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Monday, October 22, 2012

Challenge: How to Wrap Creatively, Funly, & Greenly

In case you were wondering, funly is not an actual word, though surprisingly, greenly is.  And yes, I have seen a dictionary before, and even used one!  But this post is all about creativity, so why can't I be creative with my hands and my words?  Bootylicious is in fact a word in the dictionary now.... I'm just saying that there are lesser non-words out there that have become words....

Okay, here was the challenge: Think outside the box for gift wrapping.  I don't know about you, but my heart dies a little inside each time I purchase tissue paper.  Is it pretty?  Yes.  Does it make gifts look fancy, and fluffy, and oh so nice?  Double yes.  But it costs trees, it costs ink, and it costs money, all of which get crumpled up into a little ball and tossed into the garbage.  Instead, I like to reuse/repurpose as much as possible.  Secretly, if I receive a gift and the tissue paper is a bit crinkled, I am over-joyed because it's been used more than once.

I thought I would share a few ideas I've come across for wrapping as the holiday season quickly approaches.  Feel free to add to the list if you know of other ways to be a bit more Earth-conscious, Pocketbook-conscious, and well, just generally aware and conscious - though who knows: we may all become so wrapped up in all this wrapping we could pass out from the excitement!


Using pieces of fabric is a great way to reuse what you have.  These handmade handkerchiefs were a gift from a recent wedding, and are a beautiful example of exceptional fabric that can encase a cute little gift.

Don't have handmade hankies laying around?  Use fabric pieces, decorative towels, bandanas, or other pieces of cloth.  If you have the time and equipment, you could hem the edges of nice holiday fabric, and then save them each year to wrap.  Make it just once, but use every year.


I don't know about all of you out there, but at this point in my life weddings, babies, and joyous occasions are everywhere.  As a newish mom, I try to be practical in gift giving, thinking of what would be useful for the intended recipient.  Basically, I like to put gifts in a useful container that can be used again.

Baby Gift - Storage Bin & "Vintage" Tissue Paper

Got a baby shower to attend?  Put the gifts in a canvas tote or bin.  Toys seem to seep out of the carpet at our house, so it's nice to have a basket or container to toss them in for when company comes over.  Instead of wrapping in paper, which will be thrown away, spend your dollars on a simple container that will be helpful and used again and again.

As another example, I had received a fruit basket from my employer (before I became a S@H Momma) last Christmas.  The fruit was delicious, and the basket was even more delicious!

Baby Storage. Quincy - 24 Days Old
Photo Courtesy of Kate Brown Photography
Yarn Storage
Baby Fashion Show. Quincy - 8 Months

As you can see, I've put it to good use for photos, storage, etc.  Could you do the same with crumpled up wrapping paper?  Not as likely.


Remember this Bandana Apron I made?  Well, I now can give it as a gift AND wrap another gift!  Are you giving a shirt, sweater, or some other large item that could be big enough to use as wrapping material?  Use a simple ribbon to tie it all up, and leave out the paper.  Get creative.  Imagine if you show up to a family gathering with all your gifts, and leave without having any trash to pick-up.  Just gifts and a great time!

Books + Apron = ...

Nothin' But Gifts, Baby

For college students or someone who just moved, pick-up some pretty pillowcases, new towels, or a cozy bath mat.  Simply tie with a ribbon or string, and you have a lovely gift in a gift.


Love the sound of riiiiiiiiiiiiiipping open a gift?  Newspaper still has that glorious sound when you tear through it.  It's free and recyclable - just be sure to take off the tape pieces before putting the paper in the recycle bin.


As I mentioned above, I like to reuse tissue paper, at least if it's still in good condition.  I don't want to sound cheap or that I don't put worth into a gift, but it's more an issue of waste.  Trees are a renewable resource, but we can still be responsible with our usage, whether it's a gift bag, tissue paper, or another wrapping accessory.

I have a box of wrapping gear that I go to first if I need to wrap something.  There are instances that I don't have the appropriate wrapping items from my stash of reusables, and I've bought new pieces.  Ideally, I would be able to figure out another way, but I'll admit I get lazy at times.  But hey, I'm a work in progress.


There are tons of things out there that can be repurposed into decorative wrapping.  For a recent wedding gift, I decorated this simple basket I purchased at a second hand shop.  Using hemp string, some buttons, and some flowers I crocheted, I spruced it up to match the elegance of a white veil occasion.

Plain Basket (Boooooor-rrriiiing)
Beautiful! (Note: I used recyclable wrapping paper)

For those of you that shop online a lot, Amazon often fills their boxes with brown paper; I myself have gotten reams of it with large items.

Brown Amazon Paper
Same Repurposed Basket above
but with Brown Amazon Paper instead

Save it!  Repurpose it!  It's beautiful brown paper, and gives a cozy rustic look to your gifts.


As the season of giving and getting gifts approaches, I am going to challenge YOU to be thoughtful both in your giving AND in your wrapping.  Sadly, not all wrapping paper is recyclable.  If you're going to buy new wrapping paper - make sure it is recyclable.

Look for the Three Magic Arrows

If receiving gifts in gift bags or tissue paper, save the good stuff!  Be an advocate for our planet - we only get one!  (Though I hear summers on the moon are quite invigorating...)  I for one will be bringing a big yellow bag to our family Christmas gathering(s), and recycling whatever I can.

Gotta Love Our Hometown - Stuff in All Things Recyclable & They Collect!

The website Earth911.com details some interesting history of how wrapping paper first came about, along with the facts about recycling wrapping paper, such as, "if every American family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields".  Isn't that incredible?  Just think of what could change if we weren't so quick to wrap everything in brand new paper?  Be wise about your wrapping, be smart about what is trash and what can be saved or recycled.  This is a joyous time of year, but don't forget to care for the beautiful nature around us - Mother Earth could use some joy in her life, too!

Greenly Yours,


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