The Gift Wrap that Keeps on Wrapping

What would Christmas morning be without festive wrapping paper and fancy bows? (“It’s about peace and love and the birth of our Savior!” you answer.) Okay, but stick with me here. I’m talking about every kid’s much-awaited vision of Christmas morning. Will my daughter grow up deprived if I deny her the tearing-up-the-gift-wrap experience that is every American child’s birthright? Oh, she’ll have Christmas gifts aplenty—but this year, I’ve devised some eco-friendly alternatives to disposable gift wrap. If I start this practice before she’s speaking in full sentences, it should be easy, and she’ll never know what she’s missing.

Joy’s mom was way ahead of the gift wrap revolution when she sewed a set of fabric gift bags in the early 1980s. Family names are ironed onto bags, some are just decorated with quilted fabric, and all of them have a fabric ribbon sewn into the seam for quick “wrapping.” They use them for all holidays and especially enjoy seeing the familiar ones year after year. Those bags have saved reams of wrapping paper, hundreds of dollars, and hours of time in their nearly thirty-year lifespan. Last year Joy’s favorite gift was a set of her own gift bags to be used for her family’s holidays for many seasons to come. If you would like to invest in bags that will last you for years, check out They have several beautiful fabrics and sell some of their designs in organic fabrics.

As for me, I didn’t have any special gift bags to use this year. Piles of used ribbon, fancy gift boxes, gift bags, fabric, and Christmas tins multiply down in the depths of my basement. I try not to hoard things. I even like to think of myself as somewhat of a minimalist. But somehow, it happens. “Maybe I’ll reuse them one day,” I think to myself. Well, that day has come! Just look at what I accomplished with my handy reusing skills:

Some of those presents are for my mom, stepfather, and sister. On Christmas day they will have the very enticing option of keeping their decorative tin, bag, or box or leaving it behind to be relegated to another year in my basement. If they choose the latter option, they may very well find another Christmas present inside it next year. Despite the beautiful presentation, I’m sure my daughter will still tear into her presents. Most likely she’ll be happier placing the boxes on her head than she will be with what is inside.


  1. I love the idea of having reusable gift bags! This would be especially useful for odd and over-sized items (and for husbands/children less experienced in gift wrapping). Plus, I remember half the fun of special occasions growing up were the rituals. I can’t recall more than one or two gifts given to me over the years, but I will never forget the little plastic soccer player that sat atop every birthday cake, no matter whose birthday it was. The familiarity somehow made the occasion that much more special and created a common memory that the whole family could recall.

  2. I had really never thought about cookie tins holding anything but cookies. Great idea!

  3. Wonderful site, where did you come up with the info in this summary? I’m glad I found it though, ill be checking back soon to see what other articles you have.


  1. […] a few dozen living rooms across the country, our fellow bloggers and loyal readers will be opening fabric gift bags to find eco-friendly surprises or amazing garage sale finds.  We wish you a Merry Christmas, a […]

  2. Jack says:

    How To Make A Christmas Bag Made From Cloth For Presents…

    Anyone up for trying this out with me?…

  3. […] 1. Stopped using disposable wrapping paper and switched to reusable gift wrap. […]

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