Green Gift Giving Guide
This is a quick guide to giving and wrapping meaningful gifts (all year round) while staying true to your low-waste and low-impact lifestyle. Check out our green gift ideas and scroll down to hone your green wrapping skills! Personally, my go-to is gifting garden seed packs and I love receiving them because my loved one's choose flowers or veggies I might not have thought to use in my garden but end up loving!
Use newspaper to wrap your presents. For years, we stole a couple of Sunday Globes from my parents mid-December and wrapped everything in that. To dress them up a bit, we would tie elaborate bows with pretty leftover yarn.
USE NAPKINS OR DISH TOWELS
Use pretty napkins or dish towels to wrap your presents. This works well when you are wrapping presents for neighbors, co-workers, and others who will probably unwrap the gift separately from you. And, you are basically giving them two gifts, which is nice.
LEFT-OVER BROWN PAPER BAGS
Use the left-over brown paper wrapping from online purchases or paper bags from the store. Brown paper gives gifts a classic look, which is enhanced with white yarn. Jolly old Saint Nicolas uses brown paper wrapping for our children.
USE SALVAGED WRAPPING PAPER
Use salvaged wrapping paper from past holidays and birthdays. This is our current strategy for gifts outside our nuclear family. We save all the gift wrap from gifts we receive, store it, and reuse it. At first we were ridiculed a bit when caught flattening out used paper, but now everyone is onboard and others are catching on (which means our supply may run out at some point).
USE SALVAGED GIFT BAGS
This is my favorite approach because gift bags are infinitely reusable. In our nuclear family, we hide presents in gift bags the morning of, “unwrap” the gifts, and then tuck the bags right back into our gift storage box. Super easy and everyone still gets the joy of “unwrapping” the gifts. Since we often have extra gift bags from years of saving them, I do reuse these outside our family too. Actually, the gift at the top is wrapped in a torn gift bag. I just cut off the bottom of the bag and it was easy to use just like wrapping paper.
GIVE UNWRAPPED GIFTS
Giving unwrapped gifts can also draw attention to your low waste choices, which can spark great conversations. I haven’t quite made it there yet (unless I am giving potted plants), but maybe someday this will be socially acceptable.
USE CHILDREN'S ARTWORK
Do you have a ton of children’s artwork lying around? You could recycle it as gift wrap. We found that large paintings from kindergarten were particularly useful for this (don’t worry, we saved plenty of art to scrapbook!).
Choose previously-loved plates and bowls for giving baked goods. Go to the second hand store and find beautiful or holiday-themed (or both, if you can!) plates to give with cookies this year. Not only is this much classier than paper plates or tins, but the plates can be used again and again (or returned to Goodwill to repeat the cycle).
USE FABRIC GIFT BAGS
I received several of these cool new bags last year. You just slide the gift into the fabric bag, pull the drawstring, and you’re done. The bag can be reused again and again. If I had time, I would sew a whole bunch of these using scrap fabric.