We wrap gifts so that the people getting those gifts won’t know what they are until they unwrap them. That’s a very obvious and simple explanation for this holiday tradition, but wisdom usually is pretty obvious and simple. Most people don’t remember all the gifts they’ve received in their lives, let alone what the packaging looked like. If the old adage, it’s the thought that counts, has any value, the paper or bag most certainly does not. In fact, many of the materials most commonly used for gift wrapping have no-where to go but the landfill once the giant pile of present décor in the center of your living room has been scooped into huge trash bags and giant emptied boxes.

Bows, ribbon and anything with glitter can’t be recycled. The glue in these items clog up recycling sorters, not to mention bows and ribbon are usually made of plastic, a petroleum product. Boxes can be recycled if they are clean and without coating. Most wrapping paper and bags also are coated and cannot be recycled.

By refusing non-recyclable wrapping you can help reduce the 2.3 million pounds that American’s yearly send to the landfill (earth911).

So, instead get creative with what you already have. Reuse holiday bags, throw away the tag and have some crafty fun making your own tags. Have any Christmas cards of yore stored away? Cut the front of the card off and make a fun To / From tag out of it. You can also use a cookie cutter to trace out a tag onto cardstock or construction paper.

Packing paper and paper bags can be personally decorated with stamps or your own creative art with markers. Get creative with newspaper or scrap fabric. Instead of non-recyclable ribbon, try some yarn or twine.

Wrap your gifts with a gift! Filling a green bag, flowerpot or a useful garden bucket with gifts can make the holidays more fun and less wasteful. You can also wrap a gift in a gift such as a towel or a blanket. Need a stocking? Repurpose an old t-shirt, pillowcase or any bit of unwanted cloth. Stockings are one of the easiest items to cut and sew, even if you don’t have a sewing machine.

Whatever creativity comes your way, make it fun and make this holiday season Meaningful!

Audrey L Elder

Meaningful Living