Hello and Happy Holidays Everyone!
I am assuming, like myself, you are all running around like crazy trying to finish your Christmas shopping, baking and decorating. Next comes the wrapping right?
Well I have three greener gift wrapping options for you guys to consider this season to dazzle your guests and give the planet a break. Two are beautiful and traditional, and the last is extremely easy and the greenest of all of them! But why should you consider ditching the traditional gift wrap this year? Well Canadian’s threw out an estimated 540,000 tonnes of gift wrap in 2017, which is 100,000 elephants in weight (if you needed the visual). This accounts for a large part of the 25% increase in waste generated by each Canadian during the holidays. And yes, I hear you somewhere out there saying “but gift wrap is paper, and paper can be recycled”. True, however, it takes 10 litres of water to produce a single A4 sheet of paper, not to mention the energy and chemical inputs to create that colourful wrapping paper. So, recycling isn’t going to be our planets saving grace, reduction and adaptation will be! So, by changing the way we look at our current habits and practices and giving them a green spin you can get a better, healthier result without having to compromise too much!
This first option for you is the most traditional and should satisfy the most nostalgic of gift-givers. Brown kraft paper made from 100% recycled materials is an excellent option if you like the act of wrapping. Just check the label to ensure you are getting recycled fibre paper and not virgin fibre. Although you will still use a significant amount of unrecycleable tape, this a better option than using regular printed wrapping paper. If you are feeling crafty and artistic feel free to doodle, stamp or colour a pattern on your gift wrap, or just go au natural. I purchased a roll of 100% recycled kraft paper with these lovely polka dots on it to keep things interesting and useful for many occasions. Another source for kraft paper is actually in your shipments or packages from online orders, as long as you don’t mind a few wrinkles here and there – which in the right context could be very charming and rustic looking.
Additionally skip the plastic ribbon and bows and embrace a more natural tableau. Adorn your gifts with cotton or wool yarn, jute twine, pine cones, real holly, eucalyptus and cedar sprigs. These items can all be composted at the end of the evening once the gifts have been opened and won’t end up in a landfill for the next 200 years.
Another beautiful and unconventional option which is very sustainable is wrapping gifts in festive fabrics. This Japanese practice called furoshiki, traditionally used to transport clothing to and from bath houses was eventually used to transport goods and eventually made its way into everyday society. There are many ways of wrapping your item depending on the shape and size of it, so sky is the limit! My MIL introduced me to this option and I have loved it ever since! Check out this link here for some ideas via 1MillionWomen.
You can use any fabric of your choice; however, I personally recommend a thinner (not translucent) fabric so it is easy to fold and tie. You can use scarfs, fabric off-cuts, bandannas and tea towels. I have purchased discount fabrics from the clearance bin for photography backgrounds at Fabricland and this would be a great place for you to start if you like. If you are a sewer you can fold over the raw edges of the fabric to prevent them from fraying, or you can do it like me and just fold over the raw edge to hide my laziness.
Last but not least, is my favourite simply because it is very easy and beyond the original manufacturing, is fairly zero waste – gift bags aka Santa Sacks. We purchased these bags on clearance about 5 years ago half price from Michael’s. About 24″x 35″ in size and they hold basically anything with their draw strings. We ensured that we got enough for all of our family members and just ask for them back at the end of the gift opening.
These could be EASILY made by hand with fabric off-cuts, Christmas themed pillowcases, or felt like these. Use fabric glue or no-sew iron-on adhesives or sew if you have the talent to do so! I have even knitted a few smaller ones to accommodate small gifts. You can get a similar style to mine here (actually I think they are cuter!)
A bonus tip from the hubby is to purchase gifts which do not need to be wrapped such as potted houseplants like orchids and cactus. Giftcards, although somewhat impersonal are also great options because you can give the gift of an experience such as a dinner date, a comedy show or a sports event.
So this wraps up this blog for the day (yes, pun intended). Do you have any tips you would like to share with us for a greener gift giving experience? We would love to hear about it, so leave a message in the comment section below! Check back next week for my take on a low-waste Christmas dinner and how I intend on implementing it!