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15 Alternatives to Ordinary Wrapping Paper

Move over traditional wrapping paper—there are plenty of creative ways to wrap gifts that go beyond the store-bought roll of shiny paper. Whether you're looking to cut down on waste or make the wrapping part of the gift itself, here are 15 alternatives to ordinary wrapping paper.

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DoiliesEkaterina Milovidova/Shutterstock


Small items and home-baked treats can be wrapped in paper doilies and tied up with ribbon or twine. Sweet and simple. Are you a minimalist? If so, here are 13 holiday decorating ideas you’ll appreciate.

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Put yesterday’s newspaper to work and use it as wrapping paper. Use a black and white page and add a big red bow or wrap your gift in the comics section to spread a little cheer.

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jarMilleflore Images/Shutterstock

Jars and Cans

Depending on the size of the gift, consider using jars and cans as an alternative to wrapping paper. Just remove labels and decorate with ribbon. Jars and cans work great to hold edible gifts and can be finished off with a festive cookie cutter. This is the ultimate gift guide for DIYers.

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PaperTae PY15MU/Shutterstock

Paper Bags

If you have extra paper bags, you can use them as wrapping paper. Just cut so they can be wrapped around the package or place the gift inside and tie it up with a little ribbon. Head to the dollar store for these 13 must-have holiday items.

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It doesn’t matter if it’s shiny, flowery or a geometric pattern—wallpaper makes for unique wrapping paper. Use some scraps from your last wallpaper project to wrap that perfect gift. Removing wallpaper is an ugly job but these tips make it easier.

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BlanketFedinchyk Tetiana/Shutterstock

A Blanket or Pillowcase

Make the gift wrap part of the gift. Use a blanket or a pillowcase in a fun design as gift wrap and use ribbon or twine to tie it all together. Find the perfect present for everyone on your list with these 12 frugal Christmas gift ideas.

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Burlap works well as a gift wrap alternative, as it can cover large gifts or smaller packages. Tie on a big bow to complete the rustic look.

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ScarfVitaly Titov/Shutterstock


Try using a pretty or festive scarf as gift wrap. Not only will it cover the present, it becomes part of the gift in itself. A scarf looks great wrapped around a live plant pot, too! Here are 14 DIY gifts you can make in a weekend.

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MapsMAKSYM SUKHENKO/Shutterstock


Don’t toss that old map book quite yet! Use maps as a gift wrap alternative. You can personalize the gift even more by using maps of the recipient’s favorite places. Try these 15 last-minute holiday decorating ideas.

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If you have a favorite photo that will be special to the recipient, try using it as gift wrap. There are plenty of services both online and at local photo centers that can print out larger versions of photos onto paper, thus turning it into a personalized gift wrapping alternative. Try this inexpensive DIY photo holiday project.

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StampedSteve Cukrov/Shutterstock

White Stamped Paper

Plain white paper can make a big statement as gift wrap. Just wrap the gift and then use a fun stamp to decorate and finish off the gift. Even better, have your favorite child do the stamping for you!

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CrateTon Bangkeaw/Shutterstock

Basket or Crate

A basket or crate makes for a great alternative to wrapping paper. Pick up some inexpensive baskets or crates and keep them on hand for gift giving. This is another double gift as the basket or crate can serve as storage for the gift(s) inside.

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Cereal Box

Empty cereal boxes make great (free!) gift boxes. Cut the box down one side, turn it inside out and you have a blank canvas to decorate. Tie on a ribbon or place a bow on top and you’re done.

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packageRamon Antinolo/Shutterstock

Butcher’s Paper

Since the paper your butcher uses can be recycled (unlike most wrapping paper), buy a roll and use it to wrap your gifts. A package wrapped with brown paper and a simple bow or message written on the top makes a big statement. Spread some holiday cheer with these gift wrapping ideas.

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Towel Hannamariah/Shutterstock

Beach Towel

Surprise the gift recipient and use a beach towel as an alternative to wrapping paper. Wrap up additional beachy items or maybe something a little fragile since the towel will protect whatever is inside. Check out this beautiful towel storage shelf accented with boat cleats.

If you have to toss out any unneeded wrapping paper, it’s important to know what type of wrapping paper is recyclable.

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Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.