Tuesday, December 2, 2008

10 Easy Ways to Be More Sustainable with Holiday Gift Wrapping

This post doesn't just pertain to holiday gift wrapping, but since it's December, I put holiday in the title. Cause I try to cater to the search engines, at least in my titles. Anyway, it seems everyone is buying less this season, but people are still buying. This means that people will still need to wrap. 

Have you ever considered what a waste wrapping paper is? It's paper that is created to be thrown out. Really. Think about kids' birthday parties or a baby shower or Christmas morning. There is always a plastic trash bag standing by just to collect the wrapping paper because everyone knows it is going to get thrown out. 

Perhaps this year, we can all try to be more responsible with our gift wrap - both in the choosing of the wrap and the disposing of it. Let's go green with our gift wrapping. Here are ten easy ways.
  1. Take stock of what you already have. You may not need to buy anything if you've got a stack of half roles of wrapping paper from years' past. Use it up.
  2. Skip the bows. Those pre-made bows with the stickies on them never stay on the package, get crushed if you need to stack packages up, and end up in the trash immediately (unless you're like my family who spent all Christmas morning being told to "save the bows, save the bows" only to find them completely crushed and reusable the next holiday season at the bottom of a box - then they got thrown away).
  3. Keep your scraps. When you're wrapping a big gift, there are usually scraps that are cut off. They can usually be used to wrap gifts in a stocking.
  4. Skip wrapping the really big stuff. Throw a blanket over a new TV just to retain a little of the mystery or hide a kids' new bike in a remote area of the house and give him directions to go hunt for it. But don't use a mound of wrapping paper on a large item.
  5. Here's an oldy but goody suggestion - use last year's Christmas cards as gift tags on this years packages.
  6. Get untraditional with your choice of wrapping paper. The colorful Sunday comics (my mom is famous for using Sunday comics for wrapping) make great wrapping paper. Old maps, kids' artwork, paper bags, leftover wall paper, or pages ripped from magazines (for really small items) all can be used to wrap gifts. Check out this cool way to wrap wine bottles with newspaper.
  7. If you're going to buy new wrapping paper, buy wrap made from recycled materials.
  8. Get creative with boxes. Cereal boxes or cracker boxes are usually very clean and can be used to place items in before being wrapped. If you order gifts online, reuse the boxes that your items are delivered in.
  9. I never buy gift bags, but I have a ton of them. Do you have gift bags stashed away somewhere. Dig them out, dust them off. See which ones can be used for the holidays.
  10. When you unwrap your gifts, make sure to be responsible with the wrappings. If it's reusable, save it for another use. Flatten clothing boxes and gift bags and put them away for another use. Make sure all wrapping paper that is not going to be used again gets put in a recycle bin and not a trash bin.
I've seen a lot of suggestions this year about greener wrapping, and many people are saying "the greenest way to wrap is not to wrap at all." I don't know - maybe. But, unwrapping gifts is part of the magic of the holidays. Can you imagine being a kids, running down the stairs on Christmas morning, and finding your gifts under the tree unwrapped? I'll be wrapping this year, but I'll be doing it much more responsibly than I have in the past. How about you?

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Deoxy said...

If you can do basic sewing, you can get beautiful fabric on sale right after Christmas. Use it to make draw string bags for wrapping presents. Then you never have to buy wrapping paper again. My parents have bags that my mom made at least 12 years ago that have been used every Christmas since and still look gorgeous.

Adam Shake said...

Anouther great article. Stumbled.

These are some great ideas. I'm going to share them with my wife tonight.


GoJaws said...

check out more eco friendly baby shower tips on growinstyle.com

erica said...

while we will still be using some gift wrap, my husband and i decided to give reusable shopping bags to many family members for Christmas, so they will also double as gift bags to contain other presents.

Robin Shreeves said...

deoxy - I can barely sew on a button. It's one of those skills that I was never interested in learning earlier on life, would really love to have now, but just can't seem to fit it into all of the things I want to learn. The bags are a good idea, though.

erica - good idea to give reusable bags as gifts. I was thinking about giving chicobags to my kids teachers, but I think I'll go with my homemade pumpkin bread because the kids can help - they are their teachers.