I love the look of beautifully wrapped presents waiting to be opened. However, as I strive to live my life in an environmentally conscious way, I find myself getting frustrated by those beautifully wrapped presents. Brand-new wrapping paper is used to wrap a gift a single time. Then, the paper is torn off and thrown away. This year, I am striving to wrap gifts is a more environmentally conscious way, both for the upcoming holiday season and the birthdays we celebrate all year.
The most popular solution to environmental wrapping is gift bags. I carefully save the gift bags that I am given and reuse them when possible. Within the family, we have gift bags that we have used again and again. Gift bags can be expensive so I tried to find a more economical way to have gift bags. Many stores give out small shopping bags that are quite durable and can be easily altered to hide the store's logo and be quite festive and appropriate for a birthday or holiday. I received these medium-sized shopping bags at a local department store; they have a nice texture and a beautiful orange lining. I easily altered them for a holiday gift by covering the department store logo. The orange flowers match the bag's lining
Reusable Gift Tags
We celebrate Hanukkah. Every year, we give the boys eight gifts on eight successive nights. Since the gifts need to be identified, the gifts always have a small tag which says "To name, Love, Mommy & Daddy". By taping the tag on lightly, I am able to reuse the same tag for the entire duration of the holiday and have even saved a few for the following year. By packing the tags away with my holiday decorations, I am able to find and use them the following year.
When invited to someone's home, we frequently bring a bottle of wine. During the year, it is fine to just hand-carry it in. However, during the holiday season, people like to dress their bottles up in a more festive manner. Rather than scrapping the bottle in the foil that will just be thrown away, I have started using my scraps to make tags for the bottles. I simply hang the tag around the neck of the bottle. If I am going to a small-enough gathering that my name isn't necessary, then I don't sign the tag in the hopes that recipient will chose to reuse the tag. Otherwise, I might consider putting my name in a location where it is easily removed.
Even if you don't reuse your gift tags, consider making them from your scraps. Many scraps are too small to use on a layout or even a card, but might be perfect for a gift tag. By saving your small scraps in a bin or bag, you will then have plenty to choose from when making gift tags. Try being creative with holiday colors to get maximum reuse from your scraps.
When I was young, people used to save wrapping paper and reuse the unwrinkled parts on future gifts. If this can be done without looking obvious, it is a great way to recycle wrapping paper. However, I have boys who tend to rip the paper off with too much force to be able to save it.
I have recently noticed companies selling wrapping paper made from recycled paper. When I can't get out of using wrapping paper, I plan to limit my wrapping paper purchases to the recycled kind. When we receive wrapped gifts, I plan to save the wrapping paper and put it out with the recycling.
As we all strive to "go green" and be environmentally conscious in every aspect of our lives, I encourage you to think about ways to be green in your gift giving. By reusing shopping bags and tags, you will not only help save the environment, you will save money and reduce clutter in your home. If you care about the environment as much as I do, I'm sure you will be able to find other ways to be more environmentally conscious with your gift-giving in addition to the suggestions here. I'm sure the recipients will appreciate your efforts, especially if it means the wrapping has a homemade touch.