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10 Best Sustainable Christmas Gift Bags And Wrapping Papers

Christmas is the holiday of giving. We cherish preparing gifts for our loved ones and those who need every help they can get. 

Still, we mustn't forget about the planet.

A staggering 1.8 million rolls of wrapping paper are thrown in the UK alone every year at Christmas time.

It’s no less dramatic in the US — between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we throw an extra 1 million tons of garbage, including the holiday wrapping and packaging. 

But is all that wastage and necessary in the happiest season?

Let me introduce you to eco-friendly Christmas gift bags and paper wraps. 

Why Should You Get A Sustainable Christmas Gift Bag? 

Carbon Footprints in the Snow 

A study of consumers’ sustainability habits by Deloitte shows that even more people are ready to adopt sustainable shopping habits in 2021 than in 2020.

This directly impacts the products they choose to buy and brands they are loyal to. 

However, buying a sustainable gift is only one-half. To make your present 100% eco-friendly you need to pack it up in a recyclable or reusable gift bag. 

Plastic wraps are thin and light but have a much larger environmental footprint than you may imagine. 

To be honest, paper and canvas bags require more energy to produce than a roll of plastic, but here’s the catch:

A paper gift bag offsets its carbon after three uses. It takes a bit more for cotton, but reusable gift bags made of cotton also have a much longer life.  

And how about plastic wraps? You can’t reuse them to pack another gift — they either tear up or lose part of their coating at the first unboxing.  

Recycling vs. Wraps Blowing in the Wind

What more can we say about the devastating effect of plastic on the environment?

Plastic bags and wraps take between 15 and 1,000 years to break down — provided they make it to a landfill instead of finding their way to a stream, river, or ocean.

Of the 100 billion plastic shopping bags, Americans use each year, only about 1 percent gets recycled. 

And those bags are made to be recyclable.

Christmas wrapping foil often has metallic coatings, glitter flakes, and other ornaments that make it non-recyclable.   

So, you can’t recycle them even if you wanted to. The same applies to bows and ribbons. 

But can I recycle paper gift wraps?

Definitely. Again, only if they don’t have non-paper additives like metallic flakes.

Sometimes, to make it sustainable you have to keep it simple.

They Can Take Some Damage

Unlike plastic bags, reusable canvas or burlap bags won’t have their handles tear off as easily or suffer a hole when a corner of a box presses against them. 

Reusable gift bags make it much easier to both pack and unpack the gift, not to mention there’s very little risk that you accidentally damage the bag on your way home.  

Use Them Throughout the Holiday Season

Eco-friendly gift bags can be used for a lot more than just packing presents. You can use a nice, reusable Christmas-theme bag as a tote for many purposes. 

Use it as a shopping bag during the holidays, pack your kid’s lunch into one, use it for snacks and refreshments on a winter road trip, or take books from the library. 

10 Best Sustainable Christmas Gift Bags And Wrapping Papers

1. Hallmark Black and Red Drawstring Christmas Gift Bag

Seriously folks, who can say “no” to this adorable 2-piece canvas bag offer? The package includes one medium  8” x 10”  and one extra-large 16” x 20” bag. 

The extra-large bag has a minimalist Santa pattern on a black background, so once they remove the present, your loved ones will have a gorgeous Christmas-themed canvas bag to use throughout the season.

If I found a gift under the Christmas tree packed in one of these, I’d definitely use it to store my solar Christmas lights and other decorations.   

The medium bag is far more versatile with classic dark red and white horizontal stripes. I’d gladly repurpose this one into a minimalist beach bag for protecting my phone, sunglasses, and wallet. 

Both bags come with drawstring cords so you don’t have to worry that your present will come out too soon. 

Pros

  • Eye-catching design with red stripes and Santas
  • Made of sturdy canvas and pleasant to touch
  • Two sizes included
  • Perfect for odd-shaped gifts
  • Very repurposable 

Cons

  • No information on maintenance

Why Do I Like It?

I love these bags as I can pack a gift of any shape and still have it fully concealed until Boxing Day. Perfect for toys, home decor, or multiple small items.

2. Nush Nush Iridescent Christmas Gift Bags Set

If the messenger is the message, then this iridescent gift bag is the gift itself. But why am I still talking singular? In this amazing set, you get 12 reusable non-woven glossy gift totes.

These bags are made from recyclable materials, will last for years and you don’t have to worry about getting them wet. This bag will shake off rain and snow like a duck from its back.

So what’s else in the package? LOL

Instead of drawstring or paper handles that are punched or glued onto the bag, these beauties come with tough sewn-in handles made from the same recycled plastic as the bag itself.

Speaking of beauties, these recycled gift bags come in 18 different color schemes, from glittering silver to black with golden hearts or polka dots. Whatever the occasion you can find one.

And the best part is that despite the decorative finishes, these bags are 100% recyclable.

And then again, why even recycle them when you can use them over and over?

Pros

  • Very festive and decorative
  • Built to last
  • Made from recyclable materials
  • Splash-resistant Comes in 18 different color schemes
  • Very repurposable 

Cons

  • The gift bag is not fully enclosed so there goes your element of surprise

Why Do I Like It?

These reusable gift bags come in color themes for almost any occasion — Valentine’s Day, baby shower, Christmas, you name it. Also, these bags will hold some weight — up to 6 lbs.! 

3. Jolly Jon Red Truck with Christmas Tree - Large Christmas Bag Santa Sack

You’ll have no trouble packing even the large presents into this 27” x 19” Santa Sack. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, you can quickly find a second purpose for these Christmas gift bags

Why?

Because they are made of recycled cotton and can be used many times — you can even wash these eco-friendly cotton bags in a machine or by hand, and easily dry them for reuse.

This one would even fit my miniature Christmas tree set I keep in my workshop.

I believe I have a confession to make: I suck at wrapping gifts. Tried it many times, and somehow it always looks worse than the last time.

That’s why I really came to appreciate these drawstring gift bags.

Just stuff the gift inside and pull the string closed.

Pros

  • Large size
  • Made of 100% cotton Machine-washable
  • Has a drawstring
  • Very repurposable 

Cons

  • A smaller version would be nice too

Why Do I Like It?

The red truck hauling a Christmas tree and the “Merry Christmas” is printed only on one side. This allows me to customize the clean side with a personal message of my own.

4. Hallmark Sustainable Christmas Gift Bags for Kids

Here’s another sustainable package deal from Hallmark that is hard to resist. Instead of two canvas bags with drawstrings, this time you get not two, not three but a total of 8 eco-friendly paper gift bags.

I’d use the smallest 5.5” x 6.5” bags for gift cards and jewelry, while the two largest 10. 4" x 13" can fit almost anything from clothes to electronics. There are also three versatile 7. 7" x 9. 6" bags that are ideal for books.

The color scheme on these sustainable bags is a welcoming refreshment from the expected Christmas red. It’s the deep green that dominates on all three sizes:

A Santa carrying a big green gift box; A looping string of green Christmas lights on white background — my personal favorite, and a minimalistic tree with a bright star at the top.

All three bags are made of paper sourced from sustainably-managed forests.

Pros

  • Total of 8 gift bags
  • Can wrap a variety of presents
  • Eye-catching Christmas design
  • Sustainably sourced
  • Easy to recycle

Cons

  • Don’t let them get wet!

Why Do I Like It?

I can use this 8-piece kit to wrap presents for the whole family. And if you thought I won’t be using them for Christmas-time shopping, you’re wrong.

5. Orgrimmar 24 Pcs Christmas Kraft Gift Bags

Apart from being safe to the environment, Christmas wrapping paper and bags are rustic beyond measure. In my opinion, recycled paper is much better suited to the warm and peaceful atmosphere of the Christmas tree than flashy metallic foils.

This 24-piece set of tough eco-friendly paper bags follows the rustic theme with 6 different beautifully composed winter season prints.

Each of these kraft paper gift bags can hold up to 6.6 lbs. This doesn’t come as a surprise at all, since they are made of sturdy and reusable 130 gsm-grade paper.

You can use these bags for shopping throughout the winter season instead of traditional plastic bags.

The kraft paper is not only recyclable but also biodegradable. It doesn't contain any toxins and odors, so you can safely put it in your composting bin.

Pros

  • A total of 24 pieces
  • Extra 30 tissue paper sheets
  • Made from thick paper
  • Very recyclable

Cons

  • Not splash resistant
  • Paper handles

Why Do I Like It?

In the holiday season, there’s always food and cakes going back and forth between friends and family. Let someone know you’re thinking about them by sending them a sustainable bag of honey cakes and a card.

6. Elcoho Christmas Kraft Bags

If you have a really big family or simply a long Santa’s gift list, take a look at this unbelievable offer. 

You get a total of 24 reusable gift bags in three sizes and 30 sheets of Christmas tissue paper for different decorations and designs. 

These recycled paper bags come in 6 different Christmas style patterns formed by snowflakes, socks, Christmas trees, reindeer, winter holly, etc.

The colors they used are the winter holiday favorite red, white, and green, however, the bulk of each bag is left uncolored, which makes recycling so much easier. 

The 120 gsm (grams per square meter) paper they used is thick and durable, so you can use each of these bags to haul groceries many times. 

Let me tell you what I would do: I’d use some of these bags for storing Christmas decorations for the next year. When I’m done decorating the tree, I’d keep the bags underneath, and fill them with gifts when the time comes. 

Pros

  • A total of 24 pieces
  • 3 different sizes
  • Made from thick paper
  • Recyclable

Cons

  • Not splash resistant
  • Paper handles might be too flimsy

Why Do I Like It?

The three sizes and six designs mean I have no trouble remembering whose gift goes in which bag. If I’m still in doubt, I add a tissue paper bow. Problem solved.

7. HRX Package Big Cotton Christmas Gift Bags

If red is your color, you mustn't miss this 3-piece Christmas gift bag set. Each of these bags is made of quality cotton cloth and comes with a double red ribbon drawstring.

The bags come in big size only, which measures 20” x 16. This makes them ideal for a variety of presents, like home decorations, candles, toiletries, bags, etc.

While one bag has a traditional red background with popping white snowflakes, the other two combine zig-zagging and plaid-like red and white patterns.

This makes them even more versatile and reusable, as you can effortlessly use them outside the Christmas season.

You can use those two to pack gifts for occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or just your regular party.

Pros

  • Large size
  • Set of 3 bags
  • Made of 100% cotton
  • Machine-washable
  • Has a drawstring
  • Very repurposable 

Cons

  • Very thin cotton fabric
  • Limited color choice

Why Do I Like It?

Each of these bags comes with a red ribbon drawstring with a brown cardboard tag which is useful whether you use these for gifts or storing your trinkets.

8. FLOE Christmas Burlap Gift Bags with Drawstring

If you’re gunning for a more rustic delivery, skip the cotton and check out these cute gift bags made of eco-friendly natural burlap. 

A total of 36 cute little burlap bags come in 8 different Christmas time prints. Apart from Santa, there is the Christmas tree, Snowman, Polar Bear, Reindeer, Penguin, Gnome, Gingerbread Man.

Unlike similar burlap sacks I’ve seen, these 36 don’t come with a rough burlap drawstring but with a quality one made from white cotton. 

This makes a lot of sense since these mini sacks don’t come only in traditional burlap brown, but also in red or white plaid. 

Burlap is a popular eco-friendly material for bags because it lets the content breathe and can absorb moisture. So a few drops of rain probably won’t even get to your precious gift.

This also means you can reuse these gift sacks in many different ways —to store chocolate, dried fruit and nuts, and even tea.

Pros

  • Made of 100% natural burlap
  • 8 Christmas prints
  • Also available in plaid
  • 36 bags in the set
  • Great for small gifts

Cons

  • Too small for anything larger than a smartphone

Why Do I Like It?

I love that I can use these burlap sacks instead of Christmas stockings. Santa doesn’t even see the difference.

9. CCINEE 36pc Christmas Linen Gift Bags

Burlap Christmas gift bags are going to be all the rage this season. 

Although smaller than most of the reusable gift bags on this list, these 4” x 6” mini-sacks can still take plenty of candy. 

They are ideal for smaller gifts and jewelry, gadgets, phone accessories, etc.  

If you need to pack a lot of small gifts and don't want to bother with wrapping paper, listen to this — there are 36 cute little burlap bags in this set. 

Your only job is to choose who gets Mr. Snowman, Santa, Penguin, or the Reindeer. 

As a material, burlap is 100% sustainable. While it can be recycled, it’s more carbon neutral if you compost it. 

But really, why would you want to do that? 

Each mini sack comes with a burlap drawstring so you can use them to store your pencils, candies, or handmade soap.   

Pros

  • Made of 100% natural burlap
  • 4 Christmas prints
  • 36 bags in the set
  • Great for small gifts

Cons

  • Too small

Why Do I Like It?

These mini burlap sacks allow me to quickly pack a lot of small tokens and do it in style. Perfect for vouchers and gift cards.

10. Hallmark Recyclable Holiday Wrapping Paper

If you’re more of a traditional type and like your gifts packed and wrapped, here’s an eco-friendly alternative to standard foil wraps. 

Thesis sustainable wrapping paper is sourced from sustainably managed forests, which are continually restored to keep the lungs of the planet healthy. 

At the end of life, sustainable gift wrapping is 100% recyclable, thanks to its limited ink coverage.  

If you struggle with wrapping gift boxes as I do, here's the good news:

This kraft paper wrap comes with gridlines on the reverse side that allow you to cut perfectly straight and wrap like a pro. 

I especially love the sheet with green and turquoise pine needles and specks of snow. It definitely reminds me of those Japanese board paintings. 

Pros

  • Made of 100% sustainable paper
  • Highly recyclable
  • Elegant winter designs
  • Gridlines on the reverse for easier cutting  

Cons

  • Not splash resistant 

Why Do I Like It?

I admit I’m no master of wrapping gifts, but thanks to the grid lines on the reverse I might even give it a try this Christmas!

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to remain unbiased in reviews like these when each of these gift bags and prints brings up so many memories. 

However, if we’re to shoot straight, the best set of Christmas gift bags is the Hallmark Black and Red Drawstring Christmas Gift Bag

You get a bigger and a smaller canvas bag with drawstrings that are going to draw attention under any Christmas tree. Both bags are top quality and versatile so your loved ones will be able to use them for years. 

The number two goes to Nush Nush Iridescent Christmas Gift Bags Set. Suitable for any festive occasion, this pack of 12 flashy gift totes can eliminate every single single-use shopping bag in your life. 

Nikola uses his background in electrical engineering to break down complex sustainability topics for GreenCitizen's readers. He is a firm believer in environmental conservation, which he practices daily through recycling and home-grown food. He enjoys hiking, engaging in white-water sports, and collecting pocket knives.


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