As a mom, one of the things you’re likely looking forward to this Christmas is seeing the joy in your child’s eyes as they rip open their presents. However, as enjoyable as the gift-unwrapping ritual may be, it’s also incredibly wasteful. Once presents are opened, their packaging is often tossed aside, never to be seen or used again.
Luckily, with a little creativity, you can package your gifts in a way that’s gentler on the planet. As you partake in Christmas festivities such as shopping with a holiday gift guide in hand, it’s equally important to plan how you’ll wrap your surprises. To help you practice eco-consciousness this holiday season, we’ve compiled a few gift-wrapping ideas that will put you on Santa’s nice list.
Make Your Own Gift Wrap with Newspaper
Instead of discarding old newspapers, why not repurpose them as gift wrappers this season? Not only do they reduce waste, but they’re more cost-effective than traditional options, given that they’re often free.
By selecting pages that align with your loved ones’ interests, you can turn your packaging into conversation starters, while infusing them with personality. For example, you could use the sports section for a child who’s currently into athletics.
Greenify Your Packaging with Kraft Paper
Add a rustic touch to your Christmas gifts by wrapping them in brown paper, also known as kraft. Made from wood pulp, this eco-conscious alternative is free from any metallic elements like foil and glitter, ensuring it naturally decomposes when disposed of in landfills.
Furthermore, brown paper serves as a blank canvas, beckoning you to personalize it to suit your tastes. Make gift-wrapping a family affair by engaging in creative Christmas activities, such as creating your own patterns with stamps, doodling with markers, or adorning them with ribbons and bows.
Try Your Hand at Furoshiki
Impress your loved ones by embracing the art of Furoshiki—the Japanese tradition of wrapping items in colorful cloth. While this method was originally used for carrying goods, Furoshiki has evolved into a stylish choice among the eco-conscious crowd. Not only does this tradition infuse your gifts with effortless elegance, but it also allows for years of reuse.
The beauty of Furoshiki lies in its sustainability—its cloth can be any type of fabric, be it silk, cotton, or linen, which can all be repurposed long after the holidays. To be extra sustainable, consider using an old shirt, cut into a 45×45 centimeter square, to wrap your gifts.
Reuse Paper Bags
While re-gifting might raise eyebrows, reusing paper bags for your gift-wrapping needs is more than acceptable, especially with the trend toward sustainability.
Gather all the paper bags you’ve collected throughout the years—whether from the grocery store or received during your birthday (as long as they don’t say “Happy Birthday” in front, of course). If they’re in good condition and free of any branding elements such as taglines and logos, nothing’s stopping you from recycling them this Christmas.
To give your paper bags a festive facelift, stuff them with tissue paper, swap out their handles for red ribbons, or draw Christmas motifs all around.
Place Gifts in Fabric Bags
Elevate your gift-giving game by placing your gifts in canvas or tote bags. They serve a dual purpose—packaging your presents eco-consciously while offering your loved ones a gift within a gift. While this eco-friendly option may be on the pricier side, it’s a mindful (and stylish) approach to gift-wrapping, encouraging a culture of reuse and waste reduction.
For a personalized touch, consider adorning the tote’s front with the recipient’s name or initials, eliminating the need for additional gift tags. Opt for a design that isn’t specific to the season, ensuring the bag becomes a versatile accessory that can be used year-round. If you’d like to channel your inner DIYer and be even more sustainable, craft your own bags out of old pillowcases and clothes you don’t use anymore.
Protect Fragile Gifts with Shredded Paper
Planning on gifting fragile items this Christmas, such as crystal glassware, china, or the ever-popular last-minute choice—mugs? While polystyrene is most people’s choice for ensuring their gifts stay in one piece, it’s crucial to acknowledge plastic foam’s harmful impacts on the environment.
Polystyrene foam—whether in board, ball, or peanut form—is not only slow to degrade, but also leaches chemicals into the environment. When these materials end up in waterways, they break down into smaller pieces, threatening marine life through ingestion.
In practicing sustainability this Christmas, trade traditional packing fillers for green options, such as cardboard chips, shredded paper, or biodegradable foam. By making this conscious choice, you contribute to a more responsible gift-giving experience.
Seal Your Presents with Paper-Based Tape
Extend your commitment to celebrating a green Christmas by rethinking how you hold your gift wrapping in place. Ditch conventional options such as sellotape and sticky tape in favor of eco-friendly choices like kraft tape (water-activated tape) or washi tape (rice-paper-based tape available in a variety of fun colors and patterns).
Better yet, go completely tape-free by securing your packaging material with ribbon or twine. This choice reduces the risk of tearing your packaging paper, allowing for future reuse.
Wrapping Up (Pun Intended)
Embracing eco-friendly materials doesn’t require sacrificing the charm and excitement of the gift-giving experience. By following the gift-wrapping ideas in this list, you can infuse sustainability into your holiday traditions. This way, you ensure your children have a memorable Christmas while learning about the value of caring for the planet—and that’s probably one of the best gifts you can ever give.
By Pauline Cruz