This year, I'm using up my wrapping paper from previous years (I may well be doing that next year, too!), but I heard recently that there's more paper in landfills than diapers, so I feel awkward about buying more wrapping paper. Thus began my search for a good (inexpensive) alternative.
One idea is to just reuse the disposable wrapping. If you're ambitious, you can wrap with paper and avoid the use of tape,
and then just re-use the paper next year (assuming it's not ripped). I
suppose if you're a scrapbooker, you may want to even used the ripped
pieces for some Christmas pages. Obviously, though, paper can only be
reused for wrapping so many times before it inevitably rips and is no
longer useful for wrapping. Paper gift bags can be reused many more
times (as can the tissue paper that you might stuff them with) than
regular wrapping paper.
Martha Stewart had a lovely piece on wrapping with newspaper.
I love this idea, it's beautiful, but I wonder how it would look with
just regular old american newspaper. Also, since I don't get
newspapers, I'd have to find someone who did that would give me some. I
have been thinking I might use brown paper bags that we get from
grocery stores when we buy too much to fit in our reusable bags. I was
thinking I could let my kids go nuts with some Christmas stamps on them
first and that could be cute. Throw on some ribbon and that would be
pretty nice, I think, plus it's a fun Christmas project for my kids.
most sustainable idea, I think, is wrapping with cloth. I've heard of
various ways to do this, but it all seems to cost about the same as
buying paper gift bags (well, some ways are pretty expensive), but are
more reusable than that, so in the long run it's cheaper. First,
there's wrapsacks. These are
beautiful, colorful, and not much more cost than buying paper gift bags,
but if you consider you can re-use them (or hopefully get everyone you
know to use them, too, and have free ones given to you...) the cost is
not bad at all. You can buy the variety pack too, which are on sale
right now. They seem like they wouldn't be too difficult to make your,
though, so I was thinking I might try. I'm planning to buy christmas
fabric on sale after this season and use it to make next year's gift
An idea I've heard is to use a cloth grocery bag as a
gift bag. Just put the gift in and add tissue paper as you would with a
normal gift bag. Something I did for a gift was use one of those
canvas bags you can get at craft stores - the ones meant for you to
decorate them - and bought an iron-on decorative patch and ironed it on.
Voila, a long-term reusable gift bag! Alternatively, you could use
fabric paint and paint or stamp on the bag to decorate it. Yet another
fun Christmas craft for the kids!
My favorite (although, maybe the most expensive?) idea, though, is furoshiki.
It's gorgeous and actually looks like a lot of fun! I think some of
the Christmas fabric I get after Christmas may be devoted toward this
end next year. Also, some of the craft stores have scarves that may be
perfect for this, and can be acquired much more cheaply than you might
see on that website (although their cloths are gorgeous!).