Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping
12.17.13 Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping
It's no small feat to find meaningful gifts for all of the people on your list. But then there's an expectation that they'll be presented beautifully wrapped, perfectly concealing the gift until opened. It's no wonder that we find ourselves on auto pilot mode and wrap everything almost identically, going through rolls and rolls of gift wrap. But here's the sad truth: half of the paper consumed in the US, every year, is wrapping paper!
But is there a good, eco-friendly and festive alternative? Sure! Frankly, gifts that have an original touch of the hand, even if it's just a small sprig of pine or juniper berries, just feel more personal and likely to be noticed by the recipient. So, if you're looking to reduce some waste and add some personal flair to your gifts, here are some ideas for eco-friendly gift wrap.
Reusing Paper: This is a terrific first step. We have so many paper products that can be easily and innovatively re-used. Just take a look around the house and you'll surely get ideas for what to repurpose.
1) With your child's permission, you may have found a wonderful (re)purpose for that pile of colorful drawings and paintings they've made (and accumulated) over the year.
2) The art section of the newspaper: you can't go wrong with using printed art or illustrations from the newspaper or magazine insert. Align the image front and center and you've just co-opted a piece of art!
3) Old maps or outdated calendars: Remember some fantastic trips from the year or specific special dates with a loving gift wrapped in a visual memory.
4) Brown grocery bags: this wonderfully textured brown paper is IDEAL for ink stamping or painting for the gift that will surely stand out and speak one-of-a-kind personal touch.
5) Finally, don't overlook all of the paper that naturally comes with a store-bought item - this could be put to good use.
Cloth: Wrapping gifts in cloth is traditional in Japan, known as the furoshiki method. Any kind of cloth can be used - old scarves, pillowcases or even incorporating tea towels as part of the gift). We are also fond of reusable fabric gift bags as well. Available in 3 different sizes (the medium size is perfect for a bottle of wine) these bags are made without the use of heavy metal dyes and meant to be reused many times.
Reusable Containers: When we give gifts that are handmade, like edible gifts (cookies, truffles, roasted nuts) or traditional recipes for soups already assembled with ingredients in the jar or natural health remedies like sugar scrubs, bath soaks and lotion bars, it's important to have a container that connects with the gift. Air-tight glass containers like Weck canning jars and Kilner glass jars are perfect for homemade concoctions of any kind. Wrap gifts like jewelry, soaps or gift cards in reusable sandwich bags or Wean Green glasslock containers.
Decorations: It's fun to embellish wrapped gifts with unusual objects that are either beautiful in design or meaningful representations like buttons, photographs or mementos. Cinnamon sticks, tree bark, jute twine or baker's twine, paper snowflakes, dried lemons, pine needles and pine cones are just a few objects that would spruce up a holiday gift. Add in a handmade label and your gift will stand out from the pile of nondescript gifts. For small gifts like cookies in a unbleached paper bag, try clipping it closed with a colorful wooden clothespin.
And for more inspiration, take a look at our Eco-Friendly Holidays Pinterest board!
AND NOW FOR A GIVEAWAY! We have 3 reusable fabric gift bags (one of each size and pattern) to give away to start one lucky winner down the path of using reusable gift bags.