Thursday, December 17, 2009

Earth-Friendly Wrappings

Today is the 7th day of Hannukah and Christmas is 7 days away, so if you have children, there's a good chance you are wrapping presents right about now. I'm trying to get mine wrapped and under the tree before the kids are out of school for 2 weeks! Here are my Good/Better/Best ideas for Earth-friendly gift wrap. Feel free to share your own ideas in the Comments below - anonymous comments are always welcome too if you don't have an account to log in.

Good: Buy wrapping paper with a high recycled paper content. I confess I succumbed to the Innisbrook gift wrap drive from my children's school so I do have a stash of brightly colored paper. It isn't perfect, but the paper is recycled and they have improved their dying process by moving to 100% water-based dyes and recycling the leftovers.
Better: Use butcher block paper and tie it with string or yarn. The plain paper is cheap, dye-free and your kids can decorate it. A friend mentioned that she always uses raffia for ribbon, which I assumed was really green since it is a natural product. It is sustainable, but, if you use raffia, you may also want to check where it comes from. My quick Internet search showed that raffia comes from palm trees in Madasgcar (which seems a little far to source ribbon), but I'm sure there are other more local sources as well.

Best: Reuse!
* Find a new use for those countless kid drawings you have! (Note: you may need to ask your children for their approval on this so you don't induce tears when you reuse that special world map drawing they did in preschool). The polka dotted package below comes from an old art project and is tied with colorful telephone wire which we picked up long ago on a trip to Creation Station.
* Wrap the gift in another usable item - a cloth dishtowel, keepsake box, reusable grocery bag, cotton napkin, or silk scarf. Make the wrapping part of the gift itself.
* Reuse part of the newspaper, magazines, or catalogs. Be creative in which section you pick - Sports, Comics, ...

Don't forget to get the kids in on the action. Ask for their creative ideas for boxes, wrapping, or adornment (pinecones, acorns, etc.) and you may be amazed at what they come up with.

When the unwrapping part comes along, see if there is anything you can salvage for the next holiday. The gift bags are my favorite because they still look good when you reuse them and can be stored flat.

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