Oh how I love beautiful gift wrapping, but this fun tradition doesn’t have to be nearly as wasteful as we’ve let it become. Here’s what you can do. Collect ribbons, tags, paper, and such throughout the year(s) and stash them in a few drawers. Every 3-6 months reorganize to make sure you can easily find what you want. Shoeboxes and color-coding (or seasonal sorting) will save a noticeable amount of time! With an eco gift wrapping system in place the only thing new you’ll need is tape…and eventually you might even replace that with some non-toxic, homemade glue.
Anyway, not only is there something uniquely satisfying about coming up with a creative use for luggage tags or scraps of fabric, it can really inspire family, friends, and little munchkins to do the same. You can even share a brief, written explanation with the recipient(s) on how and why you a living the motto: reduce, reuse, and recycle. By the way, I also strive to give as many used or homemade treasures underneath that pretty, eco wrapping as possible. Since we are constantly voting by how we spend, or don’t spend, our money I avoid the Made in China stuff as much as possible. And if you’re feeling uber just green leave the presents naked or buy a digital offering like a donation to a (cruelty-free) non-profit. OK, here are some examples of what I’ve done.
The 1st image is a tissue box that a friend saved for me. I took the plastic lid off and stuffed the present inside along with some shredded, red tissue. One of the things that drives me crazy about tissue paper is how quickly it looks old and funky. By folding it over a few times and feeding it through a shredder though, you can make it look great again. With this box I also tied a red ribbon around the base to cover the brand-name. By the way, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a tissue box that’s this wasteful to begin with, but if you happen to know someone who isn’t ready to break the habit hit them up for their empty boxes or share this tip with them.
Somehow I acquired a discarded, big roll of brown wrapping paper which has been amazing! Not only does it make me bust out in the Sound of Music, Julie Andrews’ song, I love how it’s so versatile and creates a wonderful artisan look with little effort. It’s also easily recycled, unlike some of the fancy gift wrap out there. You can use stamps, or handwrite something on it and it’ll look fantastic.
Next, I wanted to wrap one of my favorite, used books called The Better World Handbook. Since it was for my 20-something brother-in-law (who’s got a cool indie vibe) I wrapped it with a metal chain, a claim check tag, and a warrior cut-out from an old card.
This one is really simple. I just used a calendar page. You can find unwanted or outdated calendars at thrift stores and yard sales quite a bit. I used the month of December for the holiday season.
I don’t remember at all where I got those 2 white bags, but I just added some ribbons someone had included with a different gift to me and ended up with a magical set for my sweet, little niece. She’s the perfect age where she can store beads, favorite stones, or ribbons in them.
My youngest nephew received a brown paper package tied up with string. Actually, it was yarn scrap from when my mom was visiting and working on a knitting project. Something that would otherwise be thrown away looks all warm and fuzzy, literally and figuratively.
The last one I love because it’s so classic. I had 2 tiny pieces of plaid ribbon and I was determined to find a use for them instead of tossing them in the trash. So, I tied them to another ribbon that was too short to tie in a bow. The end result was a make-shift bow that looks cheerful and out of the ordinary.
For more ideas that you can use and share with others during the holidays, and other special occasions, check out my fun video on Eco Gift Wrapping.
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