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Let me start by saying that I love wrapping presents. Nothing beats putting on some Christmas tunes and turning the dining room table into Santa’s workshop with my favorite elves (my cats) excitedly playing with ribbon and bows. The holiday spirit flows through my body and out of my fingertips to create thoughtfully wrapped presents for all of those who are near and dear to me. While I love the feel of seasonal paper folding over boxes, it’s hard not to think about how wasteful it is to wrap so many things. Let’s be real here- we see those gifts and tear through them without even thinking about how our environment is affected by our not-so-Grinchy actions. Luckily for us, there are tons of great alternatives to wrapping gifts that are eco-friendly while also serving up major holiday style.
Wrapping with Fabric
If you have excess fabric laying around, put it to use this gift-giving season. Whether it’s an old article of clothing that can’t be salvaged or some spare fabric from a previous DIY, you can turn any old piece into some serious wrapping paper. If the print on the fabric gets an A+ already, go ahead and use that. Or you can naturally dye it to make it look festive and brand new. Use the Japanese tradition of Furoshiki to wrap the fabric around your gift, and the recipient will be blown away!
For those of us who still enjoy reading a tangible newspaper, skip tossing yesterday’s news in the recycle bin and re-use it in a fun way! Go ahead and use it in the same way you would use wrapping paper, but be careful that you don’t wrap something that the print may print onto (I know from experience with the wrapping of a white book- eek!) If you’re wrapping up a box full of baking utensils, maybe use pages from the cooking section. Giving something to a lover of comics? You know what to do!
Same goes for magazines! I have a whole stack sitting on my coffee table, and I think they can spare a few pages. The glossy finish of the magazine pages will look great as shiny wrapping, and you won’t have to worry as much about the print transferring over onto your presents. Already have a box? Cut out images that remind you of who you’re giving the gift to and have an elementary school throwback with a fun collage!
Recycled Gift Wrap
You know the drill! Reduce, RE-USE, recycle. That second guy is what we’re focusing on here. No need to toss the wrapping paper from presents that you’ve received from others. Unwrap your gifts and store that paper for future holidays.
Jars and Tins
We all use ingredients in that kitchen that come from jars and tins, so this year save them, wash them out and use them as a container for your smaller gifts. A jam jar with a tiny treat inside would look adorable at the top of a stack of presents!
If the people you’re gifting to are older and know the gifts that they are receiving from Santa (thanks Mom and Dad!), is the wrapping even necessary? Add some fun elements from nature like pine cones, holly berries and pieces of tree to give those gifts a seasonal flair. If you’re still set on concealing your presents with full wrapping, consider using these pieces as alternatives to bows and ribbons!
DIY Magazine Bows
Speaking of bows…make your own! I know, I know- stepping into a store and seeing the endless selection of wrapping accessories is hard to resist, but think about it! Those bows are seen for a few minutes, then stuck to the top of someone’s head for a photo op and tossed in the trash. Make your own this year with this DIY trick for crafting them from magazine pages. Challenge accepted.
Brown Paper Bags
Whether you use reusable tote bags or not, we still end up collecting paper bags from shopping (especially at the grocery stores). Flip those inside out so you don’t see the branding, and boom, you have plain brown paper to use for your wrapping. It’s essentially a blank canvas so feel free to decorate the paper however you want. Stamps, drawings, the options are endless! Sip some hot cocoa and let the creativity flow.
DIY Gift Box
Anything is possible- remember that. Including flipping a cereal box inside out to turn it into the perfect gift box. If you have something a bit oddly shaped and need to package it in a box, no need to run to the store to buy one! This may take a bit of patience, but just remember that it’s doable. Need a smaller box? Try the toiler paper roll trick!
Sustainable Wrapping Paper
Not a big DIYer you say? That’s ok! There are plenty of sources for you to purchase sustainably made wrapping paper that’s been upcycled for your gift wrapping needs!
What are your favorite ways to sustainably wrap your presents? Let us know in the comments so we can try them out!