When buying holiday gifts for loved ones on your shopping list, don’t forget about the environment. Give the environment the gift of wrapping green. Think recyclable.
When buying and wrapping Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa gifts think for a moment about where all of the tape, ribbons, bows, holiday wrapping paper and packaging will go just minutes after the present is opened. Most people end up with huge trash bags of discarded paper and packaging material that cannot be recycled. The debris will sit in landfills taking hundreds of years to decompose. Not a perfect picture of living green.
It’s best to think about recycling and living green before buying and wrapping holiday gifts. The cleanup will be much easier both inside the house and for the environment.
Here are a few tips for wrapping and decorating holiday gifts that are less harmful for the environment:
- Home made holiday wrapping paper: For folks with children, have the kids make creative Christmas, Hanukkah and/or Kwanzaa scenes on rolls of recyclable brown paper. Not only will it allow the children’s imagination and creativity to flow, it serves as a fun lesson to teach them about and how to preserve and protect the environment through recycling and living green.
- Ditch the store bought bows: Instead of using the typical bow on top of the gift, why not use something edible. Candy cane or hard candy will do. Make sure the candy is colorful and festive for the occasion.
- Say no to metallic paper: Rather than using the metallic and glitter holiday wrapping paper, why not use gift bags. They can be used from year to year (provided they do not get smashed and ripped during the gift opening frenzy) and it is more economical in the long run.
- Substitute scarves for tissue paper: When using gift bags, rather than using tissue paper (which is usually recyclable), why not use inexpensive scarves. Go to the local dollar store and pick up a bunch of scarves. They are decorative and re-usable.
- Forgo using tape: For the very creative, here’s a substitute for using tape. Pick up a roll of decorative yarn that shimmers. Give everyone in the house a crochet needle and teach everyone how to crochet long chains using the chain stitch. Instead of using tape and ribbons, use the crocheted chain to secure the decorated brown paper gift-wrap to the gift. Once the gift is secured, tie a bow and adhere a piece of candy in the middle. A dab of Gem-Tac permanent adhesive glue, Elmer’s glue or any other adhesive should keep the decorative candy in place.
- Piece de resistance: For final decorative flair, find natural items such as pine cones, winter berries and pine needles from the yard to glue onto the holiday gift (watch out for pine needles if you have young ones or pets).
It is very easy to get caught up in the media driven holiday hype. Glitz, glamor and disposable wrappings will not protect the environment for the next generation. After all, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are spiritual celebrations. Why not celebrate it in such a way to uplift both the spirit and the environment.
PS: You don’t have to wait until Christmas to use environmentally friendly gift wrapping.