For a few years now I stopped using regular wrapping paper for Christmas presents. I use recycled brown paper and decorate it with Christmassy stamps (Bobcat likes to help with this), jute string and whatever I find around the house: a candy cane, a little bit of evergreens, used ribbons or wooden Christmas tree ornaments. But it’s still paper and still ends up in the recycling bin. The amount of waste we produce on Christmas Day is absolutely shocking. Only in the UK, we throw away a whopping 108 million rolls of wrapping paper! And that’s not including all the packaging of the toys and other gifts (mainly plastic and cardboard), the delivery boxes from Amazon (at least that’s cardboard), the Christmas cards, the ribbons, etc.
I do save a few things :
1. I normally save the ribbons of everything (this year’s panettone box had a particularly pretty and lovely wide chocolate brown ribbon) and I reuse them (just iron them first) for birthday presents.
2. I also reuse the colourful tissue paper, as long as they are not ripped or too creased.
3. The small cardboard boxes like baby shoe boxes are great for storing small items such as chalks or crayons.
4. We occasionally turn bigger cardboard boxes into cars and boats by colouring and decorating them. The kids love this, Bobcat isn’t a really crafty kid, but he’s always happy to take part in this sort of crafty activities. (Well. Designing your own racing car, that’s always good fun!)
But apart from this, the rest usually ends up in the recycling bins. So I was wondering if maybe I can get some other good tips from my fellow parent bloggers and snap! Here are some other ideas from them:
5. “I always use old Christmas cards to make tags for next year. This year one of my presents from a friend who is a wrapping pro bought me a tag punch so that I can actually make them look half decent next year and don’t just have to resort to pinking shears, ha!!” – loving this idea from Nicola
6. “We kept some of the larger boxes. My girls are building a house for their dolls and are using some of the wrapping paperto decorate the insides.” – this is how Pete gives new life both to the cardboard boxes AND the wrapping paper. Genius.
7. “We use bit of old cards for tags or for kids to decorate their own handmade Xmas cards with. I also keep the gift bags for future years.” – I agree with Jenny by saving the gift bags. I see no problem with reusing them. Why not? We should.
8. “I save all the pretty bits from the crackers to use next next for wreaths and crafty bits. This year I also gave Gin Baubles on the table I’ve saved the little bottles to reuse next year. Not forgetting the tins from chocolates and biscuits for the children’s bits!” – Sarah is a pro recycler!
9. “I always reuse the ribbons, recycle the cards and some of the wrap is used in our log burner to help start fires.” Victoria says, which is another way to reuse wrapping paper.
10. “I’ve kept lots for crafting – ribbons, tags etc, any unripped paper gets kept and reused for pass the parcel wrapping, and the boxes all get saved as school are always needing donations for crafts.” Emma suggests and indeed brilliant ideas, she’s one prepared parent!
11. “I save the Christmas cards (usually the side where no one has written on) and let the kids draw/colour/scribble on them. Saves having to buy loads of notepads for a few months!” – very true, Beth!
12. I like this top too: NOT buying cards, as Candace does: “I recycle cards although it’s only ones from family as I give to charity instead of cards to friends and they do the same.”
13. “I save up all my Christmas cards, boxes, nice wrapping paper etc and give it all to my little girls’ nursery! They use it throughout the year for arts & crafts and for the kids practicing cutting etc.” – says Jess – and I wish every nursery would do the same!
14. Make your own personalised Christmas card for next year: “This year was the first time I recycled the front of a Christmas card. It was unplanned but I’ve now saved this year’s pretty ones to use next year. I was too close to the posting deadline and I never have much luck buying Christmas cards for a sibling that’s 18 years younger so I made this. Not the best quality but he’s only little.” Victoria says and what a wonderful thing to do! Here’s her card:
15. “I do save the pretty bits for crafting, but all the cardboard etc we use for a big Boxing Day bonfire. It’s become a family tradition. A bit of a nod to the New Year and new start.” Fantastic tip from Nikki (maybe you can even save it till New Years Eve?)
16. “I keep all the paper bags, boxes, and ribbons for my daughter! She is very crafty and likes to design her scrapbooks lately. Maybe next time she’ll come up with her own creative gift wrapping idea too!” – says Veronica and this really saves a lot of money going on craft supplies!
17. “I buy some neutral Christmas wrapping paper so that it can be used for other gifts throughout the year – for example we had silver star paper and some tartan paper this year that can be used for birthdays etc later on.” – that’s Ann’s tip.
What else could you add to the list? Let me know in the comments!