Wrapping paper and its tumultuous accessories are often single-use. Their purpose is to aesthetically please while artfully concealing a thoughtful treasure within. I remember un-wrapping presents from my grandparents as a child and the thrill of ripping the sh** out of the paper. Then there are those who save their wrappings to re-use, which is great, but most wrapping paper is thrown away, and only some of it's recyclable. Good thing there are so many other ways to wrap sustainably and with style!
1. The Glass Jar
If you're like me, you have a lot of glass jars of various sizes ready to be upcycled in some fashion. Glass jars are see through, so they can sort of take the illusion of the gift away; however, they are perfect for homemade goodies, bath salts, candles, bath bombs, and much more! The mason jar is consistent, reusable, and reliable.
2. Boxes, Newspaper, Brown Paper, Tape, Yarn
I work at grocery store so I get first pick of all the boxes before they get smashed in the baler. It's nice to re-use the boxes for gifts and/or if we have to send anything in the mail. Anyone can ask at their grocery store if they have any extra boxes and or/packaging instead of buying new. Metal storage (cookie) tins also work well. Upycling (repurposing) newspaper, brown packing paper, and brown paper grocery bags make great wrapping paper! It's easy to make a potato stamp and use beet juice and/or spirulina as ink to make a print on your paper if you want to decorate with holiday spirit. Plastic tape is another area where we can reduce waste by opting for paper tape, tape made from cellulose, or by using natural yarns, raffia, or twine. These options are usually compostable, unlike ribbons and most string which are primarily made from synthetic materials.
Cloth wrapping is another great option. I made produce bags as a gift, but they also serve as wrapping to conceal some mason jars containing my homemade body care products. It's also possible to wrap with a scarf, a piece of up-cycled cloth or clothing, and my mom's favorite, silk.
4. Nature Provides
Any gift, whether we wrap it in a mason jar, cloth bag, scarf, handkerchief, box, paper, or any other creative material we choose to re-create, they can all be dressed up with compostable twine, a sprig of spruce or lavender, a dried lemon/orange, star anise, and/or some holly or red berries. Time and time again nature provides us with everything we need - let's make plastic obsolete!
5. Reduce, Reuse, Re-create
If we do have left over wrapping from gifts we were given the precious year, or from birthdays, the holidays are a great way to re-use those items. I love Circular Living because it encourages me to be creative and figure out new ways to reduce, reuse, re-purpose and re-create, which prevents new items form entering the waste stream and helps me appreciate and bring value back to the things I own.
If we don't have one of these wrapping materials, we can look for it secondhand first!