10 Green Ways to Wrap Gifts

Have you ever wondered how many trees we have to cut down to wrap our gifts?

Christmas is an indulging festive time of the year, and probably one of the few times in our 365 days, where we shop, spend and dine completely  (almost) guilt-free. Unfortunately, it is also when we selfishly go through a massive amount of waste for a merry moment. Yes, I’m talking about wrapping paper, amongst other things.

According to Standford University, if every Amercian family wrapped three (just three) presents in recycled material, the saved paper would cover over 45,000 football fields! In the US, it is estimated that nearly 30 million trees are chopped to make fancy wrapping paper each year. And it is a one-way street.

How so? Because wrapping paper is difficult to reuse, and is typically non-recyclable.

Most festive wrapping paper are coated in a special metallic coating. Some fancy ones have chemicals and additives used to print brilliant colors, add glittery sparkle and create super shine. They are harmful carcinogens.

Since this weekend most of us will be on a gift wrapping frenzy, I’ve compiled a list of creative & eco-friendly ways you can wrap your gifts this Christmas. We can do this without the risk to your health, your family’s well-being, and to the world we live in. This way, every gift is a gift to Mother Earth too.

#1: Old Newspapers
This is a classic. In the old days when people were poor and wrapping paper was a luxury, newspaper was the logical choice. It has printed patterns, it is cheap and everybody reads the newspaper. Today, using newspaper to wrap gifts is not so much seen as being a cheapskate, rather as an eco-friendly alternative. Jazz up your newspaper wrapper with non-toxic crayons, pretty magazine cut-outs or sheer ribbons.

#2: Kiddie’s Art
Kids love to draw and do crafts! Get a sheet of paper – big enough to wrap your gift – and ask your kids to draw or paint a pretty picture. Even, hand-prints can be fun. They’ll go mad! And your presents will be presented with a warm personal touch as well.

#3: Boxes
Often when we buy Christmas gifts, they come in customized boxes and gift sets with beautiful prints. Yet, a lot of us feel we still need to wrap it up (me included). For the sake of surprise. There is nothing to say that we cannot tie the box up in a gorgeous ribbon or bow to keep the box shut, keeping the Ta-dah! element intact.

#4: Used Shoe Boxes
Speaking of boxes, if your gift is odd-shaped, try putting it in a shoe box. If you are like any girl I know, we buy shoes throughout the year like it is running out of fashion. Start collecting those sturdy little boxes, and use them to box your presents up!

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#5: Old Pillowcases
I love the idea of using fabric to wrap gifts. I don’t know about you, but it irks me I see and hear beautifully printed paper being savagely ripped open like a lion tearing into its food. Big waste. Instead, fabric is hard to tear open, so your gift can only be opened with care and gentleness. Pillowcases are great because of its size for most gifts. You can also use old socks, old T-shirts, old towels, and even bedsheets. It’s reused too.

 #6: Out-Dated Travel Brochures & Maps
There are times when we travel to a foreign land, we hold on to travel maps and brochures so dearly like our life depended on it. But once the holidays are over, those beautifully-printed travel brochures and maps are either collecting dust on bookshelves, or left in the bin. Why not use them to wrap gifts? Now, there is a story to tell for every gift, of every city traveled.

#7: Scarves
This could be a gift in itself. Wrap your gifts up in many different variety of scarves, and give your friends and family something to talk about. Or, instead of wrapping your gift, tie a decorative scarf around the box with a home-made tag made from recycling paper.

#8: Old Comic Books
I love comic books. They are so full of color and beautiful illustrations! And guess what? They can be used to wrap gifts to cater to the different personalities of the people you are giving gifts to. For example, for your girlfriends, wrap their gifts up with comic pages from Popeye & Olive Oly, Archie or Superwoman. For guy friends, go with Spiderman, Superman, X-men or the Incredible Hulk. It is a great way to raid your kids’ rooms for a springclean as well.

#9: Tracing Paper
Use brown tracing paper that sewers use for dress-making, and wrap your gifts in them. It’s simple, chic and sophisticated-looking. It also gives plenty of room to add decorative accents to your package.

#10: Scraps of Fabric
Look around your house, and I guarantee you are bound to find some unused scraps of fabric. Even old clothes that you no longer wear but keep because you love the pattern or color. This is a good time to cut them up, and make them into wrapping fabric. Another suggestion: Go to a fabric shop, and ask them for leftover scraps of fabric (they will have lots from the leftover rolls). They’ll normally bundle them up and sell at dirt-cheap bulk price. Go for it!

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