Christmas Gift Wrap Ideas: 12 Ways To Embellish Gifts With Natural Materials

Natural DIY Christmas gift wrap ideas featuring foliage, pinecones, and other natural materials from the garden.
(Image credit: Aamulya)

The most magical Christmas gift wrap ideas incorporate natural elements, evoking the feel of an enchanted woodland.

These crafty ideas are easy to recreate, and are the ideal complement to natural Christmas decorations.

Gather materials from the garden, or forage for foliage, berries, and pinecones on festive winter walks. Even a simple sprig of greenery tucked into a ribbon makes a big impact.

You don't need to spend a lot of money on patterned gift wrap – simple brown paper is the perfect foil for nature's rich tones.

Why not make your gift wrapping even more sustainable by going zero waste? Use reusable fabric offcuts to wrap your presents, and decorate with garden finds.

DIY Christmas gift wrap ideas to inspire

Many of these Christmas gift wrap ideas are ideal craft projects for children to help with – and if you want even more festive makes to keep busy, then download our free ebook.

1. Tie on dried citrus fruits

Gifts wrapped in brown paper and embellished with citrus fruit slices and rosemary

Dried citrus fruits add an inviting warmth and fragrance to gifts, especially when teamed with aromatic rosemary.

Brown paper makes the perfect pairing for these natural elements, and old gift wrap can be repurposed as ‘ribbon’.

Drying fruit slices is easy if you have a food dehydrator, but they can also be dried in a warm oven.

To do this, place fruit slices on a tray in a preheated oven at 140-150°F (60-66°C). Leave the oven door slightly open to allow excess moisture to escape, and heat for four to eight hours – checking and adjusting the slices every 30 minutes until dry.

To attach your citrus slices to gifts, make a hole in either side and thread through string or ribbon.

2. Use pinecones as ornaments

Traditional fragrant Christmas decorations: rustic gift wrapped present with marbled paper, pinecones and orange raffia ribbon

There are so many lovely pinecone Christmas crafts, and turning them into gift tag ornaments is one of the simplest ways to make an impact.

To attach pinecones to gifts, you need to utilize the lower scales of the cones, wrapping string, raffia, or ribbon around them.

If the scales are too tight, then place the pinecones in a warm spot for a few days and allow them to open naturally. You can speed things up by placing them in an oven set no higher than 200°F (93°C) for 30 minutes.

If you have managed to collect a lot of pinecones, then why not use some to make a pinecone garland?

3. Arrange a floral gift box posy

Gift box posy made using heather, eucalyptus and mimosa

This simple posy adds a decorative – and entirely natural – touch to gift boxes. Go bigger or smaller depending on the size of the gift.

Here, heather has been used with mimosa and eucalyptus, but you can use whatever flowers and foliage you have in your garden.

Trim similarly sized sprigs of your foliage and flowers – two of each – and then layer them up in six alternate layers.

Tie a simple knot at the base using green string or raffia and neatly trim the ends. Attach the finished posy to the gift box with ribbon.

4. Top gifts with a poinsettia

Lemon colored poinsettia placed on small gift box with candy pink ribbon and rose hips

As far as Christmas gift wrap ideas go, this one couldn’t be more simple and impactful.

Poinsettias are symbols of the holiday season, and while traditionally thought of as red come in a range of stunning colors, from candy pink to yellow, and pure white.

The plant’s ‘flowers’ are actually bracts, and they stand up well to being used as gift toppers. However, they are best when fresh, so cut your poinsettia on the same day you intend to present the gift. Leave enough stem so that you can poke it into a ribbon.

5. Use sprigs of foliage with fabric for a zero-waste celebration

Female hand holding a gift in eco friendly reusable fabric package. Finished with sprigs of foliage.

There is often so much waste around the holidays, so buck the trend by wrapping your gifts with reusable fabric remnants.

This sustainable zero-waste option is inspired by furoshiki – the traditional Japanese art of fabric wrapping.

To do it yourself, wrap the gift with a fabric square and tie a knot to hold in place across the center. Insert a simple sprig of foliage, such as eucalyptus, spruce, or fir.

6. Decorate gifts with dried flowers

Close up of gift wrapped presents decorated with ribbons and dried flowers.

Using dried flowers and seed heads to decorate gifts is a great way to enjoy plants from previous seasons.

Flowers can either be air dried or by using heat or desiccant – the best method depends on the size and robustness of the flower head.

Blooms with smaller heads, such as lavender, are best air dried by hanging them upside down in a warm, dark place – this will take a few weeks.

Larger flowers, such as roses, can be quickly dried in the microwave – simply bury the flowers in silica gel in a microwave-safe container, and heat in one-minute intervals.

Delicate blooms, such as dahlias, are best dried using a desiccant, such as silica gel. Cover them in the gel, seal in an airtight container and leave for 3-7 days.

Bear in mind that dried flowers are fragile, so take care when attaching them to your gifts.

7. Use fragrant herbs from the garden

Eco craft Christmas gift boxes wrapped in string and trimmed with rosemary

There's nothing like fresh herbs to add an inviting aroma to winter celebrations. Rosemary and bay leaves are some of the best holiday herbs and make a beautiful flourish to gifts. If you have any dried lavender leftover from the summer, this is also lovely.

Using herbs is one of the simplest Christmas gift wrap ideas, but really makes an impact with the recipient.

Simply trim a sprig of fresh green growth from your plant, and tuck behind string or ribbon, next to the name tag.

8. Make an impact with berries

If you are lucky enough to have plants with beautiful red berries in your garden over winter, then take some cuttings to embellish gifts.

Holly, firethorn, and cotoneaster are all good choices, but even rose hips can double as berries.

For a different – yet equally festive – feel, take cuttings from plants with white berries, such as snowberry or mistletoe.

Make sure you have plenty of stalk on your berries so you can easily insert them behind a ribbon.

9. Add sparkle with gold foliage

Present wrapped with copper wrapping paper, gold sprayed leaves

Shimmering metallic foliage adds an opulent touch to gift wrapping, and is so easy to achieve.

Simply spray-paint the leaves with gold or silver paint. Work in a well-ventilated area, and put down newspaper to protect surfaces.

You can use any attractive foliage from the garden – look for interesting leaf shapes, ensuring they have long enough stems for slotting under string or ribbon.

10. Make potato stamps to print custom wrapping paper

Potato stamp used to print Christmas tree wrapping paper

For a spin on the idea of using natural elements to wrap your gifts, try printing your own wrapping paper using a vegetable stamp.

Take a potato and cut out your design with a knife. To make things easier, you can push a Christmas cookie cutter into the potato and cut away the excess. Dip the stamp into paint and get busy printing.

If you want to add more of a natural touch to the design, use leaves from the garden to print wrapping paper, or even citrus fruits cut in half.

11. Trim name tags with foliage

Brown gift boxes with hessian ribbons and rosemary used as foliage

Turn foliage such as rosemary into a mini wreath. To recreate this gift wrap idea, take two lengths of hessian, long enough for each to wrap around the sides of the box, and secure both ends to the top with double-sided tape.

Cut a circle from card to make the label, and place in the center on top of the hessian 'ribbon'. Then very gently bend the sprig of foliage to form a mini circular wreath shape, and secure the ends with florist's wire.

12. Make a moss wreath gift topper

Christmas present wrapped in grey and white paper with silver ribbon, green moss wreath and name tag.

There are so many fabulous DIY winter wreath ideas you can make. However, a mini moss wreath gift topper adds such a natural touch to Christmas gift wrapping ideas.

To recreate this idea, take a small wire wreath frame – around 5-6" diameter. If you can't find one, then you can make one with wire.

Take small clumps of moss and mould around the frame, wrapping round binding wire, or florist's wire, to secure it in place.

When finished, rest your mini wreath on kitchen paper over night to take out most of the moisture, before attaching to your gift.

Melanie Griffiths
Senior Editor

Melanie has worked in homes and gardens media for two decades. Having previously served as Editor on Period Living magazine, and worked on Homes & Gardens, Gardening Etc, Real Homes, and Homebuilding & Renovating, she is now focusing on her passion for gardening as a Senior Editor at Gardening Know How.

Melanie has spent the last few years transforming her own garden, and is also a keen home grower, having experimented with pretty much every type of vegetable at some point.

In her spare time, she loves to explore inspiring gardens and historic properties.