Did you know 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper is used each year? That’s around 50,000 trees. Why not do your bit for the environment and choose eco-friendly gift wrap this Christmas.
I remember as a child, each Christmas morning my sister and I would be up very early tentatively opening up all our presents. Gently encouraged by our mother to be careful with the paper and not tear it up too much so that it could be reused the following year. Well, not all of it but some pieces were salvageable.
I’m still mindful when opening gifts, even to this day and I’ll keep pieces which are good to be reused. I’m now a mum myself and always have a box of recycled wrapping paper on the go, coming in handy for emergency gifting and saves running to the high street for supplies. My daughter (now a teen), would always love to make gift tags out of last years cards or reuse them for other craft activities so the family tradition continues within her.
Christmas is always a time of much waste, items being panic-bought for the sake of having something to give to another and then going by the wayside. Not to mention all the discarded wrapping paper.
Throughout the latter part of the year, The Beauty Spyglass focussed on sustainability, making conscious choices and favouring ethically sourced products where possible. Continuing along those lines, I thought I’d share some gift wrap ideas for those conscious of unnecessary waste. Using recycled wrapping paper and reusable accessories, you can create beautifully wrapped gifts to sit elegantly under the Christmas tree whilst knowing you’re doing your bit.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love a bit of luxury, and naturally, I’m attracted to those pretty rolls of wrapping paper and matching gift tags but this type of paper isn’t eco-friendly, can be plastic-based and once disposed of sits in landfill for hundreds, and sometimes up to a thousand years! I’m becoming more and more conscious of our environment and try to do my bit by making small changes where I can.
This Christmas I decided to go ethical with my wrappings so I took to Google, just to see what was about but wasn’t particularly inspired but the extra cost involved. I like to support my local high street but interestingly, eco-friendly gift wrap isn’t so readily available, again I imagine the cost is an issue but one store which sprang to mind is Oxfam.
With a mixture of ethically made and sourced items inside it’s really worth taking a look with fresh eyes.
I discovered a few tubs full of 100% recycled, traditionally coloured gift wrap rolls in both plain and patterned designs. I chose plain gold as I’d already decided that would be my colour scheme for gifting this year. Each roll is 4 metres in length and is a little more than your average roll at £3.99
Given the price, I was actually surprised at just how many rolls were flying out the door.
If your budget won’t allow it, you could always pick up a roll of brown parcel or craft paper from The Card Factory, WHSmith or The Range which is really inexpensive. I paid £99p for mine. Plus, you tend to get more on the roll for your money.
Make your own coordinating trim
This has long been a favourite of mine and is really enjoyable to create. Cut a length of wrapping paper about two inches across and five in length (or choose your own dimensions). Next, take your scissors and carefully cut into strips, leaving half an inch at the top to keep it in one piece. Now, you’re ready for the fun bit – use the scissors to carefully curl the lengths one at a time by starting at the top and applying even pressure as you drag the sharp side of the blade along each individual strand.
Finally, attach it to your wrapped gift with eco-friendly tape or glue. Remember, your average sticky tape isn’t recyclable so use sparingly and try to remove it from the paper before recycling.
Ribbon & Jute
Gifts tied up with ribbon will always look like you’ve gone the extra mile and far more attractive. All manner of inexpensive ribbon can be purchased in The Range or the haberdashery on your high street. There are usually lots of different seasonal styles and colours to suit all age groups and are reusable year after year.
My bright red 15-metre satin band ribbon is £0.90 and Jute string £1.00 both from Flying Tiger on my local high street.
Jute is a natural, vegetable fibre which is spun into coarse threads and has many uses around the home and garden. Of course, it’s equally lovely tied around a “brown paper wrapped” parcel. If you’d rather not stretch to ribbon then this is an alternative, plus a roll of plain jute is cheap to buy and there’s always plenty on the roll.
Reusable wooden gift tags
These can be personalised with your own words or design and reused each year. Give your friends and family a gift tag alternative they will love. If they’ll give them up without a fight, stash them away somewhere safe ready to reuse next Christmas. Again, these are easy on the purse can be found in most craft departments or stores.
Get creative with the Christmas tree decs’
If you have some smaller baubles, remove the original loop and thread your piece of jute through attaching it to your parcel as I have below.
When it comes to Christmas and greeting cards… go paperless
Not exactly gift wrap, but certainly related – I was shocked to discover that around one billion Christmas cards will be headed straight for the bin once we’re done with Christmas this year, so why not do your bit to reduce such waste and go paperless instead?
Paperless Post is your one-stop online destination for paperless greetings cards, from Christmas to birthdays, save the date, flyers, and more! There’s literally a design for every conceivable occasion, and unlike its competitors; Paperless Post has teamed up with many top-name fashion houses, designers and lifestyle brands such as Kate Spade, Anthropologie and Vera Wang to create stunning designs for you to use. I’d highly recommend having a look if you want to continue with the eco-friendly theme this Christmas.
Remember, Christmas isn’t just about gifting.
In the words of Peg Bracken…
“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas”
How do you feel about eco-friendly gift wrap? Do you prefer to make conscious choices? I’d love to get your take on it.