Earth-Friendly Gift Wrap That is Easy on the Wallet

gift wrapIt’s the hidden cost of the holiday: all the gift wrap and trimmings that make our packages pretty. Not only do they add up to a hefty price tag. Wrapping, ribbon and bows funnel a massive amount of paper into the waste stream, often only hours after it is unrolled and taped around a gift.
Try out some new gift wrapping techniques this year. You’ll save some money and reduce your holiday impact on the environment.
1. Use the Sunday comic pages to wrap gifts. They’re colorful and can be recycled, to boot. Just add bows for a splash of color.
2. As an alternative, go with a “black and white and red all over” theme. Wrap all of your gifts in plain newsprint pages and accent with all red bows. It will create a striking effect under your tree!
3. Brown or white paper grocery bags make excellent gift wrap. Simply cut them along the folds to make a sheet, then turn them inside out to hide any printing. For an elegant effect, cut an apple or a pear in half lengthwise, dip it in gold paint and stamp the paper, drawing on stems and seeds with a dark brown marker, if desired.
4. Store-bought gift bags can be re-used many times if handled with care.
5. Using either brown paper bags or a roll of butcher paper, you can wrap gifts in plain paper and then occupy small children by letting them decorate the packages. Give them crayons and markers, or let them choose a few holiday rubber stamps. Older children might enjoy using glitter glue, or cutting up last year’s Christmas cards to decorate packages.
6. Speaking of last year’s Christmas cards, they make excellent gift tags, and put to good use some of those beautiful images that otherwise go under-appreciated. Cut them at the fold, punch a hole near the top, attach to package with a bit of ribbon, and write on the back. Light-colored cards can be taped directly to the package; simply write To: and From: on the image itself.
7. A pretty basket or handsome box can make the wrapping part of the gift itself. Kitchen gadgets can be wrapped in a pretty dish towel. A baby blanket is a sweet way to package gifts for little ones.
8. As an alternative to ribbons and bows, use twine or raffia to tie on items of natural beauty you can gather yourself. Pine cones, twigs, sprigs of pine or holly, dried grasses, and rose hips are all good candidates.

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