I love an eloquently and artfully wrapped gift as much as the next person, but the part I’ve recently found I don’t love? The guilt of knowing that the beautiful wrapping will almost immediately become trash post-gift opening. While I still find it hard to walk past some gorgeous wrap or a kitschy gift bag in a retail store, I take solace in knowing that the practices I now employ are equally as gorgeous, usually more creative, and don’t end up adding more to the landfill after serving their purpose as a transitory barrier to the act of gifting. These practices attempt to reuse things on hand and stop at least one cycle of waste.
If you think you might be interested in upping your gift-wrapping game, here are a couple of ideas for alternatives to a traditional gift wrap.
While most people have converted to an online news source, if you haven’t and still get the occasional newspaper, don’t trash it when you are through. You can reuse the newspaper as an artful form of wrapping paper. If you want to be extra clever, you can find an article or add that relates to the gift recipient.
Larger Amazon purchases frequently come with lots and lots of dunnage. This is the brown craft-like paper inserted by the roll that protects the goods shipped. I have saved this (and the boxes) for packing during a move as well as for wrapping gifts. It’s the perfect farmhouse-esque wrapping paper. Essentially a blank canvas, you can use ribbon or any other flourish your heart desires to dress the packing material up. If you are feeling extra artsy, you could even stamp the paper or draw a design on the paper to customize it.
Yes, kids love balloons for special occasions, but they are hard on the environment. If you do find yourself with an overly expressive mylar balloon to celebrate someone special in your life, despair not. Once the helium starts to lose its luster, the balloon itself can be used as an interesting wrap for the next special person’s occasion.
Gift wrapping is a great way to use fabric scraps laying around. And if you aren’t swimming in excess fabric, another idea is to include something that can wrap a gift as part of the gift. For example, you could use a dishtowel as gift wrap and tie the top with a ribbon – and voila! Bonus gift!
While these ideas won’t rid the landfill of excess, they will reduce what ends up in the landfill and that is a step in the right direction. Couple these tricks with reusing ribbon and saving gift bags and you’ll have a whole stash of items awaiting their fresh new uses as you celebrate special people in your life. What the world needs now is not perfection, but as many people as possible doing their best to live mindfully.