If visions of shredded wrapping paper are taking over the sugar plums that should be dancing in your head this time of year, it might be time to put down the wrapping paper and plastic bows in favor of greener options.
Harmful dyes, excess paper waste and plastic ribbons that animals eventually get a hold of are just a few of the holiday wrapping culprits. According to The Recycling Consortium, the U.K. alone uses 32 square miles of Christmas wrapping paper each year-enough to cover Manhattan and have 9 square miles to spare!
If creating your own wrap with rice paper and food dye is a little more effort or requires more time than you have on your hands, here are 5 quick and easy options for cutting down on wrapping paper this holiday season. . .
Box it up
Hat boxes, fabric-wrapped storage boxes and photo boxes are great for "wrapping" gifts for any occasion, but are great options for winter holidays. They can be used for storage later on and they stand up to a few flurries better than paper. Add some fabric ribbon tied in a bow and you have a lovely package.
Pile a bunch of small items into a banana leaf or wicker basket, and finish off with fabric ribbon secured with an ornament or a broach picked up from a second-hand store.
Wrap gifts in fabric remnants. You can pick up remnants at most fabric stores, often at 50 to 66 percent off the regular price. Fold the fabric around the gift and secure with raffia or a fabric ribbon, or sew a simple sac to hold anything from an iPod to a bottle of wine.
The Old World
Use out-of-date maps to wrap gifts you're giving to travel lovers. It's a great way to reuse a paper item before it hits the recycling bin. Secure with raffia or butcher's twine.
Use a glass container or large mason jar for giving homemade treats. If you're sharing your favorite recipe, layer the dry ingredients in the jar, and attach the recipe to the jar with a ribbon.
If you truly can't resist the urge to tear away at a paper-wrapped gift, look for recycled wrapping paper. (Just say no to foils and sparkles.) And be sure to use every last scrap!
Want to know more about having Green Holidays?