Easy eco-friendly gift wrap alternatives
A simple swap goes a long way
On Christmas morning, everyone rushed to the tree. Labels were read, gifts were torn into, cheer was spread, and then... you were left with an enormous pile of waste. For decades, we've depended on massive rolls of colorful paper wrapping to hide our presents from curious eyes. Yet, every year, it only takes a few seconds to unwrap a gift, and all that shredded paper is sent to the landfill for decades longer.
In the new year, let's change old traditions that no longer serve our planet. Why not spruce up your gift-giving with eco-friendly gift wrap and a clear conscience? Here are seven simple wrapping paper alternatives, based on a list by InHabitat.
- Fabric gift wrap. It comes in a lot of colors and patterns just like wrapping paper, and it's the perfect reusable material that can wrap gifts again and again, for years to come. Plus, you don't even have to look beyond your house for the material. You can use festive pillow cases, sheets, tablecloths, old drapes, or even big enough socks with a little DIY magic.
- Clay flower pots. Clay pots come in all shapes and sizes, and you can easily make them look festive with paint or markers. They're easy to find at thrift stores and gardening outlets, and if they come with a dish for catching water, you can flip it on top and make it into a lid. If there's no drip tray, just set the pot in the middle of a large square of fabric, bring the edges up over top of the pot, and tie it in a bundle. This is really two gifts in one, because the pot can be reused in the summer time.
- Newspaper. Recycling materials that are already going to be waste is a great way to cut back on your own footprint. The comics section makes presents doubly fun, but if you can't find any, you can decorate the newspaper print with paint, markers, glitter, or stickers.
- Maps. With the prevalence of Google Maps, people rarely use physical maps anymore. They just happen to be large sheets of paper already colored in, beautifying any gift.
- Calendars. Calendars are only useful for 365 days, and then they are permanently unusable—that is, until you repurpose them as gift wrap! Many calendars are also filled with beautiful or funny images and quotes that would work perfectly as festive wrap. And even if they're just reminders of the busy days of weeks past, then at least they will serve as a reminder to be grateful that you're finally on holiday.
- Reusable gift bags. No tape, no folding, and no paper cuts! Though you can get reusable gift bags in paper form, there are also a number of fabric gift bags made of burlap, flannel, and cotton that won't crinkle and lose their charm over the years. You can turn any fabric into a gift bag with a needle and thread, or you can just buy one.
- Recycled paper gift wrap. Yes, an alternative to paper gift wrap is paper gift wrap. If you're having trouble kicking the habit, you can buy wrapping paper that harmed no trees in the process and uses only post-consumer recycled waste and a chemical-free treatment process. At the very least, remember to recycle your own gift wrap so that more cheer than pollution is spread this year.
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