I’m hoping I catch at least a few of you before you are done wrapping your gifts. Do you ever think twice about all the paper we use during the holiday season? There are ways to minimize its usage and go a little greener for the holidays.
First off, instead of wrapping in paper, think about alternatives. Wrap your gift in a festive holiday towel. You can also use brown paper (cut open a paper grocery bag) and decorate it with stickers, pictures, drawings, stamps, etc. The kids will have fun with that.
I grew up in a family with 5 kids. To save on wrapping paper, my parents wrapped some of the gifts in the Sunday comics and put some of our gifts, unwrapped, into garbage bags to keep them separated (“Santa doesn’t have time to wrap all the presents!”).
I also like the large, opaque ziploc bags they came out with a few years ago. These are good for clothing and stuffed animals. After the holidays the bag goes back in my Christmas box for use next year. I like these bags because they’re also a big time saver.
Another favorite of mine is gift bags. Throw the gift in the bag and cover it with some tissue paper. I never write anything on the attached tags so the receiver can reuse the bag. I always reuse the bags that people give me. Sometimes I can even repurpose a nice store paper bag with sturdy handles as a gift bag. Or buy a reusable grocery sack to use instead. There are many attractive totes out there, some of them holiday themed. For more ideas on alternatives to wrapping paper, see this article: http://www.naturallysavvy.com/travel-and-holidays/hold-the-wrapping-paper.
If you’ve already wrapped your gifts then you still can make some changes to help the earth. After gifts have been unwrapped, sort through the paper to see if any of the paper can be salvaged for next year. It’s a Christmas tradition for my husband to go through all the paper to trim off unusable parts and roll it up nicely for next year. I always start my gift wrapping with paper saved from the previous year.
Lastly, don’t forget that you can recycle wrapping paper in many communities. Here in Rochester we are lucky that the waste management companies accept wrapping paper for recycling. Check with your waste company before disposing of it in your recycle bin.
One of my Christmas traditions is to shop for next year’s holiday wrapping paper on December 26, when prices are discounted 50% or more. Since I’ve learned to conserve my wrapping paper, I haven’t needed to buy any in years.