Confession: I'm a sucker for Christmas. I love everything about the season - the lights, the music (I usually start listening to Christmas music in October), the traditions and time with family, eggnog, cookies, Charlie Brown Christmas, etc., etc. I feel like everyone is a lot more kind to one another this time of year, and it's fun to get caught up in the spirit. And of course, I love gifts - receiving, yes, but I really really love giving them (I know everyone says this, but with me, it's true. I consider my talent for picking out the perfect gift a well-honed skill, and I adore watching people open gifts from me). A pile of brightly-wrapped gifts under a Christmas tree delights me like nothing else. But over the years, as I've become more environmentally conscious, I've begun to feel a familiar twang as the gifts get open and the paper gets thrown away - all of that paper, wasted, now going to sit in a landfill for the rest of eternity!!!!
So I resolved to 'green' my Christmas wrapping!
A couple of years back, Ryan and I decided to wrap all of our gifts in brown paper grocery bags. This worked okay, but the paper was pretty stiff and difficult to wrangle, and tape didn't do much to hold everything together. I decorated the gifts with raffia ribbon, but they looked kind of sad next to all of the pretty gifts under the tree. So, onward.
Tina from Carrots 'N Cake (one of my favorite food blogs), uses a similar idea: she saves her Macy's holiday shopping bags and uses those as wrapping. Add curling ribbon, and you can't even tell it's not wrapping paper. Look how festive!
Everyone knows the age-old trick of using the comics section of a newspaper to wrap a gift. But you can use the rest of the newspaper, too - if you know your audience! If your gift recipient is a music or theater lover, use the front page of the arts and entertainment section; if you're giving to a business-person, the stock page; wrap a traveler's gift in pages from National Geographic. Or use the newspaper as a hint - like Twilight ads for your favorite vampire fan! Black and white newsprint seems boring, I know, but never underestimate the power of curling ribbon or fancy bows!
And if you have a million takeout menus floating around your house (like me), how about wrapping a gift in the menu from the recipient's favorite restaurant or favorite food?
And why not make the wrapping part of the gift? Use a canvas grocery tote or lunch bag, a soft scarf, or use jewelry as a bow! Giving wine? How about an insulated bag your recipient will be able to use to transport her wine to her next gathering? Or give your gift in a sturdy box or bag that the recipient will be able to reuse next year - they'll thank you when they don't have to wrap their next gift!
There are so many more good ideas on how to green your Christmas wrapping - just be creative! And if you can't let go of the tradition of those brightly wrapped gifts (which I totally understand), be eco-friendly: buy recycled gift wrap, and recycle it when you're done. Full circle, right?