Tired of contributing to the trash excess after holiday season? Well there are a few options for wrapping presents that are more sustainable. Find out more!
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Holiday Season is Here
You may be starting to get your holiday shopping done or figure out what exactly you would like to participate in this year in terms of visiting family, sharing experiences or even giving a personalized gift. No matter what you are choosing, you will likely need to wrap some gifts. There are many ways to keep the surprise without also contributing to the waste that accumulates post-holidays.
Below are some excellent ideas for you to consider in order to have a more sustainable, eco-friendly experience for Christmas and still give people the gifts they love. You can also consider novel ideas for wrapping or surprising your loved ones through a variety of different ways.
Compostable Gift Wrap
Many people are enjoying their gardens and have started composting in their backyards over the last few years. Because of this you can provide gift wrap that can be composted and have it live on in soil nutrition for years to come. The main options are unwaxed, unlined, unbleached, sustainably harvested brown paper. You can use this as compost or even throw it in the fire for kindling.
Reusable Cloth Gift Wrap Bags
You can even use an good tote you’ve been holding onto or other alternative that has the ability to be washed and reused another year. Everywhere I save all my cloth wrapping bags as well as all the non-cloth ones. They can last a very long time and be used over and over again from family to family.
Kids Art Work
I have three sons and we get A LOT of artwork from school and daycare. I enjoy them a lot and rotate them around the house but I would also love to share that with others. This way their grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. can enjoy their art AND receive a nice gift.
I try to save several papers over the course of the year and keep them where I keep other gift related materials. That way when the time comes, regardless of occasion, they are ready. I take 3-4 sheets of colorings and tape them together. Then use it as I would use normal wrapping paper.
Luckily there are lots of digital options out there for gifts. This includes family passes to parks, aquariums, zoos, travel vouchers, gift cards of every shape and size. One of the best things we’ve pivoted to is asking family for experiences versus stuff. We have lots of toys, passed from kid to kid and they continue to use them regularly which is great. But we do not always need more of that stuff.
We also use those gift cards regularly to encourage the children to have choice. We use them for groceries or things we need like repairs and stuff like that. If you a on a tight budget, a little extra spending cash without the baggage of things that do not nourish you or your family is important.
This includes donations to charities. I work at a nonprofit animal sanctuary and encourage people to give to those places that have meaning. We accept donations in the names of others so they can be honored. As an employee at a place like that I can tell you we definitely use that money towards improving the lives of the animals in our care.
Shredded Office Paper
If you don’t have kids, you may work in an office where paper is still a thing (maybe?). If so, some of those papers will get shredded and as long as it isn’t forbidden, feel free to rehome it for packaging or wrapping in a bag or box. For example, if you need to ship your presents, you can pack in shredded paper.
You can even make your own paper this way! Its a process you can find here on YouTube. Shredded paper has lots of uses but including it in your gift wrap is an excellent way. Also, if it isn’t magazines or highly glossy it can be composted.
Beeswax Food Wrap
You may be considering giving teachers, friends, family food related gifts that can be consumed. Instead of wrapping them in plastic wrap consider food safe beeswax wraps. The fun thing about these are they can be reused to store food in the future, they come in a variety of patterns (including Christmas themed) and you can make you’re own!
Simple get some good cotton cloths, pinking sheers and beeswax. You melt it at a low temperature then brush it on both sides. Let is dry and it acts like plastic wrap and can go around food from cookies to candies. Some trendy Christmas foods includes alcohol or hot chocolate bombs, these can definitely be shared in these beeswax wraps.
The great thing about them is you can wash them with a little soap and water with no issues and it continues to be a safe option for all your foods. I use them as the tops of bowls or weird shaped containers for things like banana bread or brownies.
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