Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas is a wonderful time to show our love and appreciation to family and friends through heartfelt gifts. We see the decorative, costly, torn and crumpled wrappings piling up in a corner and think, good thing we recycle! Well, here are some jarring statistics to make us think twice about the way we wrap presents.

38,000 miles of ribbon are thrown out annually. That's enough to tie an artificial bow around the Earth!

25% more trash is thrown away during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays than any other time of the year. Landfills are stuffed with shredded wrapping paper, empty gift bags, and broken toys.

The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high.

All it takes is a little extra thought and planning to green our holiday wrapping this season. Using items we already own - like those beautiful Christmas cards we received the year before - turns a gift into something extra special and reduces holiday waste and expense.
Gathering together with family and friends and pooling wrapping resources is a great way to share the holiday spirit and have fun at the same time. Giving kids the raw material to wrap their own gifts makes them feel special and is a gift all its own. If you're thinking: I'd love to do it, but I'm just not that creative! Keep reading for ideas to get you started.

Eco-Friendly Holiday Wrapping

You know the shows that make us laugh when a person opens their over-stuffed closet and the contents tumble out all over the floor? Waste in the form of too many belongings isn't funny when we're talking about eco-living, but the idea of storing items that can be recycled or reinvented into a gift or pretty, festive wrappings is a good one. In fact, once you get started, it could be addicting - just perfect if you're a pack-rat!

Found Art: Save beautiful artwork and illustrations from magazines you especially love, your kids' art, and the Christmas cards and gift wrap you received last year, and use them to make cards, gift cards, or wrap small presents.

Home Made:
Use brown paper bags to wrap gifts, or the backs of posters or paper, and stamp, colour, draw, use your kids' or pets' footprints dipped in eco-friendly paint, or a photograph of your kids for grandma and grandpa.

Reuse: Reuse worn clothing with pretty or festive designs, or cut out designs and glue onto blank sheets of paper, brown paper lunch bags and boxes.

Get Crafty: Crochet or knit ribbon and bows out of leftover yarn. Crocheted and knitted flowers are gorgeous and fun to make! Raffia, string, lace, pompoms, little knickknacks and treasures are all possibilities for decorating a package.

Reinvent: Canning jars (baskets, flower pots, bowls) make handy containers for all kinds of presents. Add raffia or handmade ribbon, and you have a beautifully presented, reusable gift.

Themes: Theme presents are always nice. Wrap up a loaf of spice bread in a pretty dishtowel, or embroider, paint, draw on a flour sack dishtowel and wrap up in that. Tie the ends around a wooden spoon or cinnamon sticks.

Trinkets: Buttons, string, dried flowers, leaves and berries, herbs, spices, postage stamps, beads, old keys, broken typewriter keys (the newest thing in jewelry! Could you imagine them spelling out a name on a present?), broken trinkets from barrettes and jewelry... The possibilities are endless!

Taken from the latest edition of Mi-Time published by Organic & Natural Enterprise Group

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