While the holidays are a fun and exciting time to get everyone together and celebrate with friends and family, we often get so caught up with giving and receiving gifts that it can be really easy to disregard all of the waste that’s going out into the environment.
Gift wrapping is something that many of us do every year. We do it because it adds personality and presentation to our gifts. It’s another way of showing our loved ones that we care about them. But what about all of the waste that’s being emitted? Are we really being conscious of our footprint?
While the holidays are a wonderful time for us, they’re not that great for the environment. Many of us aren’t even aware of the environmental impact that wrapping paper can have. Keep reading to find out how gift wrap is affecting our planet and discover new and exciting ways to present your gifts while unleashing your creative side this holiday season.
The Consequences of Gift Wrap
According to the Clean Air Council (an environmental organization based in Philadelphia), approximately 4 million tons of waste of wrapping paper is generated during the holidays each year. As a nation we spend about $3.2 billion on wrapping paper annually. Considering all of the waste that’s going out, keep in mind that most types of gift wrap are unrecyclable. This is because of the metallic coatings that are found on many types. This paper also can’t be reused, considering how aggressively we unwrap (and by unwrap I mean tear open) our presents. So we use it once, throw it out, and it goes to waste.
And it’s not just the US that’s guilty. For a more global perspective, the UK uses more than 8,000 tons of wrapping paper each year – that’s the equivalent of 50,000 trees being cut down. For what? For making our gifts look pretty? I mean, of course it’s not for nothing - gift wrap definitely has its benefits. It’s a classic go-to for decorating our presents and making them look beautiful, and it’s available in a huge variety of colors, patterns, textures, and designs. It’s what the majority of us are used to and what most of us grew up using. But is it really the only way out there? Can there be no other way of making our gifts look nice?
Alternatives for Gift Wrap
So we know that gift wrap isn’t exactly a green initiative, to say the least. But giving up on it doesn’t mean that your gifts are doomed to be ugly forever. You can find new and exciting ways to make your gifts look beautiful this holiday season while reducing your carbon footprint and channeling your creative side. Keep reading to check out a few alternatives.
You might’ve already heard of this idea. While wrapping your gifts in plain newspaper can make for a cute aesthetic, in some cases, you’ll want to add more color and design. To add color you can paint the sheets first, give them time to dry and then stick them on. This can be a fun craft to do with the kids or a mindful activity to do on your own.
Furoshiki is an old Japanese art-form that originated in the 1200s. The Japanese fold and tie cloth to neatly wrap and present gifts as a form of conveying thoughtfulness and courtesy to others. If you happen to have any nice fabrics lying around, now would be the perfect time to take them out. This is personally my favorite form of gift wrapping as the process can be really fun if you’re doing it with others or mindful if you’re crafting on your own. It’s especially fun if you experiment with varying colors, patterns, and designs. You can learn more about Furoshiki here.
Image sourced from seasaltcornwall.
Scarves can be really beautiful and aesthetic wraps. This is a cute idea since you’re wrapping your gift inside of another gift - the scarf around whatever’s inside. So whether you’re searching for a new scarf this holiday season or are thinking of gifting an old one that hasn’t been worn, make sure it’s cute!
Kids love art and most parents I know have stacks of art by their kids that aren’t exactly what they wanted to hang on the fridge, but they also feel bad about throwing it away. How about using it to decorate your gifts with? This will definitely be the most adorable and unique gift that your friend or family member receives. It will give it sentimental value and he or she will appreciate the extra effort that was put into making it.
What’s the most eco-friendly alternative for wrapping paper? Using none at all! Find a reusable box (like a shoebox) to place your gift inside of and decorate the top and sides with natural materials such as pine cones and needles, twigs, and flowers. You could even add some nuts, dried fruits and holiday candies to make it look more festive. I love adding candy canes, colorful gummies and Hershey’s kisses to mine!
What were you planning on doing with those outdated calendars from 2015? We can’t go back in time, so a lot of us end up throwing them out or storing them away. But you might be able to find really beautiful pictures inside a lot of modern calendars that could look really nice as gift wrap. Heck, even wrapping the dates around your gift can be a cool and unique idea. Calendar paper is usually thick and smooth too, so there’s no need to stress over quality.
If you’re someone who isn’t ready to give up on gift wrap but want to be more environmentally friendly, you should check out Wrag Wrap. This is fabric is both recyclable and reusable, so you can pass it down for continued use. They come in four different designs, three sizes and plenty of prints and colors to choose from. What makes this wrap even better is how quick and easy it will make preparing your gifts. This fabric comes with a wrapping cord and fixing buttons, so you won’t need to mess around with scissors and tape.
What Else Can You Do?
If you’re wondering if there are any other changes that you can make to be extra eco-friendly this holiday season, there are! Try sending e-cards as opposed to physical cards. You can add some cute animations, use templates, and send your messages to your loved ones located anywhere in the world. There are plenty of websites through which you can create personal e-cards, such as Animatron. Another change that you could make is rather than buying the traditional paper bows and ribbons, try using ribbons and strings that are made from reusable fabrics. Or even better, add natural materials for decorations. Plants, flowers, nuts, and candies can look nice.
So there you have it – alternatives to the classic gift wrap. So go ahead and prepare your gifts with a sense of pride, knowing that you’re doing something amazing for the environment. From all of us at Mother Erth, we wish you an amazing holiday season that’s filled with lots of love and joy.