By Kim Robson:
We all want to reduce waste during the holidays and avoid wrapping paper, especially non-recyclable metallic or foil paper. But I get so tired of those uninspired gift bags. Luckily, there are many creative and beautiful ways to wrap gifts that don’t harm the planet.
Plenty of paper companies have gotten on the green bandwagon lately, creating gift wrapping paper that looks and feels like the real thing, but no trees are sacrificed in the making. Look for brands like FishLips, Green Field Paper Company, and Ecosaurus, which use post-consumer recycled waste and a chemical-free treatment process to create their wrapping.
A fun option for small items is to use plantable seed paper. It comes in sheets up to 11×17 inches, is beautiful to look at, and the recipients can plant it in the ground to sprout wildflowers or herbs.
In The Sound of Music song “Favorite Things” included “brown paper packages tied up with string.” Plain brown craft paper makes a perfect blank canvas for creativity. Decorate with rubber stamps, markers, metallic pens or poster paint. Dress it up with twine, ribbons, the fronts of holiday cards, or strips of reused wrapping paper.
The creatively ambitious can use an embossed-paint rocker to create a faux-bois (wood-grain) imprint on sheets of plain packing paper. Sunday comics and old maps also make for colorful, inexpensive, recyclable wrap that kids will love.
Use a pretty silk scarf, baby blanket, cloth napkins, or tea towels to wrap gifts, and the wrap becomes part of the gift! Reuseable fabric gift bags make a luxe statement, or start a collection of reusable Japanese Furoshiki (colorful cloths) for gift wrapping.
Mason jars and decorative tins are perfect for filling with foodstuffs or just about anything you can imagine. They’re practical and reusable; look for them in dollar stores.
Secure gifts with ribbon, raffia or twine, and employ natural finishing touches like evergreen sprigs, holly berries, acorns or pinecones. Whenever possible, repurpose stick-on bows, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, shredded paper and cardboard boxes. You also can recycle holiday cards into gift tags. Use serrated scissors to cut the front of the card into appealing shapes and sizes.
Wrapping something oddly shaped? Enclose it inside a terra cotta flower pot or a wicker basket, which can be reused in the summer time! Both come in all shapes and sizes, and are easy to find at thrift stores or gardening centers. Consider decorating the outside of the pot with paint or markers before nesting your present inside. If the pot comes with a dish for catching water, simply invert the dish and use it as a lid to cover the pot. Secure with ribbon or twine. If no drip tray is available, set the pot (or basket) in the center of a large square of colorful fabric. Bring the edges up in a bundle over the top of the pot and secure with ribbon.