I have talked about greener holiday gift wrapping before, but if it means not spending money on things you already have at home that could be re-purposed or recycled, it is well worth talking about it again. Let’s keep stuff out of the landfill a little longer and save a few trees, while speaking with our spending choices that we insist on being conscious consumers.
13 Ways to Wrap Cheap, Have Fun & Save Trees This Holiday Season
- Turn old unwanted wrapping paper inside out – Most people have a stash of old wrapping paper that they may not care for anymore, but can’t bring themselves to throw it away. Good for them (us)! Pull your stash out and use the underside which is often plain white. Then try some of my other ideas (below) to make them look fun and decorative.
- Use up all that old ribbon too – You may also have plenty of multi-colored cheap ribbon. Be creative with it and bundle it up, mix up colors and textured and make it festive. You can also iron old ribbon with a hair flat iron to make it look new again!
- Use brown paper bags – Pull out all those old brown paper bags from behind the fridge (where they’re not helping you refrigerator run at its best anyway). Don’t worry if they have writing on them. Cut them open and use the underside. Once again you can decorate festively with bundles of mixed up old ribbons or other decorations (see below).
- Use newspaper for wrapping presents – I particularly like to use the funnies. Newsprint looks great with some old colored ribbons.
- Have the kids decorate packages – When using brown paper bags, news papers or the white inside of old wrapping paper, grab the red and green crayons or those old markers in the drawer, and have the kids draw on the paper. You can also carve some apples, potatos or soaps and make festive stamps that you can use to print on the paper with old paint from the garage. Maybe the kids would like to draw a picture of the one who is receiving the present — people can guess who it’s for by the drawing.
- Decorate with greens from your yard – You can spruce (pun intended) up you packages with greens that you find outside (if you are in a suburban or rural area or near a park that allows you to take green stuff out). You can also put greens in vases to decorate. If you find pine greens it will smell lovely and you can decorate with greens all winter long. For getting sap off your fingers, try olive oil. When you are all done, you’ll have soft hands.
- Use old maps – As the road warrior in the family, everyone knows that if a gift is wrapped in a map, it’s from me. With the GPS on my phone, I rarely use maps anymore. I try to find old maps from my stash that illustrate locations that are meaningful to the people for whom the gift is given.
- Use old architectural drawings – My son the architect uses old blue prints. We always know which ones are his under the tree.
- Decorate with old holiday cards - If you are like me you still have all the holiday cards anyone ever sent. I now keep the messages I want to keep in a folder or stuff them into that year’s journal and cut off the art to decorated packages or write on the back like a post card and pass them along.
- Use paint chip samples as gift tags – If you’ve done any renovation that included painting, then you probably have a stack of paint chip samples, use them now instead of throwing them away or letting them continue to clutter your space.
- Use shredded paper from your shredder to cushion fragile gifts – My other son, the investment banker, could probably provide lots of this handy solution. I am so glad I found a good use for all that shredded paper!
- Use cloth to wrap your presents – Find some fun fabric that you may have around, maybe some lightly used, but still groovy bed or table linens that you don’t use anymore. Or even a nostalgic T-shirt that will spark a memory in the person receiving the gift. You can buy some sustainable fabric dishtowels that can be used after the holiday. And you can wrap presents in sustainably made cloth bags that can be used to encourage your friends and family to use them at the grocery store. You know like a gentle hint.
- Try packaging things in glass containers – This can encourage friends and family to use less plastic and eventually get away from plastic containers altogether. You might leave a loving note inside telling them about BPA poisoning from plastic containers, and how it leaches into their food, especially when exposed to heat like in the microwave.