
Wrapping paper often comes from clear-felled forests and paper pulp mills that belch pollution into the sky. Many also have plastic coatings, and come at an even greater cost. Most commercially sold wrapping paper cannot be recycled. So it contributes to our planet’s massive waste problem when it is thrown away.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other options. There are eco-friendly options out there – especially if you take a DIY approach. It is often best to choose natural or reclaimed materials. You might, for example, use upcycled fabrics, cardboard boxes, old glass jars or bottles, a second-hand vase, planter, or tureen from a second hand shop… there are almost endless options.
To wrap your gifts this year, you might even be able to use natural materials from your very own garden. Here are a few examples to consider:
Natural Wrapping Paper, Cards or Gift Labels
You may be surprised to learn that you can learn how to make paper from stinging nettles or other plant fibres from your garden. Though it will of course take time and effort, the results can be truly amazing – making the wrapping more than just something to be ripped off and thrown away. If you have taken the time to make your own paper using nettles or other plants from your garden, then the wrapping paper can actually become a part of the gift you are giving.
If you do manage to successfully make paper using plant fibre from your garden, this could be a great new hobby to enjoy over the coming years. You will be able to make wrapping paper, cards, and gift labels from the natural paper, and can also use it in many other crafts and art projects.
While you can make natural papers using plant fibres alone, you can make things a little easier by incorporating some natural fibres into a pulp which also includes some recycled paper or card. This is one way to use reclaimed materials and reduce waste, as well as making use of materials from your garden.
Natural Twine/ Cordage
Rather than using plastic sticking tapes on your presents this year, you could secure your packages of reclaimed or natural home-made paper with a natural twine or cordage, for a rustic yet attractive look.
A rustic twine made from nettles is remarkably easy to make, and though it will of course take some time to do, can be a great way to enhance a charmingly natural wrapping. It is very strong too – so might be useful to someone once the package is unwrapped.
If you have livestock like sheep on your property, and have access to wool, then if course a wool yarn is another great option for natural gift wrapping.
Natural Woven Gift Baskets
If you are gifting edible gifts, or something else you have crafted using natural materials from your garden, like natural soaps or cleaning or beauty products, for example, a natural basket could be the perfect way to package them.
You might be able to learn how to make a basket from willow whips, ash strips, or bark, for example. Or you might weave one from a range of other plant materials. Once you begin to explore all the exciting basketry options, you will soon discover the amazing range of options available to you if you are willing to expend the time and effort creating something special for someone you love.
Wooden Boxes for Gift Wrapping
You might also learn some basic woodworking skills and carve or create small boxes – perhaps using reclaimed wood – perhaps even learning to work with green wood pruned from trees in your garden.
This is another type of natural packaging that could also become a gift in its own right. Packaging for gifts certainly does not have to be an afterthought. It can be wonderful to spend as much time thinking about and crafting the packaging for the main gift, as thinking about the gift itself. The whole thing will really show someone how much you care.
Finishing Touches for Gift Wrapping
Even if you do not have the time to lovingly hand craft one of the options outlined above, you can still think about using natural materials from a garden to add the finishing touches to your wrapping. It is those little details and finishing touches that can really make a gift into something extra special.
A sprig of holly, a bunch of rosemary for remembrance, small branches from a conifer or other evergreen… these can all be tucked on top of a package, beneath the string or twine, to bring a little bit of nature into your lives, and to give a Christmassy feel.
Dried flowers might also be tucked into gift wrapping, or pressed and added onto the paper, cards, or gift labels. Fragrant dried flowers and herbs might also be added as an extra element to be enjoyed when the gift is opened.
You might also string berries, short hollow twigs, or seeds onto threads or twine to add another small decorative element on your gifts.
These are just a few examples of the options you can consider if you want to create beautifully presented gifts that will charm those who receive them, and which won’t quite literally cost the earth.
Do you have more sustainable, eco-friendly and natural gift wrapping ideas to share? Do you make wrapping as well as the gifts themselves using things from your garden? We’d love to hear from you about your experiences and ideas – so use the links below to get in touch.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.