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How To Create Sustainable Festive Gift Packaging: The Ultimate Guide

How To Create Sustainable Festive Gift Packaging: The Ultimate Guide

By: Stefan Christie

8 Minute Read

As the nights draw in, the leaves begin to fall, and it starts to get colder, some people are annoyed summer is over, others excited for the Christmas season ahead. This creates a major opportunity for your brand, and it is important to join the festive fun with a packaging line to reflect this.

Whether your business brews quality beer, manufactures fine cheese or retails clothing online it is almostBrewing Beer Craft a given that somebody will want to buy your products for one of their friends or relatives as a Christmas present. 

In this guide we will look to help you create an excellent festive gift for your clients. Keeping sustainability at the forefront of your mind at all times. 

Let’s crack on. 

Creating your festive design

The products you choose to include within your gift pack are important.  If you have a product which is highly popular, it’s more likely to be chosen than a product which is less familiar. For example, the Hazy Jane, a very popular Brewdog can would be a brilliant product to include in your gift pack. 

Once you’ve got your product, the next thing to do is showcase it. Have windows or holes in your packaging to give customers a glimpse of the product. This enables the product to speak for itself and removes any misconceptions of what is and is not included.

Windows can easily be cut into the packaging during the die cutting process.

Keeping your design focused on your brand will help strengthen your brand power and appeal to your most loyal clients. Focus on your brand colours but also give that hint of festivity, that little Christmasy feel. Maybe adding a Snowman theme, or wrapping your product in a Christmas hat. Something simple but memorable. 

There are many ways to design your packaging, get in touch if you need some help designing.

“Start with the end in mind”. 

As Stephen Covey says, it’s always good to “Start with the end in mind”. 

A key part of your product packaging is its end of life, where will it end up, how does the customers dispose of it. As a brand, it’s your responsibility to give the consumer the opportunity to easily dispose of Seedlings Packagingthe product packaging in a responsible way. The easiest way to do this is by using paper or card as your packaging as the local authorities all around the UK have enabled kerbside recycling, making it easy for consumers to recycle any cardboard they end up with. 

By making your packaging sustainable and easily recyclable, you can show customers you are doing your bit for the planet. 

A recent innovation is the seed paper packaging. A great way to show customers you are doing all you can to be more sustainable. This packaging can be easily planted and it enables a playful feelgood factor of giving back to the environment. 

If you’re still using single-use plastics, this has to be thrown away into general waste, ending up in landfill or being incinerated. As we know, plastics are strong and can take between 50-500 years to break down! There’s also the issue of plastics ending up in the sea and causing danger to nature and sea life. 

The top features your festive packaging should have.

Make sure your packaging is able to be flat packed. By creating packaging that can be stacked flat when shipped and stored will no doubt save you some cash. But not only this, when the consumer has to deal with it, they can easily flat-pack the box making it easier to recycle. 

Adding a window to your box or bag shows off your product, and the actual contents inside. It helps consumers to see what really is inside the box and builds that extra layer of trust with the brand. 

Strength. Your packaging has to be strong enough to hold your products. If your box isn’t well-built and rigid, and it ends up broken or damaged at its final destination, it’s not going to help your brand name, and most likely you’ll lose repeat customers. A lot of companies use couriers like Hermes to ship parcels,Red and Green Christmas Packaging often they’re not too careful with handling goods, so a strong, sturdy cardboard box will help protect your product and it’s inner packaging from damage. 

When shipping goods with your own logistics network, it’s important your products fit into the outer packaging. Not only does this minimalise damage, but also avoids that customer frustration when they see a small product in a big box. But, by all means use the necessary void fill to pack and protect the internal products, just don’t go OTT. 

The best materials to choose. 

Corrugated board, otherwise known as fluted board, is the most widely used packaging material. This is because it is readily available and can be easily printed or mounted to promote your brand name. With companies such as Smurfit Kappa manufacturing the material right here in the UK, corrugated board is the go-to option for packaging material. You can even add the FSC logo to your product (if certified) to show the eco savvy consumers that the packaging you are using is truly sustainable and recyclable. 

A second option would be Chromo Board, less well-know but a good choice. It’s a hard, white cardboard, generally used for packaging smaller items like candles or cosmetics. Although it is a strong board for it’s thickness, it would usually need a corrugated shipping box or mailer box to protect it during transportation. 

Different types of finishes for your packaging. 

There are many different finished you could choose from, here are the most popular:

  • Uncoated – This is the board in raw form. It gives a rustic, textured finish look, but due to it being made in batches, the colour of the material does sometimes vary a little. 
  • Coated – Having a coating on your packaging gives a more uniformed finish. But, make sure you choose the coatings carefully as a lot cannot be recycled. 
  • Laminated – A common choice, this is where a sheet is mounted over the corrugated cardboard. So, you can have a cheap made box, and mount it with a laminated sheet to give it that upgraded, quality finish. 
  • Embossed – To help make a logo or brand name stand out on your packaging, you can make your design protrude from the surface. It adds that extra feel, extra texture to your packaging which customers will love. 

What materials should I avoid?

Plastic. Plastic. Plastic. 

Recyclable plastic is ok, but not single-use plastic. That stuff is not recyclable and causes more harm than you may realise.

Here are the top 5 reasons to avoid plastic where possible:

  1. It kills ocean animals and plants
  2. It kills terrestrial wildlife
  3. It takes up space
  4. It produces chemical pollution
  5. It creates microplastics

Plastic is everywhere, a lot of companies still use it and it’s creating an escalating problem for the society to cope with. That’s the whole point of the latest plastic tax, to reduce the use of single-use plastics. 

The good news … consumers are becoming aware of the toxicity of plastics and most are opting for brands who use less of the stuff. Don’t believe me? Send a survey to your customers, find out what packaging them prefer, and a high percentage will choose a recyclable option. 

The steps to creating the perfect festive gift pack …

  1. Decisions – Decide on the products you’re going to place inside your gift pack. A lot of brands pick their top selling product, others have other ideas and include promotional items, a branded hip flask or special set of cuff links. 
  2. Design – Draw up some rough ideas, make some notes, take some time and think about what you want on your packaging. It’s always good to come up with 3-5 different ideas, then take some time off, come back to it and choose the best ones. 
  3. The Design Team – Get in touch with a Packaging Design Expert, there always friendly and available for a quick chat to help you out with your designing. Our internal design team can be called on 0113 387 9608, or emailed at, and we can create a 3D mockup of how your packaging will look. 
  4. Sample – If you’re still unsure, you could always ask for a sample. It can be done quickly, and enables proper testing for you to be able to make any tweaks necessary. 
  5. Finalise – Once you’re certain of the design you would like, it can be signed off. At this stage, it’s always important to check the design is exactly how you would like, no spelling mistakes, no design errors, as once it’s been finalised there’s no going back. 
  6. Delivery – When your order is printed, packed, and ready to ship, where possible we recommend using a dedicated delivery service to ensure the packaging is kept dry and handle with care. 
  7. Packing – You’ve received your packaging, now it’s time to start packing your gift boxes. 
  8. Marketing and Selling – Once everything’s in place and ready to go, market your gift boxes, share them all over social media, get them on the shelves of your physical or online store.

When to do all this

It’s better to be prepared early in the year than last minute, we recommend getting everything ready at least 8 weeks in advance, but to help you out, here’s a little timescale.

Process for printed packaging

Wrapping up …

Having a good, well-presented product at Christmas is key to the amount of sales you’ll get. But adding that extra sustainability will also help consumers to see you are doing your bit for the planet. 

Struggling with designing, choosing your packaging, or anything else?


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Becoming eco-friendly is imperative in today’s world. With 72% choosing sustainable brands, retailers need to do their bit to protect the planet to bolster customer loyalty. The Sustabio mission is to help those brands reduce their environmental impact quickly and easily.

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