It happens every year. The holidays come around and you spend a fortune, not only on the gifts but on the wrapping supplies too, just to see all the paper and bows you bought fill your trash to overflowing after the presents are opened. There are ways around piling up all those wasted supplies, and you’ll save yourself alot of money by making use of greener alternatives to holiday wrapping papers.
There’s one oft-mentioned way to use recyclable materials you have around the house that I’ve used myself in the past. Using the comic pages, whether the usual daily black-and-whites or the Sunday full-color sheets, can make for an interesting, and funny, alternative to holiday wrapping paper. I’ve watched people turn a present end over end, trying to get to the punchline. It can be colorful, easy, and readily recyclable.
Another thing I’ve done before is have my son use any packing paper we get in other things, like shipments from Amazon.com, etc., to draw his own wrapping paper. Like most children, he loves to draw and color, and making special paper to put on people’s gifts makes him feel like he’s done something great. Sometimes he uses stamps or more traditional holiday designs, other times he draws an entire scene across the page. Either way, it’s an engaging and personal way to wrap a gift. It allows you to re-use materials you would have otherwise thrown away, and grandparents especially, will love to get their grandchildren’s drawings in this unique way.
Another method I use is something Planet Green makes mention of as well–using that stack of gift bags you have left over from things people have given you. Just make sure you don’t use the same bag for a person’s gift that they gave you your gift in last year. If you have to have tissue paper, you can use the strands from your paper shredder if you have one, instead of buying new.
Treehugger.com recommends a couple of methods that I hadn’t thought of before. Using old, outdated maps to wrap presents is visually interesting. You can also rip the pictures out of that 2010 calendar now that you’re done with it and use that as wrapping paper as well. All that junk mail you have lying around can finally serve a purpose, and is sure to get a smile out of someone when they realize you just gave them an idea for what to do with the pile of it they’ve got in their house too.
There are alot of other reusable items you can use for your holiday gifts, including clay pots, boxes, and glass jars. Be creative, and have fun, and the person who gets the gift will like it even more for your ingenuity.
Jaymi Heimbuch, “12 Easy Green Alternatives to wasteful gift wrap.” PlanetGreen.com
Stephen Messenger, “10 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Wrapping Paper.” Treehugger.com