Up to your elbows in gift-wrapping yet? Putting it off to the last minute? It seems like people either love or hate the ritual of wrapping holiday gifts and I am squarely on the side that absolutely loves it. I inherited this from my Mom, one the best gift wrappers I’ve ever seen. (She gained her precision from her first job, working the customer gift-wrap counter at a local department store). I strived to match her square corners and seamless wrapping and thus began one of my (unattainable) obsessions – wrapping the perfect gift!
Unfortunately, gift-wrapping and all of its accoutrements tends to clash with my attempts to put my eco-conscious ideals into action. However, take heart, you don’t need to spend any money on a new, color coordinated packaging theme this year. It’s easy to save a little green while being green too. Here’s the wht guide to beautiful, eco-friendly gift-wrapping!
First, take stock of everything you have. There’s a good chance you don’t even realize how much leftover/gently used supplies you have. Pull out your brown paper bags, your stash of pretty, shopping trip gift bags, pretty fabric remnants, scarves, etc. Then use them! Make sure each package has at least one or two recycled elements.
Throw the thought of a perfect color scheme out the window. Use all of your left over, mismatched wraps and have some fun mixing and matching prints and colors. Another possibility, use the remains of one color wrap/bow/ribbon for co-workers, another for family or your book club friends, etc. (This is really helpful when gathering a group of gifts in a hurry).
There’s no law that everything must be wrapped in red, green, silver and gold. Use left over solid wraps of any color or even simple patterns. Tie them all together with a traditional colored bow or ribbon.
Brown paper bags are elegant. I think a neatly wrapped brown bag package is a simple and beautiful look. It’s the perfect background for that collection of ribbon you have that never worked with your store bought wrapping paper. Twiggy ribbons, fabric matte ribbons, all those ribbons you couldn’t throw away from fancy stores that wrap purchases – tie them to your brown bag wrapped gift and it’s a work of art. Bonus: No need for tags either. Use a felt tip marker to write a name tag (or add some doodles if you’re the artistic type).
Use your backyard. Pine cones, evergreen leaves or branches and twigs (pick only from the ground, not from live plants) all give a natural, wintery feel. I love that these materials can look clean and modern or classic country depending on your style and choice of wrap.
Here’s a not-so-secret tip: if the recipient is under 12 years of age, they could care less about the wrapping. Use more offbeat supplies for wrapping kids gifts. Last week’s Sunday comics, old (or never hung) posters, or pages from magazines can all be colorful and fun wrapping options for kids.
Buy a gift that doubles as the wrap. Try an inexpensive tote suitable for groceries and errands and use it as a gift bag (like Stef’s Recycled Market Tote from our gift week, do-gooder picks). Stuff it with crumpled (read: reused) tissue paper of all colors and sizes.
Buy some vintage scarves from thrift stores or yard sales. Wash (and press if you’re a perfectionist, I never bother) and use it as gift wrap (if it’s a sheer scarf, use one or two sheets of your recycled tissue paper box as a liner). You can also use a scarf as a ribbon or bow on small gifts.
Well, look at that! You have a beautiful collection of uniquely wrapped and eco-friendly gifts. Now go relax with a hot toddy or something.
We’re always looking for new ideas! If you have an idea for recycling wrapping supplies or just a tip for easy wrapping, please share it with us.