Tips For Eco Friendly Christmas Wrapping
Whether you are a last minute dash to the shops, throw the paper on, cellotape in teeth kind of a person; or wrapped by 1st December, precise folds, silk bows kind of a person, chances are you do wrap your Christmas gifts in one fashion or another.
There is, of course, a colossal amount of waste produced either way, so whatever your wrapping style, try following these tips for a more eco friendly Christmas 2020.
Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String
Brown kraft paper is one of the most cost effective and simple ways to wrap gifts, and large rolls are widely available to buy online. An additional benefit to having a bigger roll is that it will cover even the largest gifts. Look out for variations, you generally get the quality that you pay for. If you're on a budget go imitation kraft or spend more for ribbed brown kraft paper which gives a luxurious finish.
To keep things minimal, write your gift message straight onto the brown paper to avoid the need for tags. Add a flourish with a red pen, and your neatest calligraphy penmanship!
Invest in a spool of string or paper raffia ribbon, widely available online. At The Wise House I currently use three different types of string for the eco gift sets and Christmas gift wrap; red and white cotton string, plum hemp cord and green wool.
Tie up each gift in the traditional parcel way, or check out Pinterest for all sorts of stylish variations.
Forage for festive foliage for the final flourish on adult gifts. Plants like holly, dried flowers and rosehips all look lovely. A reader of this blog also suggested dried orange and cinnamon sticks, adding a gorgeous smell too!
Invest in a Christmas themed stamp so that you can customise your brown paper. Try The English Stamp Company for a wide choice for both paper and tags, including the option to personalise.
All That Glitters Ain’t Gold - Wrapping Paper Dos And Don’ts
If you still prefer the more traditional wrap with a festive print, try to avoid anything that is shiny or glittery as these papers won’t be recyclable. My dad was a printer by trade, and he told me that gold and silver are the most toxic inks to print with, so try to swerve those colours.
Thankfully companies are waking up to this, and I have noticed that John Lewis/Waitrose and Paperchase have moved away from non recyclable wrap.
Do look for paper that is recycled as well as recyclable, which is often that with a brown kraft paper background. I am using some beautiful recycled Christmas paper at The Wise House this year, so that customers can choose to have their order sent wrapped and ready to go (see image below). For in-store/ high street try Paperchase and Barnados Charity Shop.
Work Some Christmas Magic With A Twist Of Fabric
Wrapping with fabric might sound like a newfangled idea, but in fact Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese wrapping technique that has been used across Asia for hundreds of years. Check out Pinterest or read this guide by Fabric Wrapping Co for different ways to tie your fabric.
Use scraps from home, or buy a suitable ream of fabric from your local haberdashery. The beauty is that you can cut a variety of sizes to suit different gift shapes. More importantly, you can reuse for many years, and save a great deal of waste and pennies in the process!
Custom made fabric wrap is now becoming more widely available, printed in a range of gorgeous patterns and colours. I noticed that even John Lewis are selling fabric gift bags. Try Tabitha Eve for a Christmas family bundle, one of which we bought last year to use for our close family gifts. They also sell fabric gift bags in gorgeous Christmas prints.
The Fabric Wrapping Co sell the most beautiful fabric wrap, complete with pom poms and silk fabric. Totally luxurious.
You can also add your own embellishments to a fairly plain fabric wrap from the contents of your sewing box - tassels, ribbon, buttons etc.
On The First Day Of Christmas, My True Love Said To Me - Reuse To Save Chopping Down Trees
We’ve talked a bit about reuse, which is of course the most eco friendly way to go. Take it to full eco geekdom status with the following ideas:
Use old magazines, newspaper and tissue to wrap gifts. For smaller presents I cut up large paper envelopes that I have received, as it works in the same way as brown paper wrapping. I send many of my orders in grass paper envelopes which would make lovely gift wrap. Check out this Pinterest board by Pebble Magazine for more inspiration (image below by Pebble Magazine).
Add Bells & Whistles
I save every scrap of ribbon, string and other nic nacs that I receive throughout the year and keep it all in a large tin. This is a great way to prevent non biodegradable embellishments like bows and ribbon from landfill. Dip into your tin every time you wrap a gift (and snatch it back again if you think the recipient is more likely to throw it away!). I’ve even kept the ribbon from the children’s medals!
Bye Bye Cello, Brown Tape ‘Hello’
Cellotape is horrible stuff quite frankly. Switch to brown paper tape now with nary a glance back! Cellotape sized brown paper tape rolls are now widely available. Try Eco Craft Self Adhesive Paper Tape.
Bells & Whistles
Upgrade to paper tape printed with Christmas designs, which looks particularly snazzy on plain brown paper wrap.
Make Free Tags Your Bag
Tags can be an expensive way to let a person know who the present is for and from. You either ditch this step all together, particularly if you are handing over your gift in person, or try making your own.
A free way to make tags, and a tradition going back through the Rowe family, is to cut up the previous years Christmas cards. It takes a bit of time but children usually quite like to get involved, so it can become a family activity.
If you prefer your tags custom made for Christmas, look for manilla and/or recycled paper tags, following the same rules as with the wrapping paper. You could even paint or draw your own designs onto plain tags, for the personal touch.
With many of us having a bit more time on our hands, perhaps we can all get more creative this year! Leave a comment below with suggestions on wrapping ideas, or your thoughts on which tips you might use from the blog. You will be entered into a Prize Draw with a chance to win a Christmas gift wrapped Orange & Bergamont Soap On A Rope. For more eco gift ideas, shop The Wise House.