10 Tips For Last-Minute (And Sustainable) Gift Wrapping

Friends doing some last-minute gift wrapping
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

This year has gone by so fast! Can you believe it’s already the holidays? With Christmas just around the corner, we know that some of you may have forgotten a couple of holiday essentials. If one of them is wrapping paper, no need to worry! We have come up with 10 awesome alternatives to the traditional roll of gift wrap. Whether it’s a last-minute pull together or you want to find some ways to wrap your gifts in a more sustainable manner (reduce and reuse!), these ideas will save your last-minute gift wrapping and put a unique spin on your present presentation this holiday season.


Using copy paper as a canvas

Draw some festive designs on copy paper and use the sheets as a fun wrapping material! For those who aren’t the best at drawing, using washi tape or even a stamp set can make this idea look super clean and professional!

For the traveler

Sometimes the best surprises have a little clue given right before the reveal. Wrap a travel-related gift in an old map to allude to the journey that the giftee has ahead of them!

Wrapping paper that’s fun BEFORE you tear it into pieces

Need to keep the kids occupied while you cook holiday dinner? Wrap your gifts in blank paper and attach a set of crayons to the box. While you get everything prepped, they get to draw whatever their little heart’s desire.

For an organic feel

Try wrapping up your gifts with brown paper packages! Not only is it super eco-friendly to reuse old materials, but brown paper really gives to gift a clean and neutral look. You probably have some of this lying around in the house already too, making it perfect for last-minute gift wrapping.

A natural gift topper option

Do you love finishing your gifts off with a snazzy topper, but ran out of sparkly bows? A super festive option is to tie a piece of an evergreen tree to the ribbon of your gift (you can take from your tree!). This option is super cute and also SMELLS amazing.

Get crafty and make some bows!

Speaking of festive toppers, have any extra gift wrap? There are tons of super simple Pinterest ideas on making DIY wrapping paper bows to make your gift pop. If you have even more extra paper, consider saving it for the next group gift you set up 🙂

For the bookworm

Newspaper is a really cool idea for a book lover’s gift. It’s extra reading! It also can look super cool and monochromatic under the tree, so your Christmas Eve pics will look super cool on your Insta feed.

Do you daydream of The Holiday Baking Championship?

I mean, I know we all do. The chefs are SO good. If you would rather be on the show than eat the food (ill take the latter!), consider baking up some awesome cookies and storing them in cute mason jars. Top the lids off with a festive cloth cover, and leave the recipient with a delicious treat AND a reusable jar.

A fashionista’s dream

The bandana top trend took TikTok by storm this year. Every Gen Z has tried at least one of the many variations of tying the piece into a trendy shirt. One of the practical last-minute gift wrapping ideas is to give a bonus present by placing your gift in a reusable printed bandana. BOOM: Instant reusable gift wrap!

Test out your origami skills

Back in my elementary school days, I was AWESOME at making paper pyramids. You can apply your younger genius to this holiday season by creating little origami paper boxes for smaller items. Some perfect options are gift cards and jewelry!


Giving back

With the last-minute gift wrapping all figured out, it’s time to talk about how to give back. A big part of the holiday season is giving back and helping out your neighbors. If you find yourself with any extra gifts or wrapping materials, consider donating them to a Toys for Tots collection in your area. Another great way to donate is through the Buy Nothing Project which offers people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies. Check out the initiatives they have in place now, or look for a local Buy Nothing Facebook group!

If you don’t have as short of a deadline on your gift, consider setting up a group gift for your loved one! You can have any extra funds raised go toward supporting those who need it in your community and beyond, setting the tone for a grateful and giving new year.


Presently is a group-gifting platform that gives people an easy way to contribute to a single gift, together. Presently enables communities to gift better, choosing quality over quantity. Organize a group gift here.

As an Amazon Affiliate, Presently earns from qualifying purchases.

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Megan Mallozzi