Christmas brings family, togetherness, food, and presents. Unfortunately, Christmas can also bring a lot of waste. I love surprising my friends and family with the perfect gift, but I don’t love all the wrapping paper that gets tossed out on Christmas morning.
Fortunately, there are many easy and creative ways of ditching the wrapping paper and reducing that unnecessary waste!
Reusable Gift Bags
Most of us already have a big gift bag filled with smaller gift bags tucked away in a closet somewhere. Gift bags are the easiest way to skip the wrapping paper. There’s no reason you can’t keep the tissue paper and reuse that as well.
I keep a variety of boxes and reuse them for gift giving at Christmas and year round. Some of them come from shipping, other gifts, small appliances, or even cereal or other foodstuffs. It’s kind of a running gag around here – “I got you a jumbo box of Rice Krispies for Christmas!”
My husband’s family has a wonderful tradition where they always put one small present in a vintage puppet box the kids got 40 years ago. Christmas isn’t complete until someone opens the puppet box!
Instead of wrapping individual presents, consider arranging them in a nice wicker or sea grass woven basket. It’s a beautiful way to present your gift and the recipient can use it afterward around their house.
Cloth Gift Bags
Different sizes of reusable cloth bags are a great choice for wrapping presents. Bonus, they work for weirdly shaped presents too. No more folding paper over strange bumps and lumps or tearing over the edges. You can either buy drawstring cloth bags, or if you’re crafty, make your own from fabric scraps or an old pillow case.
Recycled Packing Material
When I order items online, they often arrive shipped in kraft paper. I keep this to turn into rustic wrapping paper! Since unbleached kraft paper is biodegradable, recyclable, and compostable, you can reuse the paper then recycle or compost it afterward. Plus they’re fun to decorate with stamps or markers for personalized paper.
I still have a bunch of old maps and even – gasp! – Yellow Pages kicking around in my basement. While they’re completely useless as reference books now, they can be upcycled into really interesting wrapping paper.
Do you have any old bandannas, scarves, or pieces of scrap fabric lying around? Maybe a T-shirt that’s too small or too worn to wear anymore? Upcycle them into reusable fabric gift wrap! Check out tutorials on YouTube for “furoshiki” or the traditional art of Japanese wrapping.
I still remember wrapping presents in the funny pages when I was a kid. If you still receive newspapers or newsprint flyers, use a couple of sheets to wrap your presents. Newsprint is easily recyclable, but since it can be messy, this is probably a better option for adult recipients.
Jars or Tins
Smaller items look fabulous in a decorative mason jar or tin. If you’re feeling fancy, create a one of a kind beautiful gift jar or tin your recipient will treasure long past the holidays by collaging personal photos on the outside with a layer of non-toxic modge podge. I’m sure the grandparents would love to receive a tin decorated with hand drawn pictures and a message from the kids.
Present in a Present
What about wrapping a smaller present inside a bigger present? Wrap a book or jewelry box inside a pretty scarf or a cozy throw blanket. Two presents in one!
Eco-Friendlier Wrapping Paper
Finally, if you must use wrapping paper, choose non-metallic post-consumer recycled wrap. Post-consumer waste paper means it’s made from paper reclaimed from home or office recycling and closes the recycling loop. Avoiding metallic or foil finishes means it can be recycled again when you’re done.
What other ways have you found to reduce wrapping paper this Christmas?
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