Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recycled Christmas

I haven't purchased wrapping paper or gift bags for years. I save and reuse them.

Best case people think I'm eccentric.

Worst case they think I'm cheap.

Either way, I don't care. I hate single-use items. They're such a waste, and any opportunity to use something again - even if it wasn't meant to be used more than once - is one I will take.

We've used all sorts of things to wrap presents in the past. My girls have grown accustomed to using colored paper to wrap gifts. It was something we started years go, and the wrapped package would, then, be decorated by the gifters. It was our way of personalizing the gift just a bit more.

It's just that colored paper is expensive, and using clean sheets of paper to wrap gifts, especially considering the paper will, then, just be discarded, is no less wasteful than buying a tube of gift wrap.

But I don't buy wrapping paper or gift bags. I reuse them - or get them from free from one of the many nature conservation groups I've donated to. Unfortunately, this year, my stash of recyled paper and bags is running low, and I needed a different solution.

I don't know why I never thought of it before.

Catalogs make great wrapping paper - free, readily available, recycled, and recyclable.

Next year, I'm going to allow Precious to indulge in her incessant collecting of free newspapers that usually end up in the recylcing bin. But instead of just tossing them, I'm going to save them for use as wrapping paper - free, readily available, recycled, and recyclable.

I'm finding the holiday to be an amazing opportunity to engage in some creative thought exercises ... and how much fun is that?!


  1. The comics are a standard around here. I prefer the inserts to the Sunday paper--they're not newsinky and are basically catalogues.

    Craft's blog had a great series on upcycled wrapping paper this year: http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2009/12/upcycled_gift_wrapping.html

  2. Some paper bags make it into our home. We rubber stamp them and call it good. This year I also found tins at the Goodwill for cheap. A pair of mittens or a hat fit well in these and folks have a harder time tossing them. I also made cloth gift bags but I save these for the folks in my own home. I make these from cloth I find at thrift stores. And then I save wrapping and gift bags from the year before.

  3. I have saved all the wrapping paper we've received gifts in since... 1995 or so? Everyone knows they will get gifts wrapped in re-used paper, and that the alternative is not getting a gift. My friends laugh at me, but who cares?

  4. When my dad and stepmom sold their house and moved to another state, she passed to me a big box full of rolls of wrapping paper she had since... well, some of those papers are considered vintage now. This was about 6 years ago and I have not needed to buy any wrapping paper since. When I don't use wrapping paper, I, too, re-use those gift bags and my MIL and I seem to gift the same bags back and forth.

    I saw a good idea that I will put into use one day, instead of giving a gift in a gift bag, give it in a reusable grocery bag-- 2 gifts in one!!

    I also am known to wrap homemade breads in a square piece of fabric, folding over 2 opposite corners over the bread and then tying the other 2 opposite corners into a knot above the bread which doubles as a handle. I use fabric I pick up at thrift shops and yard sales and some are not patterns I particulary care for-- especially if they came in a bundle, but the person that gets it is impressed.

  5. Each year as Christmas rolled around, the one thing I hated most about the holiday was wrapping the gifts. The job required being locked away from family for what seemed like hours at a time when all I really wanted to be doing was hanging out with family.

    About 13 years ago, I got the brillant idea of stitching up various sized reusable cloth gift bags in holiday fabric and haven't missed a minute of family time since. We place some of the bags under the tree for Santa to fill and use others to place our gifts to each other in.

    Not only have we eliminated paper waste, but we have also gotten rid of the the noise of ripping paper which makes for a much more peaceful holiday.

    Happy Holidays!