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That's a Wrap!

Giving gifts that sparkle without giving into the excess waste from wrapping is good for the earth, good for your wallet, but most importantly good to give.
Wrapping gifts in saved paper or gift bags, or even newspaper has long been a tradition in my family. I didn't always appreciate these frugal wrapping attempts, as I am a sucker for a nicely wrapped present with a silky bow but as I pull out the boxes from the basement filled with saved Christmas wrappings, canvas bags, and scraps of ribbon from the past it reminds me again of the simple ways we can live more sustainably.

But the good news is that sustainable gift wrap ideas are coming out of the frugal-only closet and taking centre stage in the low waste sustainable lifestyle. Here are a few ideas to help jump-start your next gift-giving needs.

Tsutsumu & Furoshiki
The Japanese tradition of Tsutsumu, wrapping goods and gifts in pieces of furoshiki fabric, is gaining widespread devotion. Using simple folds and knots, and often using up scrap fabric or scarves to create a present within a present, elevates the giving and reduces waste. There are lots of great video tutorials on how to do it, like this one by Japan House, which also gives a fascinating overview of the other types of wrappings used in Japanese culture.

Please Note: none of the examples below are mine because I really suck at this! I tried so hard but they all look smushy and sad!

Upcycling and Reusing
One of the best green wrapping options is to reuse wrapping from before or upcycle other household items to create new wrapping. Resuing brown paper or even takeout bags and adding stamps is a great activity for kids to do to make them part of the giving process. Don't forget to upgrade your plastic tape with washi paper tape too. Below I upcycled an empty coffee can with some scrap fabric, used a lonely sock and empty toilet paper tube (with a little sewing help), and upcycled a pasta jar with some scrap paper and added a bamboo lid, so they can use it for storage afterward.
Reusable Wrapping
Giving a gift in a reusable container in my book means twice the presents! So grab a tea towel or napkin, use a canvas bag, or lunch skin (there are some great designs out there), or choose a patterned PhotoBox, wooden box, or wicker basket and give twice the joy for less waste.
Finally, no gift is complete without a tag. These clay tags are made by local company Mystic River Clay, they are lovely collectibles for decorating or passing on to another when you gift. You can reuse old gift tags by painting over the old information or even cut new tags from pieces of card (cereal boxes etc). I am personally a big fan of old-fashioned paper luggage labels which can be used for every occasion (and composted afterward).

Whatever small steps you take to make your gift-giving greener, res best to give than to receive (but in this case the earth receives the gift too!)

I love this book!

by Christine Leech

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