Boxes: Instead of asking for boxes at the retailers, can you wrap your gifts without the boxes? If you must use a box, can it be a box that can be used again - like a storage box that the recipient needs anyway?
- Replacing the need for boxes AND wrapping paper, a friend of mine buys Space Bags and "shrink wraps" gifts like blankets, clothes, etc., and then wraps a big bow around it! She says when everything's smooshed you can't really tell what it is anyway! And the bags are treasured parts of the gift and are her extended family... sometimes to pack hand-me-down clothes to give back to her! (Win-win-win again!)
- Check out the many ideas here: http://chickiedee.com/blog/2009/12/its-a-wrap/
Wrapping Paper: Is it really necessary? What about hiding gifts and creating a treasure map that goes into the stocking, allowing older kids to follow clues to find their gifts? They might not need to be wrapped at all!
Packaging Materials: Do you really need styrofoam peanuts? Why not reuse something already on hand? Think old grocery bags and newspaper or shredded paper from the office.
Forgoe the need for boxes by using ordinary "trash" as containers - like placing gifts in toilet paper or paper towel rolls, or into a plastic 2 liter bottle, egg cartons... just about anything - check out the ideas in this blog, which include instructions on how to use old greeting cards to make gift boxes: http://familycrafts.about.com/od/giftwrap/a/CreativeGiftWrapIdeas.htm
If you really need a box in which to wrap something, can you use a box you have around the house, or one destined for the trash? Richard Mielke (A REALTOR in Gettysburg, PA) has a stash of gift boxes that his family keeps and reuses year to year. Fellow Twit CSSharp7 says her family has pre-wrapped boxes they reuse each year! In our family, one of our best "gags" is wrapping a "new" stereo in the box of an old stereo (or a variation of this gag) - the kids buy into the gag every time and it is hysterical.
Use gift bags whenever possible instead of boxes, as they are more likely to be reused in the future, and specifically tell the recipient that is why you chose to use a bag - so you'd create less trash and they'd have something reuseable.
When shopping, don't forget to bring along your own bags - the ones you use at the grocery store or extra plastic or paper ones you have at the house are great.
Likely, you will still end up with new extra bags after your shopping endeavors. Reuse these as packaging materials, perhaps to make your own gift bags (SEE LINK), and to carry packages when you're delivering them. Then, when they are torn and good for nothing, move on to Recycling.
Remove the fronts of Christmas Cards and attach a new back - presto magic - an inexpensive and "green" holiday card.
Too much work for you? Send your cards to St. Judes and they'll gladly do it. They are accepting cards (for ANY occaision) through February. For more details, go to their site: http://stjudesranch.org/help_card.php Special thanks to Lisa Rodgers (via her blog, "cactusandivy.blogspot.com") for this great idea!
- Re-gifting and shopping at thrift/second hand stores is all the rage this year! It's thrifty AND green - two things our society needs more of right now!
- Check out these ideas: (Recycled Holidays) http://www.thelovealliance.net/action/
If you usually get a live tree, does it make sense for you to purchase one that can be replanted? No space in your yard? I bet a local school, park or other landowner would be more than willing to allow you to plant it on their property.