With the Christmas season around the corner, it’s time to think about what presents you should be giving to your loved ones. You’ve already chosen the perfect sustainable gift to give, so it’d only make sense for you to wrap it with eco-friendly material. Why not go all in, right? After all, you wouldn’t want to add more to the trash that’s already harming Mother Earth.
Christmas may be all about celebrations and gift-giving, but it’s also considered the most wasteful time of the year. It comes with all kinds of waste—from leftover foods to plastic bags to gift wrappers. It’s up to consumers to minimize their contribution to the growing garbage problem around the world.
Sustainable gifts come in different shapes and sizes, so it might be challenging to wrap them. And although you want to make your presents more special by covering or packaging them nicely, you also want to help the environment. To accomplish both, ditch the traditional gift wrappers and consider these tips in wrapping sustainable gifts:
1 Choose Other Gift Wrapper Alternatives
Most of the gift wrappers available on the market aren’t recyclable, so opt for biodegradable ones that won’t harm the planet. You can also reuse certain materials already found in your home.
As challenging as it is to achieve, you want your Christmas gifts to look neat and sophisticated without posing a negative impact on the environment. Here are some materials you can use as an alternative to plastic gift wrappers:
- Scraps of colorful fabric: In Japan, this is called furoshiki. It’s the art of wrapping gifts in a patterned fabric, scarf, or bandana that can be used repeatedly.
- Reusable gift bags: Invest in creating or buying reusable gift bags that are made of fabric. The best options are flannel, burlap, and cotton, but any type of fabric will do.
- Old maps and calendars: These are great alternatives if you want to have a classic or timeless vibe for your gift. The receiver would be especially impressed if the gift happens to be something vintage.
- Jars, boxes, and ribbons: If you tend to keep cool or quirky packaging materials every time you purchase items, you probably already have a lot of these. You can use ribbons for accessorizing your gift wrapper, jars for edible gifts, and boxes as containers.
- Custom-made wrapper: If you’re still not satisfied with the alternatives above, you can design your own gift wrapper, but make sure that what you’re using is biodegradable and recyclable. An example is tissue paper from noissue which is fully biodegradable and customizable.
2 Swap To Eco-Friendly Cards
With your well-thought-of gift combined with a heartfelt message on a greeting card, you can make anyone feel appreciated. But the traditional greeting card will just add to the clutter if you eventually decide to dispose of it.
Fortunately, there are other options you can look into. Earthbits offer plantable greetings cards, where there are seeds within the paper itself, allowing you to plant the card paper instead of disposing of them. They also offer eco-friendly packaging. With these, your message of love and gratitude could literally grow into something more.
“Seed Paper Greetings Card from Earthbits.com”
3 Wrap Based On Shape
In a perfect world, you could effortlessly wrap any gift, especially if it’s contained in a box. With smooth edges and clean 90-degree angles, you can certainly do no wrong. But in the real world, sustainable gifts have different shapes and sizes. Depending on the shape of the item you’ve chosen, you have to try different methods of gift wrapping. Also, make sure to have recyclable materials like biodegradable gift wrappers and recyclable tape.
- Box-shaped: This is the simplest type of gift to wrap because the process is straightforward. You don’t need to put in a lot of effort because the edges of the item are clear, so you can get your folds right. Measuring the gift wrapper for it to adequately cover your gift is vital in this method.
- Tube-shaped: You’re probably planning to give someone a sustainable water bottle or another item resembling a tube. Wrapping that is easy because all you need to do is wrap the paper around it, but the tricky part is dealing with the ends. If you don’t get it right, it’ll look bulky and messy. To solve this, you need to secure the middle seam of the gift wrapper with double-sided tape or glue under the overlaying parts.
- Round-shaped: If you’re planning to give a gift in a round-shaped container like a used cookie tin, you can follow the same trick with the tube-shaped container. But be more careful in making the pleats on the visible parts of the gift so they’ll look neat.
- Sphere-shaped: This is exceptionally hard to work with, so if you’re in a hurry, you can always put the sphere-shaped gift in a box. But if you want to impress the receiver of your gift, use decorative biodegradable tissue paper instead of wrapping paper to make it easier for you to mold the material around your present.
- Odd-shaped: Some gifts are uniquely shaped, which is why it’s pretty much impossible to wrap them neatly using the previous methods. So if you’re giving clothes or handmade dolls, make a parcel or bag that’ll contain your gift instead. This’ll look neater and help conceal the actual gift, so there’s still an element of surprise.
4 Add Embellishments
Aside from greeting cards, adding embellishments can make your Christmas presents stand out on the gift table. This is also a perfect way to practice your creative skills and make your loved ones feel important through your extra effort. Here are some gift embellishments to try out:
- Pine cones and sprigs: Finding an eco-friendly embellishment can be a little tricky because most holiday present toppers are made of plastic. Go for pine cones, maple leaves, or sprigs you find lying on the ground outside.
- Used soap: You can melt used soap to produce one-of-a-kind embellishments. Create a wide range of shapes using molds, or you can carve out designs the recipient would love.
The Christmas season provides you with the opportunity to show your love and appreciation to relatives and friends alike through presents. Choosing a green lifestyle can make this a bit tricky because most gifts available for purchase aren’t eco-friendly. Even the gift wrappers used to cover items aren’t an exemption. As a mindful consumer, you have to find alternatives to the traditional materials you use in wrapping gifts.
Buying sustainable items is just one of the things a consumer can do to prevent the growing waste problem globally. Of course, you don’t have to compromise the style and presentation of your gifts. It’s up to you to be creative in figuring out which sustainable gifts suit the taste of your loved ones as well as making those items more special for them.