Christmas is coming and folks are home busily wrapping their most recent purchases, I thought this would be a good time to share some green ideas for gift wrapping.
If you think about it, wrapping paper and gift bags are a pretty wasteful idea. Sure they are pretty, but all those trees getting cut down, the tons of petroleum products in the inks, processing, and transportation, just so our packages will look pretty under the tree. Hmmm, maybe we can rethink this.
How about some alternatives; start with going through your closets, linen cabinet, drawers and anywhere else you might have some fabrics. If that old shirt, skirt, sweater, jacket, towel, or even pair of pants has seen its last days put it in the pile. If it's red, green, white, or Christmas fabric, you get bonus points, but it doesn't have to be.
One of my favorite things to do with gifts is to wrap them in paper grocery bags and tie them with twine, or jute, with a sprig of pine. I must say, they look incredible and very woodsy. You could even take leaves, pine cones, turkey feathers, or other natural items and press them into an ink pad, or paint them and press them onto the paper making your own creations. Have your kids add their special flair to giftwraps for Grandma or Grandpa, starting them on their own Green pathway.
OK, now for those gift cards, keep those Christmas cards that friends and family send you. Get out your decorative scissors, if you have them, and cut around your favorite pictures on the cards. It doesn't have to be the whole card. I've been doing this for years. You can cut around just the snowman, the gingerbread house, the nativity scene, whatever you like. Use your hole punch and punch one hole in the corner of the card. Walah! The perfect Green gift card for your package! If you don't receive enough Holiday cards for what you need, put a box on your desk at work and ask folks to bring in their old cards (even Birthday cards for Birthday gift tags!). You will be amazed at how many you can recycle! It's fun to see the look on family and friend's faces when they see last year's Christmas card on their gift this year.
You can also create your own coordinating gift cards, too. Simply cut a shape out of the scraps of your wrapping paper (that you're trying to use up, so you can go to green alternatives) and glue onto an index card, or the inside of the greeting card you've already cut the front. Leave a small margin around your cut edge and punch a hole in the corner, write your message on the back!
Page 2 of 2 - There are lots more alternatives to presenting your gifts in a green way, it just takes some thinking outside of the box! If you have any more ideas for green gifts or gift wrapping, please share them and we'll print them. In the meantime, I'm dreaming of a Green Christmas!
Lynn Youngblood is a Kansas City-based naturalist who writes for Gatehouse Media.