Green Gift Wrapping Ideas For The Holidays

Simple ways to green your holiday gift-giving

Oh, the holidays. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, it’s hard to ignore them outright. Regardless you will probably wind up having to wrap at least one gift — and your troubles will begin. Gift wrap, though ostensibly recyclable, can be one of the more egregious displays of holiday wastefulness there is. All that useless beauty! Fortunately there are plenty of ways to wrap a gift that don’t involve cellophane and glitter, and their very uniqueness will make them stand out of the pile.

Recycled paper wraps

What kind of paper can be used to wrap holiday presents? Better to ask what kind of paper can’t be used. Newspapers are an old standby, especially the colorful Sunday comics pages, but pages excised from magazines, expired calendars and Betty Crocker cookbooks can also be used. Secondhand tissue paper from packaged housewares or new clothes, wallpaper samples, theatre programs, transportation maps, old grade-school watercolor landscapes... the options are virtually limitless. If it’s made out of paper and not too incriminating, it can be used as wrap. In lieu of petroleum-based tape, consider using simple flour and water paste and raffia ribbon or hemp twine to hold the packaging together.

Cloth wraps

Called furoshiki by the Japanese, the art of using fabric squares as gift wrap is an appealing exercise in reuse. Using scarves or bandanas for the wrapping ensures that your wrap will be as potentially useful as the gift within. Like origami or the fine art of tying the kimono sash, there are many variations on the theme. Check out some of the techniques on this how-to guide provided by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment.

Gift Bags

What constitutes a gift bag? Basically any bag with a gift inside can be termed as such — from little brown lunchbags for small items, to reusable canvas totes for larger ones. Crafty types can make their own little drawstring bags out of fabric squares, and of course any gift bag you’ve received in the past can be reused in the present.

Now ready, set, wrap! 

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