Creative Gift Wrap: Ideas for Greener Giving
Choosing creative gift wrap is about more than a great look. With wrapping paper alternatives you'll make an environmental statement, too.
Wrapping paper doesn't usually come from old-growth trees or hardwoods; it's usually from a wood-pulp from softwood tree farms. Although this is a better solution than hardwoods, there is still a lot of processing that needs to be done: farming, cutting and transporting the wood; large amounts of water and energy to make the paper; unsafe bleach and synthetic dyes (although some may be natural, even those require large amounts of resources in producing); packaging and shipping.
Even purchasing recycled wrapping paper is far from "green" since it merely means that it undergoes almost the entire process (often including the addition of new wood pulp) again and again.
A disposable industry is not a sustainable industry.
But just a few wrapping paper alternatives is all you need to make a big impact and inspire others to do the same. Below you'll find some gift wrap ideas to get you started.
Creative Gift Wrap Alternatives
The first thing to keep in mind is the ultimate goal: to create a great gift giving experience while eliminating waste. Although some of these wrapping paper alternatives may still require paper products, they may be used multiple times and some of them for years to come.
Fabric Gift Wrap
One beautiful and sustainable alternative to traditional wrapping paper is fabric gift wrap. This unique gift wrap idea is reusable for many years and can be very affordable. And it adds to the room's aesthetics when the tree is piled high with your attractively wrapped gifts.
I've covered this topic extensively here: Fabric Gift Wrap: Your Unique Wrapping Alternative
Newspaper Gift Wrap
Give your gift a vintage appeal with foreign or local newspaper pages from your neighbor, or even nearby library.
The obvious choice is to use the comics, but consider trying to meet the appeal of the person receiving the gift. Use the sports section to wrap up your son's new football, the travel section for your globetrotting uncle, classifieds for your housewarming gift or the wedding or birth announcements for the your sister's shower gift.
Try to choose pages with as few ads and as many different, individual columns on the page as possible and wrap the paper so that the text is at an angle. This will break up the page, but not cause a distraction.
And avoid any depressing or cyptic headlines. Wrapping a wedding gift in the obituaries is probably not the message you want to send.
Using Gifts as Creative Gift Wrap
Buying a t-shirt for your friend? Wrap it around her favorite book from the used bookstore using the furoshiki method described here.
A few more gift wrap ideas include hiding small gifts inside socks; using belts, ties, scarves or shoelaces as ribbon and bows; mason jars or jewelry boxes as a creative gift "wrap".
Old Maps, Blueprints, Books, Posters and More
The key here is "old." If the map is no longer up-to-date, the blueprints are heading for the recycling bin or the posters are of Oingo Boingo, repurpose them into a retro and interesting gift wrap.
The same thing can be done with magazines (using articles that might interest the other person), movie or show posters from the local cinema or theatre, your child's artwork, or pages of old, worn-out or damaged books. For laughs you can even wrap your dad's tools in the paper mat from the mechanic or tape together your grocery store receipts to create a truly creative gift wrap for the family chef!
Fore more wrapping paper alternatives you might also try wallpaper scraps or samples, old calendars, decorated scrap paper, brown paper bags or any other paper product that would otherwise be thrown out.
The gift wrap ideas and ways to decor are endless (check on Pinterest for more creative inspiration). Just remember to keep things eco-friendly and have fun with it!