I was brought up with the mentality that I should reuse as much as possible when it comes to Christmas wrapping. My mum was always a stickler for reducing festive waste and was usually that family member on the big day that would collect up tissue paper and ribbons ready for next year. Honestly, there are some bows that I’m pretty sure have been a part of our family for longer than I have! However, somehow, that incredible woman always manages to make everything look brand new and fabulous. Her house turns into Santa’s wrapping station and her passion for making pressies look glorious definitely rubbed off on me.
These days, if I have colour coordinated ribbons, metallic markers by my side and the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special in the background, I’m in my bloody element.
So, whilst a lot of things were no easy task when I decided to start this ethical living journey of mine (read: no more hungover McDonalds), wrapping in a more eco-friendly way didn’t take such a huge mindset shift. And I actually think I prefer the way that my gifts look now. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely something to be said for the power of glitter and ribbon at hiding a multitude of wrapping sins. However, I’ve come to love the more natural, “I live in a hut with a log burning fire and bare wood floors” look at Christmas.
Since I’ve already given you plenty of hints and tips about buying more ethically this year, it seems only right to show you how to wrap them more ethically too.
Apparently brits throw away 108 million rolls of wrapping paper every year. 108 million!
A scary amount of that isn’t recyclable or biodegradable either thanks to the different dyes, glitters and foils that are used to make the paper look festive. If we’re being honest, the best option is to not wrap presents at all. Or to not to buy presents at all. But that ain’t going to happen.
So, your second best option is to opt for plain brown paper. Not only is it completely recyclable (yay), but if it does end up in landfill for some reason it will biodegrade (double yay). I got mine in the stationary isle of the 99p Shop!
Leftover sellotape is another huge culprit as to why a lot of Christmas wrapping paper can’t be recycled. That stuff is not the planet’s friend.
For the past two years I’ve more or less done the same wrapping at Christmas, but this is the switch that has taken my gift wrap from “pretty eco-friendly” to “totally biodegradable”: Paper tape. I got mine from The Plastic Free Shop so that it was delivered in low-waste packaging, too.
Whilst the tape seems a lot more expensive that traditional sellotape, the rolls are huge, so if you can afford to invest I would completely recommend it.
String and labels
Instead of ribbons and labels which often contain plastic, I go for natural string, paper ribbon and basic paper labels instead. All three are biodegradable, as well as just looking very at home next to my other more neutral wrapping components.
Granted, I could stop there. But, like I said, I take a ridiculous amount of joy in making my presents look pretty.
To finish them off this year I’ve added in some greenery. If I call it “nature’s decoration” will you actually vom?
I went for rosemary stems, sage leaves and even a few trimmings from our Christmas tree. Not only does it make them look that little bit more special, but it also means they match our homemade garland whilst they’re still under our tree. Win, win, ammirite?
And finally, I invested in a festive stamp set that I can use time and time again, as well as some red and green inks. I’ve stamped a teeny little festive motif on the corner of every label to tie it all together.