Sunday, December 23, 2007

Go Green with Gift Wrapping

Go Green with Your Holiday Gift Wrapping

When wrapping gifts whether for the holiday season or any other occasion, think GREEN. Not only will you save money, your presents can still look beautiful and festive. My goal is to use what I have at home to do the wrapping. More importantly, I choose materials that I can ultimately recycle or re-use. Here are some tips:

  • instead of store bought wrapping paper, use paper you already have in the house such as newspapers, magazines, circulars from local stores and speciality holiday catalogs
  • instead of gift bags, use brown lunch bags
  • instead of tissue to stuff the gift bags, shred your own paper
  • make your own gift tags using holiday cards from previous years


  • newspapers
  • magazines of all varieties
  • store circulars
  • brown lunch bags
  • speciality holiday catalogs
  • regular, straight edge scissors and craft scissors with zig-zag edges
  • box cutter
  • paper shredders the type that shreds full length, not cross cuts
  • ribbons-curling, fabric or wire type
  • ribbon shredder (this is an item I have owned for at least 15 years, I don't know if they are available at local stores, there is some availability online- nice, but not absolutely necessary)
  • paper punch
  • embellishments such as shiny pipe cleaner, small ornaments, floral picks ( added pretty touch, but not necessary)

Although you may not be able to go green with all your gift wrapping, every little bit will help.

Personalize the paper by choosing a theme that interest the gift recipient. For example, for the sport fan, use the sports pages of the newspaper or a sports magazine. For the fashionista on your list, use a fashion magazine. For the health and fitness guru, use a fitness magazine. You get the picture. I think that magazine ads are ideal as substitute wrapping paper for the smaller items. Many of the magazines have the ideal weight of paper and there is a nice sheen to paper. For some of the medium sized gifts you may have to use 2 pages of the magazine and overlap them to size. Also, since the sheets aren't large, you don't have to fight with the paper when trying to size it. Use a box cutter to careful cut the sheets out of the magazines. Trim to size if necessary. For the speciality catalogs, often times they are just stapled in the middle. So, carefully remove the 2-3 staples and you have a large size sheet of "wrapping" paper. The speciality holiday catalogs are beautifully photographed and the paper is a heavier weight.

For the larger gifts, newspapers and the weekly circulars work best. Or with a little imagination, several sheets of paper can be taped together to fit your package.

Make each gift even more special by using beautiful ribbons which you can reused again and again. Although ribbons can be expensive, during the holiday season, you can often find ribbon on sale. Stock up and choose some ribbons that are more neutral and can be used throughout the year. So, the only cost you incur is for the ribbon, if you need to purchase them. Use a single contrasting color of ribbon for a pop of color. For example, if you wrap with black and white newspaper print, use a bright red ribbon. Use several colors of the curling ribbon on a package. As for the ribbon shredder, it is used with curling ribbon. You will need to curl the ribbon, using the edge of the scissors. Then, take the ribbon shredder and feed one of the curled ribbon through. You push down on the so the metal teeth lock down. Then carefully pull the ribbon through to shred it.

The brown bags, such as the lunch bags can be used for gifts that are awkward to wrap. To create a fun bag, cut out images/words from the magazines and glued them to the bag. You don't need many, just a few. You can use the shredded paper to cushion the item in the bag and it will also help to keep the bag shape. To decorate the bag, you can fold the flap and center punch 2 holes about 1 inch apart and loop a piece of ribbon. Add embellishments if you like and tie a pretty bow. Another alternative is to close the flap without folding it and punch 4 holes about 1 inch from the top and loop a piece of ribbon around. Tie the ribbon in a bow. Tying the ribbon around the bag ensures that busy prying eyes can't get to the present.

The shredded paper can also be used as packaging for gift baskets.

The gifts tags can be made by cutting holiday cards from previous years. I like to use craft scissors that have the zig-zag edges. It makes it fast work of cutting because you don't need to be precise and you can decide what shapes your tags will be. I managed to make about 20 or so tags from just 6 cards

I have included many examples of wrapped gifts. Have fun wrapping and let your imagination be your guide. And don't forget to recycle once the festivities are over.

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