These five tips can help you curb Christmas’s trashy aftermath
It wouldn’t be Christmas without an obscene amount of gift-giving. Unfortunately this means that this joyful holiday ends up looking like a battleground of garbage with cheap wrapping paper strewn about. Each year Canadians throw out over 500 000 tonnes of wrapping paper and gift bags.
If you’re engaging in mass consumerism this holiday season, the least you can do is put some consideration into how to create a little less waste with your gift-wrapping habits. Here are a few tips and ideas on how to be a sustainable secret Santa this year.
Forgo it entirely
Sometimes the most effective solution is, fortunately, also the easiest. Although it may not be the most exciting thing to hand someone an unwrapped gift, just keep in mind the old adage: “it’s the thought that counts.”
If someone gets upset when receiving an unwrapped gift, just ask them if 10 seconds of ripping up paper is worth more to them than trying to help the environment.
Is there anything more impressive than a homemade gift? Yes, homemade wrapping paper. Grab a magazine or newspaper (maybe an ancient copy of the Martlet) that’s lying around to create a wrapping paper that will be wholly unique. Doing this will show the receiver of the gift that you put some real effort in for them. If you’re feeling extra fancy, decorate your recycled wrapping paper with some personalized art.
There’s nothing more sustainable than using what you already have available, so see if you have any gift bags around to use from previous holidays. Once you’ve given your gift, you can ask to have the bag back to use it again, or suggest that your giftee reuse it and pass it forward.
What’s better than being given a present? Being given a present that’s wrapped inside another present. Artisanal tote bags, fancy towels, cozy blankets, and clothes are all great gift choices, and they just so happen to have the added benefit of being perfect for wrapping other presents with.
Once someone is given a gift inside a gift, it will make any other regularly-wrapped present pale in comparison. Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean there can’t be any one-upmanship.
To tape or not to tape
Nothing feels quite like Christmas like sticking the last piece of tape on a present. But is it really necessary? Millions of little pieces of plastic tape shouldn’t be needed for a successful Christmas.
Channel your inner Pinterest board and bust out the twine. Gifting a present wrapped in art-adorned newspaper, tied with rustic string, and accented with some local foliage will hit aesthetic levels that most people will only dream of.
There are many guides online that teach how to wrap a present without tape, utilizing origami techniques to fold the paper in ways that will be sure to impress. Eventually your wrapping skills might start to outshine the gifts inside.
Unneeded wrapping paper is a small part of a much bigger issue surrounding the holidays: unnecessary waste. After you’ve put some consideration into how to wrap presents sustainably, take a look at some of your other habits and how they could be changed.
Ordering everything off Amazon? Try sourcing gifts from local businesses. Not sure what to get someone? Make sure you’re buying them a gift that they’ll actually keep and won’t just end up in a landfill. Wanting to flex your creative muscles? Take a break from capitalism and show someone that you truly care about them by making a gift from scratch.