Holiday Gift Wrapping using Foliage and Fabric


Happy Friday everyone!

I’ll be first to admit that I am not the best gift wrapper, but I do love to decorate a gift to make up for my shortcomings with straight creases and square edges.

This year I was inspired more than ever to decorate my holiday gifts using beautiful natural Indonesian foliage and fruit foraged in my neighbourhood and in my garden. Over the last few weeks as I’ve been out running in my neighbourhood I’ve been noticing new season fruit beginning to grow and ripen on trees and some dropping before it had ripened ….back in my garden the rainy season has encouraged new growth to my citrus trees and generally everything has had a growth spurt. Hence the great outdoors became the inspiration for today’s post.

At the same time, Jo has been preparing for the holiday season, and with the same desire to up-cycle, she is sharing her beautiful batik drawstring gift bags here; made from precious leftover batik which the gift recipient can use again.

Holiday Gift Wrapping using Foliage and Fabric

Make it festive with:

  • Festive coloured ribbon, natural hemp string, plain white or craft paper and batik fabric
  • Foraged greenery from your neighbourhood (my friend lives near the Innisfil Waterfront and she always tells me how much foraged greenery there is around her house!)
  • Fresh foliage and fruit from your garden. The gift recipient can enjoy both the look, smell and taste of your seasonal cuttings

That’s it! Just a few simple things and you can give your gift a beautiful local touch.

Set the mood with:

Music! Yes! pump up the Christmas or holiday music if you are a fan, or any music at all really, and treat yourself to your favourite snack or drink before diving into the wrapping and decorating.

Keep it simple with:

  • Plain wrapping paper
  • String and ribbon in a couple of colours only and craft or white paper
  • Greenery works perfectly with any kind of wrapping paper, but we particularly like it alongside craft or white paper. Once you have wrapped your gift, it’s as simple as threading the greenery through the tied ribbon
Natural hemp string and ribbons in red, white and green from Toko Maju, Pasar Mayestik

Gift Toppers

Foraged in my neighbourhood:

These are young, unripened mangosteen or manggis as they are called in Indonesia. I was drawn to their rich red colour! I spotted them whilst out for a run having fallen off the tree. When I returned home I jumped on my bike and headed back to collect a bundle in my bike basket. You can read more about Indonesian tropical fruits here.
Start with simple white wrapping paper, red and white striped ribbon. Using a glue gun add some glue to the bottom of each mangosteen and position onto your gift. Too easy!
I can never resist carrying a few of these furry little fellows home with me when I’m out trotting around my neighbourhood or riding my bike. These are young, unripened rambutan. To me they look like pom poms and remind me of Christmas.
Use the same method as I did with the mangosteen. Once your gift is wrapped and you have chosen some festive ribbon, place the rambutan on your gift, in an arrangement you like.
Make a holiday bowl decoration with the leftover young manggis and rambutan. Mix them together for a festive touch to your home.

Picked from my garden:

Why not put that finishing touch to your gift with something from your garden? ‘Pohon Jeruk jenis Imlek China’ It looks and smells great! Read more here, Growing your own produce in Jakarta
Adding a festive touch with a branch from my lemon tree
The highly aromatic kaffir lime leaf – ‘daun jeruk purut’
This gift topper not only looks fresh and festive but the receiver can also use it in their kitchen. Hello tonight’s curry!
Butterfly pea flower. It grows as a vine and the most striking feature of this plant is the colour of its flowers, a vivid deep blue with light yellow markings. They are edible when tender and can be made into tea. Today we think it makes a great gift decoration. Why not also share with the gift recipient how this beautiful flower can be made into a light and refreshing tea. For this, see our post on Mandira’s Garden
Simply thread the butterfly pea stem under string and your gift is ready to go!
Pandan leaf. From curries to cakes, pandan adds flavour and colour to Indonesian cooking, but today we think it makes a great gift decoration!
You can work with daun pandan just like you would with tear ribbon. Take one pandan leaf and tear down the leaf about one quarter the way down. Make three tears then tie the whole leaf into a knot, just as you would if you were using it for cooking. Either thread it under the ribbon or use a little glue to attach it to your gift.
Fish bone fern – ‘Jenis Pohon Pakis’
We think the fishbone fern works really well tied with natural hemp string.
The same applies to this variagated leaf picked from my garden.

Jo’s up-cycled batik gift bags:

Jo had been thoughtfully holding on to a collection of beautiful leftover Indonesian batik fabric waiting for the opportunity to upcycle them. Coming up to the holiday season she decided to ask Pak Hasan from Hanidas Collection to make her precious leftover fabric into drawstring gift bags. Isn’t this a great idea and aren’t they just stunning! What a lucky gift recipient!


These are just a few simple ideas to get you started. Play around with materials, start in your garden or hit the streets and forage. Above all, have fun with this, even if you are not best gift wrapper like me!

Common Sense Caution: Do be careful about collecting plants you are not familiar with and do be sure to follow local regulations. Do some research first to make sure you know what you are collecting. Google image search is your friend! 😉

Suppliers and Stockists:

Hanidas Collection – Handcraft & Textiles
Jl. Pelita Abdul Majid
No. 5B
Cilandak Barat
Jakarta Selatan

Phone: 021 7180606
0853 11031352

Mandira’s Garden – to purchase a butterfly pea plant
Jl. Kemang Timur No. 55

Pasar Mayestik
Jl. Tebah 3,
RT.14/RW.3, Gunung
Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta Selatan


Words: Liz McClean Photography: a journey bespoke

Let’s stay in touch on Instagram : @ajourneybespoke

You might also like:
The holiday season all wrapped up! Jakarta Style!
The ajb 2018 Holiday Gift Guide
The ajb 2017 Holiday Gift Guide
The ajb 2016 Holiday Gift Guide
The ajb 2015 Oleh Oleh Gift Guide
Crafty and Cool DIY Paper Diamonds
The ajb Ultimate Guide to preparing your house for a Jakarta Christmas


Leave a Reply