By Fredrica Syren:
Zero waste and Christmas seem so opposite. It’s hard to imagine how you can even attempt to accomplish a zero waste holiday at all. So much waste is created from excessive food waste, disposable products, wrapping paper and — oh, let’s not forget — all the gifts that may become unwanted, so they end up in the garbage bin.
Now, I do not want to sound like the Grinch and take away Christmas because it is an important holiday (in fact, my favorite), nor do I want to take away everyone’s love of giving Christmas gifts. We just have to change the way we give gifts by practicing conscious gift-giving in order to offset environmental damage.
This is actually one of the easiest elements to change for low environmental impact. Instead of grabbing the most convenient gift wrap from the store, start thinking about how you can sustainably wrap your gifts. Give trees a fighting chance — don’t doom them to twenty seconds of stardom as they are eyed by the gift recipient, then almost instantly shredded to pieces and left to be scooped into a trash bag.
Fabric is very much like wrapping paper, but I find it even easier to work with! The flexible fibers in the fabric make tying or knotting easier, and eliminates the need for tape! Gift recipients can get very crafty with their fabric wrapping and use it as a scarf, a bandana, a decorative piece, a napkin or their next gift wrapping! There are so many ways to gift wrap with fabric. Below is a link to get you started!
We can all use extra kitchen towels, so why not wrap with them? Nothing too fancy about it. Simply wrap your gift with a kitchen towel and tie a piece of twine around it. Your recipient will be pleased to have such practical wrapping!
Instead of simply gifting a beach towel, use it as the wrapping! Beach towels are best for your larger gifts, and can be thoughtfully tied with a jump rope! Perfect for a day of fun in the sun!
Mason Jars are a simple, inexpensive way of wrapping gifts! Put your gift inside the mason jar and finish it off with an oversized ribbon tied around the glass to keep your recipients wondering what’s inside.
Clay planting pots are inexpensive and easy to decorate with paint or a permanent marker. Instead of a card, write your personal message directly on the pot. Then, whenever the recipient grows something in that pot, s/he will read the personal message you wrote and think of you.
Thankfully, totes are becoming the new fad and can be used just about anywhere you go. Most grocery stores offer their reusable bags for a very reasonable price. In fact, a reusable bag is probably cheaper than many of the gift bags found in your local store. The reusable bag is gift wrapping that keeps giving and giving! Just think about how often you use yours! Make it pretty by tying a big ribbon around the middle or tying the handles together!
Brown Paper Bag
If you’re looking for an extremely inexpensive but crafty way to wrap, use your brown paper bags from the grocery store. They lend a gift that rustic feel and can be dressed up by adding something natural like a leaf or feather tied to the handle.
Very inexpensive and easy to use! Add a delicate ribbon or some dainty twigs to give your gift that extra something!
Now let’s talk gifts!
Homemade gifts—I have found that homemade gifts are always appreciated. Even if you are not good at woodworking, sewing or knitting, there are other homemade gifts like cookie mixes, candles, frames, bath salts and much more.