Wrapped Christmas presents that look great under the tree are an essential part of the Christmas atmosphere and decorations of a home. However, on Christmas morning when I see the bags and bags of wrapping paper waste it almost makes me sad. Perhaps it is simply because Christmas is beginning its finale and will soon come to a close or that all that pretty, expensive paper (not to mention hard work and time!) is now crumpled, torn and shoved in a garbage bag.
I think above all else, in these moments, I realize how much I am adding to the landfill. Earth911 estimates that 2.3 billion tons of wrapping paper end up in the landfill each year. My brain starts reeling with possible alternatives with how I could wrap gifts. I struggle with finding a balance between wanting to keep things aesthetically the same, but changing them for the betterment of our planet. Ultimately, the best gift we can give is a healthier, and cleaner future for everyone.
There is a misconception that gift wrapping cannot be beautiful if sustainably wrapped. I whole-heartedly disagree. In fact, the concept of beautiful wrapping matched with less waste in the landfills is an idea that shines above even the most beautiful foil wrapping papers. Additionally, putting a little extra time into wrapping is a fun tradition that allows us to slow down and enjoy the season that much more.
First Sustainable Present Wrapping Tip: Don’t Waste Wrapping Paper
Even before the wrapping paper comes off on Christmas day, we often find ourselves throwing many smaller portions of it away during the gift wrapping process. There are a couple of ways to combat this waste, saving you money just as much as you’re saving the planet. First, instead of just eyeballing the amount of paper you’ll need to wrap a box, measure it out before cutting. This is easier than it sounds- simply roll out the gift wrap and gently flip your box over, both on its back and side, to get a better idea of how much paper you need.
The second way to avoid throwing away unused scraps of paper is to create something with it! Check out this Youtube video from “But First, Coffee” to get some great ideas on how to use smaller pieces of wrapping paper. Some of the ideas include a diagonal wrapping method and how to create a bow from extra pieces. There are even some bonus sustainable tips like how to wrap small items in a toilet paper roll-turned-pillow box!
Second Sustainable Present Wrapping Tip: Create Reusable Fabric Bags and Gift Wrapping
Wrapping a gift with fabric is a beautifully elegant way to cover gifts. The best part is that fabric pieces can be used year after year, saving money, time, and waste. There are two methods you could use for this tip. When wrapping small or flat items, a fabric bag or slip is a simple way to gift. Check out this tutorial from “We Are Scout” where double sided tape is used to affix two pieces of fabric together. An alternative to this is enlisting your local or top online tailor. An online tailoring service for projects like these is a convenient way to wrap your gifts during the busy holiday season. Simply request a custom order; once you receive your wrappings back in the mail, slide your present in and secure it with some twine or a bow for an effortlessly beautiful wrapped gift.
Another option is to wrap boxes in one larger piece of fabric. This style is fantastic in the fact that it uses no tape and does not require an extra bow- the wrapping method includes a nice little knotted bow on top! Check out this article from “Better Homes and Gardens” for a step-by-step tutorial for gift wrapping boxes with fabric. There are even a couple different styles to choose from!
Third Sustainable Present Wrapping Tip: Upcycle Paper Products
This tip is a way to uniquely wrap presents this Christmas season. Search your home or even the thrift stores for paper that would not traditionally be used for gift wrapping. Some options include posters, old comics or magazines, or shopping bags from either the grocery store or your favorite boutique. A personal favorite idea is wrapping a gift in a map that no longer is being used- this notion is especially cute when gifting to the traveler of the family. Check out this article from “Well + Good” on how to spice up simple brown paper bags for a customizable and more sustainable way to wrap your holiday presents.
Fourth Sustainable Present Wrapping Tip: Reuse Ribbons and Bags
Reusing ribbons and bags is a sustainability must. Often, there is nothing wrong with these wrappings after we unwrap the gift. Make a designated pile of gift bags and ribbon pieces and even take turns with your family members and friends after all the gifts have been opened picking which to keep for next year. If you’re looking to change them up, you can always paint one or all sides of a bag and use the ribbon in a different fashion. For example, instead of tying ribbon around the full length of a box, try tying it into a bow on its own and simply affixing it to the top of a gift. For more tips on sustainable gift-giving, as well as just a more sustainable holiday, check out this article from Stanford University.