Editor’s Note: While we are all bustling around getting ready for the big day, local entrepreneur Heidi Fuerste from First Curb Recycling is here this morning to talk shop about giving a gift to the environment this holiday season in the form of rethinking what you wrap gifts in.
With the Christmas Season in full swing, most of us have started or even completed our gift buying. But how many of us have started to think about what we will wrap our gifts in? Traditionally gift wrapping was a frenzy of foiled and sparkled paper, scotch tape (always losing the end) and curling ribbon. These days we are much more environmentally conscious, and we know that those wrapping materials cannot be recycled and only end up in the land fill after a one time use.
There are dozens of other ways to wrap your gifts, they will be environmentally sound, look pretty, and since they can be used year after year – gift wrapping will get easier every time.
Make your own gift wrap from brown wrapping paper, reused brown paper bags, newspaper and the funny pages. Draw designs, use gold stamps, stickers, or spray-paint stencils. Bows can be made from wide wired ribbon that can be re-used year after year. Best of all, the paper, bags, and newsprint can all be recycled or composted.
Pickup gift bags from your local dollar store, and reuse them each year. Tie the handles together with some ribbon, hang some candles or small toys off the side. These bags come in all designs and look very nice under the tree. Baskets from a thrift shop could be used in the same way. Wrap them in fabric for extra pizzazz!
If you are a sewer or crafter – make reusable gift bags from cloth material you have lying around. Fold material in half and sew up one bottom and the other side. Leave the top open, pop in your gift and tie shut with some pretty ribbon. These work really well for wine bottles and small hostess gifts.
Decoupage last year’s cookie tins with Christmas themed pictures from old wrapping paper, cards, or stickers. Craft stores often have very inexpensive wooden boxes that could be painted, decoupaged or left plain. These boxes can become part of the gift and can be used as craft containers or jewelery box
I know we can control what we put under the tree, but what to do with non-recyclable paper or greeting cards we receive from others? Use old wrapping paper to make gift tags or shred it to make a soft nest for fragile items. Plan ahead: Cover a cookie tin or wooden box to hold next year’s gift, make some hanging ornaments, or recycle the pictures into new greeting cards.
Thinking beyond the Christmas season, you could use the old wrapping paper like newspaper to clean your windows or large pieces of paper could be used as drawer liners. Modern graphics would look beautiful framed in a shadow box; I have seen these in expensive home furnishing stores. Just choose a paper that coordinates with your wall colors, use some spray adhesive or even a glue stick to adhere the paper to the back of the box. Wrinkled and then ironed paper could recover an existing lampshade with the help of easily available double sided sticky paper.
Many of these suggestions can be turned into a craft project with the kids or grandkids, they will also help bring awareness of recycling to the home front; creating wonderful traditions and memories for the coming years.