An Activism A Day: Use Gift Wrap That's Free & Save A Tree

"I want my living room back!"
On those occasions when you and yours are exchanging gifts, do you sometimes feel as if the wrapping paper and packaging are taking over your living room? 

Imagine living rooms throughout the United States overrun with paper, cardboard boxes, bows, etc. 

Now imagine how many trees could be saved, and how much in raw materials and raw energy could be saved if all the people in all those living rooms trading gifts skipped the wrapping paper. 

Imagine how much money you can save!

You can wrap gifts without using wrapping paper and bows. It's greener, cheaper, and a lot more fun than going to the big box store with the big crowds and the big lines.

Scavenge your home. Here's what you're looking for:

"The first step is recognizing that you have a problem."
  • Stuff that will hold other stuff                                                
  • Stuff that you have too much of                                
  • Stuff that you want to get rid of
  • Stuff that you are done using
  • Stuff that you never use

Here are a few examples:

  • Bandanas                                                             
  • Baskets                                                                                               
  • Book covers
  • Calendars
  • Canisters
  • Christmas stockings
  • Contac paper
  • Cookie jars
  • Dishes (plates, bowls, cups, teapots, etc.)
  • Doilies
  • Fabric scraps
  • Flower pots/vases
  • Funnies
  • Hankies
  • Jars
  • Jewelry boxes
  • Magazine pictures
  • Maps
  • Napkins
  • Old tins
  • Paper grocery bags
  • Photographs
  • Pillow cases
  • Posters
  • Pretty bottles
  • Purses
  • Scarves
  • Stationery
  • Those little cardboard cartons that you get at the farmers' market when you buy a pint of blueberries or strawberries
  • Towels
  • Wallpaper
  • Wine bottle holders
  • Wrapping paper (that you re-use)

Now, what to do instead of bows (which are going to get crushed before the recipient opens the gift anyway) ...

Scavenge your home. Here's what you're looking for:
  • Stuff that's small and flat enough to be affixed to the gifts you just "wrapped"
  • Stuff that's attractive or funny 
  • Stuff that's meaningful to the recipient (Let's say you have gifts for your friend who's a professional dog walker. Instead of bows, you could tape dog bones to her/his gifts.) 
  • Stuff that's extra or no longer useful to you or never going to be useful to you, etc.

    Here are some examples:
    • Balloons
    • Boas (the accessories, not the snakes)
    • Candy
    • Christmas tree ornaments
    • Dried flowers
    • Fake flowers
    • Real flowers
    • Feathers
    • Garland
    • Kitchen items (cocktail umbrellas, tea strainers, napkin rings, …)
    • Lace
    • Old jewelry, broken jewelry parts (the pretty parts)
    • Pine cones
    • Small toys
    • Stickers
    • Tassels
    What have you used to replace wrapping paper, ribbon, and bows?