Why make your Christmas more eco friendly?
Christmas, more than any other time of year, is a time of over consumption and waste. The excess food, all the gifts and of course all the waste from packaging and wrapping.
There are lots of swaps and changes we can make to ensure our Christmas is a more sustainable one, without comprising on the fun. This guide on plastic free wrapping alternatives can hopefully help.
Eco friendly gift wrapping alternatives
Ditch the plastic containing wrapping paper
Many wrapping papers contain plastics and therefore cannot be recycled. If you don’t want to compromise on your Christmas themed wrapping paper, choose recyclable papers. If it’s shiny or metallic there is a good chance it cannot be recycled.
Make your own wrapping paper
Why not get creative and make your own wrapping? I find the kids really enjoy this and it can be as complex or simple as you choose. Using white paper roll from the craft shop or Ikea or brown packaging paper, decorate it and then cut to size as required.
Great ways to decorate paper include:
- Potato stamps
- Clay Tile designs
- Hand or finger printing trees
Use recycling to wrap presents
A top tip to really keep Christmas waste free is to use what you would normally throw away.
Free christmas shop magazines, newspapers and the paper packaging from presents you’ve ordered all make great wrap. Things like old road maps also look cool.
Most companies send items in boxes wrapped with brown paper packaging rather than bubble wrap these days. Save it all from all the gift purchases being delivered in the run up to Christmas then reuse it for wrapping. You can also decorate it. The same goes for the boxes!
Furoshiki cloth wrapping
This wrapping style originating from Japan is a really lovely way to wrap up gifts whilst also giving an additional gift.
Using neckachiefs, scarves, bandanas, tea towels or any fabric offcuts you have to wrap your gifts also means the fabric can be reused or used as a gift item.
Baskets & Boxes
I love me a basket and last year I found a fabulous wrapping hack for gifts. Second hand baskets!!!! In the lead up to Christmas look around charity shops for little baskets, especially ones with lids. These make spectacular wrapping, especially for collections of small items like trinkets, bath bombs, small toys etc. The basket can then be used to store the items afterwards or can be reused the following year. A little ribbon on top adds to the effect and they look stunning under the tree.
Lidless baskets can also work, just pop some fabric on top and seal with a ribbon.
Fancy storage boxes also work well, sourced from old toiletries, charity shops etc.
Drawstring bags are my absolute all time fave wrapping alternative. They are the easiest thing to make and the first thing I learnt to sew on the sewing machine.
The best thing about them is you can use them every single year and if you make them in neutral designs they also can be used for birthdays.
- Make lots of different sizes for different size gifts
- Keep them neutral so can be used for anyone and all events
- Source free or cheap fabrics at charity shops or freecycle
- Use old ribbons or binding bias for the drawstring
- Fat quarters make the job easier as already cut to a good size
- They also work as fabulous alternatives to paper in pass the parcel.
- Rather than spending weeks making them build up your collection throughout the year or each Christmas. I started using them a few years back and make a batch each year. I’m now hoping I have enough for all the gifts.
I promise once you make this swap you won’t go back. Gift wrapping now takes me less than 30 minutes for everyone.
They also can be used for storage afterwards.
Reuse and Recycle
If you aren’t already then start saving all the gift bags you get given. I haven’t bought a gift bag for at least a decade! Every birthday and Christmas save all the gift bags or salvageable wrapping paper you receive and reuse it.
My friends and I love to see our gift bags circulating round the group through different members year after year!
This is also a great one to use with friends or family where you may not want your stock of drawstring bags or fabric wraps being given away.
Eco wrapping Accessories
Choose reusable Ribbons
Swapping those plastic ribbons and bows on presents not only will be good for the planet, they can be better for your wallet. Either don’t use any at all or opt for reusable ribbons or eco alternatives such as twine.
Use paper based Tape
Rather than using the old celotape, why not opt for paper based tapes instead? There are some really pretty pattern washi tapes on the market now, including Christmas themed ones. Or just use good old paper packaging tape for an easy eco alternative.
Make your own gift tags
Homemade gift tags are fun to make and can also look very effective. A personal favorite is using old fashioned parcel tags and either decorating them or using a christmas themed hole punch to decorate.
Other ideas are
- Paper snowflakes
- Other paper shapes like snowmen
- Writing directly on the packaging
- Fabric scrap
- Chalk pen on a piece of holly
- stencil onto the packaging
- Making your own little tags
Christmas card alternatives
Rather than wasting money on buying cards every year, why not make your own?
We keep the fronts or cut out the designs of all the Christmas cards we recieve each year and then the kids use these to make new Christmas cards to send the following years. Other good things to use are old gift tags and cuttings from supermarket Christmas magazines.
You can also make your own hand drawn ones or even consider ditching the cards altogether?!
I hope this eco wrapping alternatives post has been useful and that you can start to make your gift wrapping less expensive, less time consuming and more eco friendly.
Do you have any top tips? Please let me know in the comments.