Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas
Gift giving is a custom shared around the world, marking special occasions and life events between loved ones. Who doesn't love to give a gift, and make someone feel loved and appreciated? And to be the receiver on the other end is even better!!
Maybe this is because being the giver is like being Spiderman. With great power comes great responsibility. There is the gift itself, which can be either a source of great joy for the giver ("This is a perfect gift for her!" "He will absolutely love this!") or a cause for anxiety ("what do I get her?" "Have I spent enough money?" "What if he doesn't like it?!") And perhaps the saying "It's the thought that counts" is commonplace for this very reason. It relieves the giver from error. So what if the gift isn't what they wanted? So what if they don't like it? The intention behind a gift is always there: to show someone you love them.
So, what then is the great power and responsibility that comes with gift giving? If we (and our recipient) can forgive ourselves for not giving the "perfect" gift, what CAN we get right every single time? The answer is: the way it's wrapped.
Yup. That's right. The way a gift is wrapped comes with great responsibility. Hear me out on this!
I'm not talking about "perfect" wrapping, just as we don't expect to get the gift perfect every time. But the way a gift is wrapped can convey how much you care. Care about the person you're giving to, yes. But also how much you care about something else very important: our Environment.
The way a gift is wrapped plays a central role in the North American custom of gift giving. I personally have seen the most beautifully wrapped gifts, which no doubt took time, patience and more than a few bucks. They look so beautiful, you almost don't want to open the gift! But then what happens? Well, the gift IS eventually opened, and all that gorgeous wrapping paper? Tossed in the trash.
To be fair, not every type of wrapping paper has to be tossed in the trash. Some wrapping paper (ie: uncoated paper or kraft paper) can be recycled. But most commercially sold wrapping paper is beautiful for a reason. It is glossy (plastic coated), shiny (foil coated), glittery (another type of plastic or foil) and therefore NOT recyclable. This type of wrapping paper, along with the ribbons and bows that often accompany (most of them synthetic/plastic) must be thrown away after use. Even if you're very very careful when opening the gift (ie: You're a full grown adult and not between the ages of 1-22) and take great caution not to rip the paper, there are only so many times gift wrap like this can be reused before its crinkled and torn.
Have I ruined gift giving forever for you?! I'm sorry! This was not my intention. In fact, there are other ways to wrap gifts that can be just as beautiful and creative and are good for the environment!
Here are some great ways to wrap your gifts using reusable and recyclable items!
Do you have an ever growing pile of your kid's drawings, colourings and paintings from school? I always have the worst mom guilt when I throw these away! I try to recycle what I can, but some artwork consists of glitter, stickers, buttons, beads or whatever else they've glued to it that makes the piece non recyclable. Instead, you can turn them into gift wrap and cards! I like to tape several pieces together (you can use paper tape or washi tape to make your wrapping 100% recyclable!) to wrap large gifts. To make cards, glue your child's artwork against a thicker piece of cardstock or construction paper, fold over, and there you have it! a homemade card by a true artist ;)
Kraft paper, butchers paper, shipping paper
If you've ever ordered anything online, then you may have come across the kraft paper used to fill space in your shipping package. This filler paper is awesome to use as gift wrap! It's uncoloured, non coated and totally recyclable! Best of all, you can customize this blank canvas. Paint it, stamp it, stencil it, or use pieces of ribbon and bows you already have on hand to add some colour and pop!
This Japanese art of gift wrapping is beautiful and simple. If you have pieces of fabric left over from quilting/sewing, vintage linens, nice tea towels or silk scarves, this method would be easy to implement at gift time! Before you rush out to buy NEW fabric though, think about whether you plan to use this fabric year over year. Textile waste accounts for 10% of all solid waste dumped in the USA every year, when a lot of it could have been reused or repurposed. So look around the house first! See what you find.
You can find simple instructions for Furoshiki here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5wC4ITYvBY
Nemylu Reusable Gift Boxes
Ok, here comes the sales pitch! Haha. Not really, but kind of.
If the top 3 options don't float your boat, or you'd rather have something more convenient that you can reuse year over year, you can try our Nemylu gift boxes!
Unlike traditional gift boxes made of cardboard and often covered in a poly coating (plastic = non recyclable), Nemylu gift boxes are coated in durable 100% cotton canvas and are meant to last! They fold flat for storage, and take up little space in your closet. The satin ribbon is attached, meaning you can't lose it and it won't end up as waste in the landfill. And best of all, Nemylu gift boxes are a sustainable alternative to traditional gift wrapping paper and accessories.
They come in a variety of neutral colours, and their style won't "expire". Customize the ribbons with fresh greenery, beads, tassels, gift tags or anything else creative you think of.
You can bring them out for any occasion: Christmas, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Valentines Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Weddings, Baby Showers...any occasion where a gift is expected! And your receiver will have something "extra" to keep with their gift. A gift inside another gift! Sweet.