Every year, on December 26th, there is a tradition with my family. No, it's not shopping. Or eating some special meal. We take out the Christmas trash. Bows, ribbon, wrapping paper, gift bags, boxes, more wrapping paper, so, so much wrapping paper. There are many ways to reduce your environmental impact this time of year without going over budget. Most of these tips can be used year-round.
Make the wrapping part of the gift. Bath towels, dish cloths, baby blankets and many more fabric items like these can be wrapped around the gift as if they were regular paper. Make a game out of it, and wrap a small gift in the smallest towel, and then the next size up, and so on until they are all used up. This always gets some laughs.
Fabric sacks. I remember way back in Girl Guides making gift bags for the holidays. That was about 10 years ago, around the same time I learned how to knit. We followed steps very close to these from Sew Many Ways. If you're feeling adventurous, you could also knit or crochet some bags.
Use a basket. My grandmother is great for this one. Most years, my dads gift is a big basket filled with some of his favourite snacks. Everything from crackers to pickles to kippered snacks, it's all piled up into a wicker basket, which will likely be used by my mom to package another gift in the future. If you go this route, choose a nice, deep basket, so that you won't need to use plastic wrapping to keep everything in.
Use the news. This is a classic. The colour comic pages from the weekend paper being used by the stereotypical broke college student. There is no need to be broke to do this! You can use any section of the paper to wrap the gifts. For example, the sports section would be great for the hockey nut in your family.
Art works! Do you have a young Picasso or Pollock in your home? Is your fridge covered in their works form the past six months? Take some of the older art down and use that as wrapping paper. Grandma and Grandpa are sure to appreciate something like that.
Go naked. The gift that is. For some people, unwrapping the gift is more tedious than anything. Satisfy these folks with an unwrapped gift. If you want to dress it up a little, make your own gift bows with this tutorial from How About Orange.
This holiday season, keep these ideas in mind to lessen your impact on the planet. Don't forget to reuse these ideas next year!
Nicole blogs at Knit Nicole, Knit! and runs a sweet Etsy Shop!