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Beauties, I have a confession to make. For much of my life, I have been a wrapping paper junkie. I love choosing just the right gifts for my friends and family during holidays and birthdays, and one of my favorite parts of the gifting process is selecting just the right gift packaging to complement my finds. But as I’ve gotten older and become more educated about the state of the earth and the impact we’re having on it with our daily choices, I’ve learned that there are some subtle changes I can make to dramatically reduce my footprint when packaging up gifts for my friends and family. Using a couple rolls of wrapping paper and a few disposable bows each year may not seem like much, but consider these statistics on Holiday Waste Prevention from Stanford University: "If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields." 

Don’t get me wrong, I still use traditional wrapping paper and ribbon occasionally, but I also love getting creative and resourceful when looking for alternatives to the traditional paper-heavy gift packaging many of us are used to. If you’re curious about how to be a little more eco-friendly with your gifting this Christmas, here are some fun ideas to get you started:

  • Create unique gift tags from old Christmas cards.
    We love this idea from Upcycle Your Life. If you have old Christmas cards laying around from friends and family, don’t toss them - give them new life by reusing them as creative gift tags. You can either use a tag-shaped punch, or simply cut them out free-hand and make a small hole for attaching with twine or ribbon. Get creative and have fun with it! Check out the full tutorial here: Upcycled Gift Packaging and Wrap
    • Package gifts in reusable totes instead of wrapping paper or paper gift bags.
      This idea is so simple and practical, but the default habit of purchasing a sparkly paper gift bag and stuffing it with tissue paper is so second nature for some of us that we may not even think of it. Of course, paper gift bags are a better option than wrapping paper, since most people tend to keep and reuse them for future gifts anyway, but another fun option is to put your gift in a cute reusable tote that will become a fun, functional part of the gift for the recipient! We love these organic cotton totes from Simple Ecology that fold up into smaller clutches. They’re affordable and eco-friendly, they come in festive winter hues, and yes, you can still order them to arrive before Christmas. (Score!)
      • Give baked goods in reusable containers instead of disposable ones.
        Everyone loves a good plate of Christmas cookies, but holiday bakers sometimes erroneously believe that disposable paper or plastic treat bags are the only affordable option for packing up baked goodies. This may have been true a few years ago, but thankfully it's no longer the case. Lots of popular retailers have started stocking small, giftable bakeware made from reusable materials like stone or glass at very affordable prices. You can find these pieces anywhere from your local Goodwill or thrift shop, to big box stores like Target and Walmart, and even discount stores like Home Goods and Dollar Tree. Packaging your goodies in reusable bakeware saves waste and also adds to the gift, as you’re now not only giving treats, but also a new piece the recipient can add to their own kitchen collection.

      • When in doubt, you can’t beat the classic mason jar.
        If you’re gifting something small enough to fit in a mason jar but you don’t want your recipient to see what’s inside, just line it with a little newspaper (or better yet, use another old Christmas card with a festive image on the front). This way, you keep the element of mystery and still get the experience of watching your loved one open the gift with curiosity, but you have none of the hassle of wasted paper to clean up after. Use some twine to attach a pinecone or some red berries for a festive feel.
        So beauties, do you plan to try out any of these fun wrapping ideas for your gifts this year? We’d love to see the results! Post your unique wrapping photos and ideas to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, and be sure to tag us so we can see your masterpieces. Happy gifting!