By now, the gifts should be purchased and the wrapping is underway! So, while you’ve certainly paid special attention to what you’ve selected, how you “present the present” also needs special attention too.
The average household output of trash actually increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, due in part to wrapping paper, packaging, boxes and all of the waste that results from the holidays. Gasp! I fully intend NOT to be one of those households and will recycle everything in sight, but while you can manage what happens with the waste from the gifts you receive, you can’t guarantee what the recipients of your gifts will do…
So before you unroll yards and yards of wrapping paper, ribbons and massive bows… halt!… and consider these better ways!:
- Buy recycled wrapping paper if you absolutely MUST wrap with paper (yea, I understand that kids love to unwrap!)
- Use, save, reuse, reuse and reuse gift bags. They can have an amazingly long life. Try to choose uncoated paper though… it simply recycles better when it finally comes to the end of its use.
- Put the gift in a reusable bag. You can often score a reusable bag for less than the cost of a gift bag, and then it becomes a gift in and of itself!
- Use part of the gift as the wrap. Scarf? Towel? Basket? Bowl? Wrap it around or put it inside.
- Wrap with fabric scraps and biodegradable raffia. Simple as that!
- Skip bows and opt for berries, pinecones, evergreen clipping, twigs or a real flower instead. These natural embellishments can even make brown craft paper look festive!
- Before you toss out this year’s wall calendar, use the images for wrapping smaller packages.
- Use old holiday card photos or images to create your gift tag. You have ‘em, so use ‘em!
- Reuse, reduce, recycle. Save the materials you receive to be reused (gift bags, bows, ribbon). Reduce the amount of materials you use for your gift giving. Recycle all of the paper and packaging from your gifts and make sure they go in the bin, not the trash can.
- (You can also choose not to wrap anything it all! My mom told me “in her day” her Christmas gifts from Santa weren’t wrapped! They appeared under the tree “au naturale!” Hmmm… makes you wonder how and when Santa changed his policies!)
This will all be over before you know it! Take a deep breath, grab your green supplies and see if you can join me in avoiding that 25%!