Last week we talked about the actual gifts we’re giving to family and friends in celebration of Christmas. What about presentation? For those who place gifts under the tree for a few days before the 25th, you may want to present a cohesive visual picture or theme. At our house, with two cats and a dog, it’s somewhat dangerous to leave unattended objects lying around, especially if they smell interesting or have tendrils that look entertaining.
Gift wrap is inexpensive and comes in every style and color imaginable, as do bows and ribbons. For the most part, however, they’re throw-away items. I found this stat on a dozen different sites:
Gift wrapping from the holidays adds an additional one million tons per week to US landfills from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.
When you have young kids, it can be fun to take brown kraft paper, a few stamps, and colored ink pads. While this is far more personal, it doesn’t do much to address the environmental impact of creation or disposal.
Here are a few ideas, in varying degrees of pretty, speedy, and green!
1. Paper gift bags. Pro? While made of similar material as wrapping paper, these can be reused for quite a few years. They’re also easy to find in any shop. Con? Not eco-friendly to make. Also, snoopy people can easily peer inside, and pets will be tempted by the tissue paper peeking out.
2. Fabric gift bags. Pro? Can be made in any size with holiday fabric you find attractive, and are reusable for a lifetime. Con? They take time to make initially, and require some sewing skills. (Or you can purchase them from a company such as Ecorations.)
3. Wrap in towels, blankets, or fabric. Pro? The wrap is part of the gift. Con? This may not be as attractive as other methods.
4. Found paper objects, such as newspaper (comics?), wallpaper samples, etc. Pro? The paper has already served its primary purpose, so being used as wrapping is just a detour towards an already certain fate. Con? May not seem Christmassy.
5. Crocheted gift bags like these. Pro? Fun and reusable. Con? Time to make, and the ability to crochet. (Knitted versions are also possible.)
6. Recycled Wrapping Paper. If nothing but the traditional style will do, check out Green Girls and order recycled paper. Pro? Less environmental impact than single-use paper. Con? It will still hit the landfill right after the holidays.
7. Gift boxes. Pro? They look festive, come in many sizes, are readily available, and can be reused for years. Con? Not made in an environmentally friendly fashion.
8. Baskets & Tins. Pro? Can easily be found in thrift stores, and can be reused as gift wrap or storage. Con? Finding the right sizes and styles can be difficult.
This article has dozens of ideas with links to directions (even some how-to videos) for a variety of other wrapping options.
Final Touches: Take apart an old VHS or cassette and use the tape for bows! Use old silk flowers on packages, or found nature objects such as pine cones and/or bits of cedar greens. How about making ribbons and bows from mostly solid colored magazine pages as my daughter did one year.
Gift Tags: It’s fun to make your own tags with cardstock and a few stamps, or letters cut out of newspapers. How about reusing old Christmas cards?
Any wrapping ideas or considerations youâ€™d like to share with each other? Add a comment!
Shiny paper isn’t recylable. So buy matte! And then don’t throw it in the garbage. And that’s my tip for today.
Additional con for your eco-friendly options: They have to be stored from year to year. Bags are easy, but tins and boxes? They’re going to take up some space. I guess they could double as decoration storage, though.