I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Extreme Gift-Wrapping with Trash

My partner Sara insists I’m a hoarder.  She says it’s a sickness.

Let’s face it.  It may even be a curse.

During the holidays, however, my collections of buttons and beads, bottle caps and maps (what I prefer to call “collage-ables”) provide ready-made, gift-wrapping supplies—items I recycle, in the interest of friends and family, into gift wrapping with an urban edge.

Call it an extreme sport, if you will.  I call it green-giving.  I call it fun.

So today I’ll share a few more photos of my green, gift-wrapping efforts.  Hope you enjoy.

The package below is wrapped with an English language newspaper I brought back from New Delhi.  It also incorporates popsicle sticks, recycled ribbon,  beads, buttons, painters’ tape, and more.

I packaged the next present, one for my nephew, in recycled pages from a Spider Man comic book.

This gift for my mother uses the label from a large can of tomato juice as wrapping, and the ornament on top is made from paper, buttons, beads, and tabs from coke cans.

And finally, some more packages I wrapped, using recycled maps.  (To read my post on gift-wrapping with maps, click here.)

The bottom line is this–

You don’t need to spend lots of money on holiday gift wrapping.  Instead, reuse what you already have around the house in creative ways.

Me?  I’m dreaming of a green Christmas.

What‘s the strangest most creative gift wrapping you have ever used?

(Note:  I will be doing more memoir posts after the holiday.  If you are a new reader and you would like to look at some of my already-completed pieces about growing up with a mafia father, click here.)

44 thoughts on “I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Extreme Gift-Wrapping with Trash

  1. Jake keeps getting into our wrapped presents! Two days ago, he polished off most of a 30-pack of Ferraro Rochers. Yesterday, he decided he’d like to open Jim’s “Magic Bag”…he’s too short to reach the microwave to put it in!

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Kathy!



    • People in my family tell me that all the time. The thing is, it’s just so fun to create these wrappings, it’s okay to destroy them. It’s like the sand mandalas that take so much time to create and are then blown away. Happy Hanukkah, Lisa===============


  2. I LOVE your recycled, creative gift wrapping ideas! This is fabulous!!!! I must try to initiate a similar type of holiday wrapping technique. I am crazy about recycling and recycle everything. But obviously there is much more I can be doing thanks to your posts on this. GREAT POST as always, Kathy!!!


  3. I hope you were able to use the outdated map I sent you in my package, Kathy! I had that mini atlas since the late 1980s, when Czechoslovakia was still a country. 🙂


    • I’m actually saving it for an ornament. I don’t want to waste it on something that’s just going to be torn up. Maybe that’s silly. It might be that that makes me a hoarder–saving things like that for something “special.”


  4. Love it utterly. The maps make such cool wrapping! And the big tomato juice can is fabulous! It’s so much fun to bring out the “stash” and use stuff you’ve been saving forever. I love that feeling.


  5. Your wrapping is beautiful! I love wrapping gifts. My step-dad used to pay .25 a package to wrap all of the family gifts, which I now look back and realize was child labor, but I enjoyed it anyway.


  6. Who wouldn’t love to receive such an artistically wrapped package? This gives new meaning to wanting to save the wrapping paper!

    As a kid, I remember wrapping gift is the Sunday comics. (Not all that uncommon, maybe.) But I also remember using aluminum foil a time or two.


  7. So creative and beautiful, Kathy! It would be hard to open it and ruin the lovely wrapping.
    I’ve used the Sunday color comic section of the newspaper to wrap gifts. Clearly it’s not as original as some of these great ideas here!


  8. Who would have thought to use a can label. I’ve used material from old dresses, surplus party streamers, newspapers, and shells, etc. but never labels or maps or… Often I cheat and use wrapping paper and decorate that with stuff around the house. Not near as awesome as your creations!


    • No, I think your ideas are great, but let’s face it. We all cheat sometimes. Too often there’s just not enough time to be creative, and we have to resort to more common wrapping techniques and materials. Thanks so much for reading. Hope you have a wonderful holiday.


    • Wow, I love the idea of a seed catalog, and Japanese masking tape sounds terrific. But I have to admit, I’ve never even seen any. I’ll have to Google it and see what it looks like.

      These are great suggestions. Hope you have a wonderful holiday. Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you’ll come again soon!


  9. I have been hoping that my family (in-laws) will be ok with newspaper wrapped presents tied up in red ribbons! I think I am going to bring this up sometime this holiday. And oh comic book as wrapping paper? Pretty sure my husband and kids and even my bro-in-law will think it’s awesome!

    Merry Christmas!


  10. Oh how funny! (I accidentally typed “Ho how funny”) Just think how many ways we can create with the same Christmas song titles. I hope you had a wonderful day, Kathy! (Although I am thinking how often “wonderful” is mixed in with other emotions as well…)


  11. The only wrapping I’ve used outside of cartoon character paper (I’m a kid at heart) is brown paper that my kids decorated with stickers and drawings. I’m big on letting them loose with paper and crayons and markers to make homemade things. By the way, I only made twelve of the Christmas ornaments that you posted. I’ve got the sore finger tips to prove it. LOL


    • ONLY 12! That’s a huge number. Believe me, I know. It takes a long time to make each one. Did you take photos of any of them? If so, I’d love to see some of your creations.

      Also, I LOVE the idea of wrapping with kids drawings. What better wrapping could there be?


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