Gift Wrap vs. Gift Bags
By Gift Card Packaging, Holiday Packaging, Packaging Resources
Dec 07

Gift Wrap vs. Gift Bags

Will you tackle the wrapping paper and bows this year or stick to gift bags with tissue paper?

Holiday printed paper shopping bags and gift bags

It seems that standard gift wrap has become less popular recently, as people are often favoring gift bags instead. The obvious reason for this is that gift wrapping is difficult and messy, and after the paper is ripped to shreds it’s destined for the trashcan. Gift bags on the other hand, are simple and reusable without sacrificing style. Both are available in thousands of prints and colors and are easy to customize. Both gift wrap and gift bags have their benefits and drawbacks, so there are a few factors to consider when choosing between the two.

Gift Wrap

Holiday and Christmas gift wrap

Gift wrap comes in an endless number of patterns, colors, and finishes and is cost effective, making it a great option for packaging gifts. Gift wrapping is a more traditional approach, and ultimately it will never go out of style. Wrapped gifts tend to look more clean and modern as long as they are wrapped neatly and professionally.

Gift wrapping requires the item you are wrapping to be in a sturdy box, and also requires a lot of tape and patience. Items that aren’t already boxed, or oddly shaped items, will be a little more difficult to wrap. The best part about wrapping gifts is getting to decorate them with ribbons or bows. A lovely coordinated ribbon or bow makes a wrapped gift look spectacular under a Christmas tree or on display. Splash Packaging sells several types of ribbons, bows, and space-saving pull bows that can be stored flat until they are needed to save valuable warehouse space.

Pom pull bows, satin finish, multiple colors

Wrapped gifts also travel better and there’s less risk of the packaging getting ruined compared to gift bags which can fall over, slide around, or get crumpled. Gift wrap is usually fairly thin though, making it prone to rips and tears if not handled properly. Don’t forget that wrapped gifts are usually the most fun for people to open, which usually involves tearing them apart in a frenzy. Wrapping paper can only be reused if it is very carefully opened, which we all know is nearly impossible.

Gift Bags
Modern Holiday Print Shopping Bags and Gift Bags

Gift bags are a wonderful alternative to wrapping paper, as they are easy to use and can be reused several times before being discarded. Gift bags usually require tissue paper, which is low cost and can add more color and individuality to the gift. Gift bags are a wonderful option for oddly shaped items, as long as they are not too heavy to risk ripping the bag.

Holiday Sparkle Tissue Paper

Gift bags tend to be more expensive than gift wrap, and there is the additional cost of tissue paper and labels or card tags if needed. Another downside to gift bags is that they can fall over, break, or the gift inside can accidentally be revealed. Also they may not be ideal for large gifts, heavy gifts, or certain types of clothing. There are many cases in which a wrapped box would be a much better choice.

Environmental Considerations

Gift bags are probably the more environmentally friendly option, as long as they are saved and reused. Anything that is thrown away is not being utilized as environmentally friendly, so it’s up to the end user to recycle properly. When thinking about gift packaging options for your business, there are no guarantees to what the end user will choose to do with the packaging. Some people will be more likely to save and reuse bags, while others will throw them away without a thought.

Many people may not know this, but wrapping paper is usually not recyclable. The paper is often dyed, laminated or accented with foil, glitter, plastics or other materials that cannot be recycled. There are some recyclable wrapping papers on the market, however these will usually be more expensive than normal wrapping paper. Certain types of gift bags can be recycled but similar limitations apply to bags that have been dyed, laminated, or otherwise altered. It is sometimes difficult for consumers to determine whether or not something is recyclable, so they may just throw it away if they are unsure.

If you prefer to focus on the production of the packaging being eco-friendly, most options utilize some amount of recycled content in their production. Some types of bags or gift wrap can contain more recycled materials than others. Splash Packaging‘s website lists the amount of recycled content on most options so you can make a conscious decision about your packaging.

Splash packaging’s Leaves and Berries bags are recyclable and compostable, and made from 100% post-consumer recycled content. These fashionable bags are a great eco-friendly holiday gift bag option!

Subtle Holiday Print Gift Bags

These Contempo Canes paper shopping bags are reversible, so you can achieve two different holiday looks with the same bag!

Candy Cane Paper Gift Bags


Splash Packaging carries many stock options of gift bags, boxes, wrapping paper, tissue paper and gift card boxes. All stock items can be ordered from our website 24/7! If you choose to use both gift bags and gift wrap, Splash Packaging carries many designs and colors that you can mix and match to create coordinating packaging.

Custom printed wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, and more can be ordered with our affiliate company Morgan Chaney Packaging. Click here for more information on custom printed packaging.

Comments (2)

  1. Lauren Jones Jul 26 2017 - 11:22 am

    I feel like I am constantly having to give gifts for special occasions, and I find that it takes a lot of my time to wrap them each. It is good to know that gift bags are easy to use and can be reused several times. Thanks for informing me that they usually require tissue paper which is inexpensive. I will have to try this wrapping option to save me time, thanks again.

  2. Mary James May 21 2019 - 1:52 pm

    Thanks for this amazing post, I really appreciate your work and wish you luck for more amazing work in the future.

Comments are closed.

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