How I'm Wrapping My Gifts This Year
Every year for the last few years I go through the struggle of wanting to enjoy my favorite seasonal rituals while still upholding my ethical and environmental values. This year I've been trying to make sure I shop small, buy used, and generally try to make choices that support my community as I enjoy the holidays. One thing that seemed easy enough to figure out was wrapping materials.
Did you know a lot of wrapping materials is not made of recyclable paper? Avoiding any wrapping you see with glitter, foil, or any other speciality treatment is a great place to start. Often times, small shops or art stores will have paper options can be composted and recycled, but they can be quite expensive especially if you have a lot of gifts to wrap. Which leads me to question of if putting so much time, effort, and money into the part of the gift that gets torn and discarded is really even worth it all? This year, I decided that it was not worth it and I was going to find other means to wrap my gifts.
Like many of you, I have the infamous bag of gift bags saved from year to year. The collection is constantly being regifted or have new bags added to the collection. But what other options are there? Gift bags don't work for every gift and can't be shipped very well. Below are some real life example of gifts I wrapped and gave this year. I spent $0.00 on gift wrap and only used existing materials I already had or was able to get for free.
1. Paint or decorate packing paper. I received some brown paper in a shipment of something or another a few weeks ago and saved it knowing Christmas was coming. This particular paper I painted with stars using some paint I already had leftover from another project. I've also received gifts wrapped in paper that have been colored with crayons and markers. It's a fun way to have kids help decorate wrapping materials as well!
2. Use the materials the item comes in. The pink pouch labeled #2 was what this gift already arrived in! I added some tissue I already had laying around as the pouch mesh was transparent and I wanted to add a feeling of needing to unwrap it rather than being able to see what it was while laying under the tree. So many vendors have products that come in pouches, boxes, tissue wrapping, etc. Keep the items in there, set them to the side for later, or save them with your holiday decorations for future gifts. I promise you'll find a way to use them!
3. Borrow wrapping paper. You probably have a friend, family member, or neighbor who has wrapping paper they don't need. I have already praised Buy Nothing groups on this blog before, but I seriously love them! This particular wrapping paper I received for free from a neighbor. She had some leftover paper that she didn't want and posted it as a give in the group. I was able to get a bit of paper from her and wrapped a few gifts with it. I couldn't pick the design and, honestly, they weren't designs I was in live with, but who cares? This particular paper was fully recyclable and labeled as such directly on the backside of the paper which was awesome.
4. Just wrap in tissue. I would guess if you've ever ordered anything online, from Etsy, etc then you probably have some tissue lying around. Whenever you get a delivery with tissue SAVE IT! I see no reason why tissue can't be a perfectly acceptable wrapping all on its own especially with a little string or ribbon to jazz it up. This little gift I used from ribbon I already had from a previous project.
5. Use natural elements. This year I attempted chandlery (aka the art of candle making) and, spoiler alert, was not very good at it. I did give a few candles out as gifts and, rather than go through the hassle of trying to wrap them, I ornamented the containers with dried citrus. There's all different ways on Pinterest to do it, but essentially you slice and bake an orange for 200 degrees for about 4 hours. I had an orange in the fruit bowl already and gave it a shot. I've also seen photos with added bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and sprigs of dried herbs.
All of these ideas involve some level of saving materials from other packages or gifts you may have received previously and having some crafting materials on hand such as ribbon. Maybe they won't all work for you, but I bet most of you crafty folks will something to work with.
Have any other ideas?! I would love to hear them!