I used to laugh at my Grandma for wrapping gifts with last years gift paper. Mostly because she was the queen of re-gifting and we had to stop ourselves from giggling when we saw the surprised facial expression coming from the original gift giver.
But the reality is that the day after the holidays, all across the world, our trash cans are filled with mounds of gift wrap. Pretty to look at for a moment but ultimately trashed is a sad fact. Before the shopping frenzy starts consider that if every American family wrapped just three presents in recyclable materials, we would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
Why not try to have a good impact this holiday season?
- A gift in a gift: Stop off in the kitchen housewares department for useful packaging: use a new dishtowel or apron to wrap up a gift. (And no, using your used dishtowels is not a good idea)!
- Wrap it fresh. Clip a piece of mistletoe, a sprig of pine or adorn with pine cones or cinnamon sticks in place of tacky metallic store bought bows. Careful not to wrap with fresh adornments too far in advance.
- Use real popcorn or peanuts in place of the artificial stuff for packing. Although make sure the recipient isn’t allergic to peanuts.
- Handmade encourages keeping. Make a box reusable all year round. Line the inside of the box and the lid with felt, nice fabric, old maps or sheet music. Wrap the box and lid separately in recycled paper, try http://www.paporganics.com for lovely recycled paper. Make it meaningful by selecting the recipients favorite color or a theme: music, gardening, or cinema themes.
- Wrap it up with raffia, string or with reusable grosgrain ribbon.
- Cut gift cards from last years holiday cards instead of store bought gift cards.
- Brown paper bags your kids can help decorate.
- Give the gift of nature. Know someone who loves roses? Get your gloves on and plant a rose bush in her yard. (Get her permission first!) Or give a gift certificate from her local nursery or tickets to the next garden show. Or attach a seed packet to the gift box in place of an artificial metallic bow.
- Giving doesn’t mean it has to be wrapped in the formal sense. Give an experience: Tickets to a show, a gift certificate to a fantastic restaurant, or a sporting event.
- Give the gift of yourself: offer to pet sit or dog walk the next time the recipient goes on vacation.
For more gift ideas: go to Green Pages.org
For additional resources: http://www.oprah.com/tows/pastshows/200612/tows_past_20061205.jhtml
Grandma may have caused a few ruffled feathers back then, but she had it right. She had a huge list of grandkids and relatives to send gifts to, she was just being practical by recycling what she couldn’t use. Instead of being part of the mass consumerism to purchase just because it’s the holidays and you feel obligated to give a gift, think in terms of sustainable gifts from the heart.