Just opt out of it – and then it’s already a wrap

I already posted the ultimate eco-friendly Christmas gift list last year, so I won’t attempt to outdo myself, but I’d like to write some more about gift wrapping.

Growing up, my mom would always try to save the wrapping paper from Christmas and birthday gifts. We had a habit of opening gifts real gently to “keep” the surprise  as long as possible, by undoing the string, the tape and unfolding the paper slowly, which meant that most of the time there was decent looking paper to save. I used to think “Is paper so expensive that we must wrap other people’s gifts in previously used, wrinkled paper? Why is mom saving it?” But I get it now.

Throwing it away would have been wasteful. Money wise, even if we’re only talking dimes, and planet wise. (Love you mom!)

I just got a Barbie moped! Wrapped in previously used paper? Maybe!
I just got a Barbie moped! Wrapped in previously used paper? Most likely!

As an adult I try to limit packaging and wrapping paper as much as possible. I’m so lucky; my husband is not the most grandiose wrapper and always opts for using something he finds in the recycling bin (newspaper, old box, outdated map), and never any tape. Yes, his gifts are easy to spot at a birthday party and normally trigger quite a few smiles. With a signature style like that – who needs a card?

Now, just in case someone reading this really wants to wrap their gifts up nicely for Christmas, and is not sold on my husband’s recycling trend (!?), here’s another idea; fabric bags! I recently saw that there are fabric gift bags all over town now. Specifically, I saw a bunch (imported, unfortunately, from India) at the Container Store.

There’s something about fabric that tells people that the bag is not a disposable item and should not be thrown away. I think these bags look really cute and if you are handy, they’d be super easy to make yourself! Two sides, stitching and drawstring are basically all you need. I found this tutorial on PositivelySplendid.com – get sewing! (Now, don’t go buying a made in China sewing gauge…)

I have checked more than a few tags – all paper gift bags are made in China (dyes, waste, plastics, import!). They create landfill waste (methane!) and they cost a lot of money (loss!). What’s the reason to buy them again?

How are you all dealing with the Christmas wrapping waste?

bags

Want to read last year’s fantastic (*wink wink*) Christmas gift guide? Click HERE.

8 thoughts on “Just opt out of it – and then it’s already a wrap

  1. There are books, tutorials, etc. on wrapping with fabric. Napkins, lightweight baby blankets, scraps of fabric (I have an infinite amount of these) and even pieces of clothing can be used. The Gilfoils also have paper tote bags that have been used and reused until they fall apart. No one loves beautiful Christmaspaper more than I, but what a waste

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    1. That is great to hear Peggy. I’m not very crafty but I love that there are options out there to make unique, sustainable wrappings. Knowing David (never wasteful), I’m not surprised they reuse their bags! I also recently saw gifts wrapped in old maps, which is a great way to use the free maps one gets while traveling.

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  2. My husband knows to save all the gift bags, bows and some of the wrapping (or at least he asks me before throwing anything into the recycle bin). Gift bags are always saved to reuse and I often wrap gifts in the comic pages from the newspaper. I love finding new ideas for reusing these items.

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