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Wrap it up — the green way

You don’t need to buy those expensive rolls of wrapping paper. Instead, make your own holiday gift wrap. Everything from old calendars to your kids’ artwork can be used to wrap gifts the eco-friendly way.

eco-friendly gift wrap

Get creative with leftovers

Ditch the traditional wrapping paper and wrap your gifts in something else. Think about all the leftover paper in your house and put it to good use. Here are just a few suggestions on what you can use for holiday gift wrapping.

  • Magazine pages
  • Old calendars
  • Your kids’ artwork
  • Brown bags
  • Fabric remnants
  • Wallpaper scraps
  • Subway and street maps
  • Old greeting cards
  • Junk mail fliers and advertisements
  • Paper restaurant menus
  • Plain old newspapers

Make the packaging part of the gift

Think outside the box when it comes to gift wrapping. Consider making the packaging part of the gift. For example, use a colorful scarf to wrap another present or use a tote bag to hold several smaller gifts. Wicker baskets, metal buckets, glass jars and other containers are also eco-smart alternatives. For kitchen items and foodie gifts, place everything in a mixing bowl or wrap items with dish cloths, a tablecloth, placemats or an apron. Baby gifts can be wrapped in a baby blanket or towels. Look around your house and see what you have that can be used to wrap or package your holiday gifts.

Pick the right paper

If you want to wrap your gifts with wrapping paper, you need to pick the right paper. Some companies, such as Green Field Paper Company offer 100 percent recycled gift wrap in pretty holiday designs. They also use soy-based ink rather than petroleum-based ink — making this gift wrap even more eco-friendly. Also consider plantable gift tags (Green Field Paper Company, $8) for all your holiday gifts.

pineconesGet back to nature

Instead of paper or plastic ribbons and bows, tie your gifts with organic cotton bows that can be used again and again. Natural twine and wool yarn are also fantastic choices. Add accents from nature such as pinecones, berries, twigs and other items you find outdoors to make your gifts more festive and unique.

Skip the tape

If you are using paper to wrap your gifts, you’ll be tempted to grab the tape dispenser. Put it down — most of the time you don’t need tape to secure your wrapping. Recycling centers generally won’t take wrapping paper unless it’s free of tape. Wrap your package very tightly, creasing each of the folds as you wrap. It will take a little longer but your package will look much better. When you are done wrapping, secure the package by tying it with one of the back to nature options — like twine. If you tie it in both directions and your wrap is very tight, you won’t need any tape at all.

More about green holidays

Going green with your holiday decorating
Eco-friendly stocking stuffers
Green holiday gifts for kids

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