Did you know that waste in the US increases by 25% during the holiday season? Much of this waste is related to wrapping paper and other packaging that gets used once then tossed, or maybe it gets reused but eventually hits the end of its life. Many wrapping papers are foil or clay based, making them non-recyclable. Same goes for gift bags and unless clearly made of 100% paper, often is destined for the landfill. This is why its important to get as much use out of our wrapping materials as possible before retiring them to the garbage and avoiding buying new ones that can’t be easily recycled or composted in the end. Luckily there are many items we encounter on a regular basis that could be used instead. Not only does this make for more unique gift display but will keep things in circulation that might otherwise get kicked to the curb. Today I’ll be sharing some creative ways to wrap up your loved one’s stuff using things you may already have around your home, in your recycling bin, or gifts on your list!
Anything can be used to creatively and beautifully wrap gifts.
Newspaper, paper bags, paper used to protect items during shipping, tissue paper, clean butcher/freezer paper, old maps…the possibilities are endless.
A while back the hubs bought shrimp from Kroger where they aren’t down to put stuff into someone’s own container. After putting the shrimp in a plastic bag, they were then wrapped in plastic coated butcher paper. Totally not environmentally friendly BUT it was clean! So I saved it. And now I’ll use it to wrap a present. If you ever run into a situation like this, set it aside for future use. At least you’ll be giving a second life to something that was originally intended to only have one. I’ve also saved any papers that comes in shipped packaging or any paper bags that we randomly acquire and have snagged newspapers from my dad.
Add a special touch to plain brown paper with little paint or sharpie drawings. Tie up with some twine or ribbon saved from past holidays! You can even add a fresh sprig of holly or part of a Christmas tree branch for a natural touch.
Use product packaging or food containers as gift boxes.
Computer boxes are made with such high quality they should totally be held on to. They can either be used as a box then wrapped or decorated themselves! Food containers that can be repurposed range from large foil boxes to small plastic containers used with catering so next time your work holds a function or you have that unplanned pre-prepared meal grab from the deli, save the containers for gift wrapping.
Formula cans or oatmeal containers can be painted or Modge Podged using old tissue paper.
Toilet paper rolls for gift cards.
Flattened toilet paper rolls are the perfect size for wrapping up those experiential gifts and you can decorate them as you please! Stuff with tissue paper or tape the ends of the roll shut to keep the card from falling out.
Make gift bags out of newspaper.
I followed these instructions to make small gift bags and it was super easy!
Sew bags out of fabric scraps or old t-shirts.
This bag was made out of an old t-shirt of my dad’s that my mom saved for me. I dyed it using turmeric powder and sewed the ends using my sewing machine but you could easily do this by hand as well. The top can be kept unfinished and tied shut with ribbon/ twine or finish the top for a bag that can be used year round for storing items such as jewelry on the go!
Wrap gifts with a cloth napkin or scarf using the Furoshiki method.
This method is totally multi-pupose because not only does it wrap in a wrap that super easy BUT the wrapping serves as a reusable gift as well!
Other gifts that can be used as wrapping.
Whatever you use to wrap your gifts, try to take care to either reuse or recycle as much as possible! You can even make a note on the tag or back of your gift noting the recyclability of your wrapping. If you do buy bags choose ones that are 100% paper or made out of organic materials such as cotton, bamboo or hemp that can be used over and over again!
Here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday with the one’s you care about! I feel so lucky this time of year to have so many amazing people in my life that I tend to put a little extra gratitude out into the universe. Don’t forget to tell those you love how much you care about them with a few extra kind words in their Christmas card or on their gift tag, maybe noting their qualities you treasure most or what makes them so special to you. 🙂