I think it is time to stop using wrapping paper. What are the alternatives?

(77 Posts)
Meglet Fri 18-Dec-09 21:49:12

I'm going to be good and stop using wrapping paper once my current bits are used up, the sight of all of the waste in the bin after xmas (and birthdays) makes me angry sad.

Does anyone have any inspirational alternatives?

I'm off to google compostable paper to see it it exists........

deepdarkwood Fri 18-Dec-09 21:51:42

normal brown paper (tied with nice ribbon, or string & luggages tags)
newspaper/old magazines

i always keep gift bags and re-use them

save boxes that you get deliveries in, and decorate them yourself?

Another vote for newspaper - it honestly looks great, especially if you add a bright ribbon.

Although my DSD thought I was mad last year when I asked for my presents to be wrapped like this...

Meglet Fri 18-Dec-09 21:56:20

I do re-use gift bags. They are swiped from under the dc's noses before they can destroy them smile.

Brown paper and nice ribbons might be the way forward.

MrsBadger Fri 18-Dec-09 21:56:27

newspaper? recycled brown paper?

our green box men take wrppaing paper if it is folded neatly...

hanaflower Fri 18-Dec-09 21:57:22

As described on my friend's excellent blog

iheartdusty Fri 18-Dec-09 21:59:38

following a thread on here couple of years ago I bought fabric gift bags, we collect them up and re-use them every year. Some bright red, and some patterned.

I admit to wanting a change, though, but feel bound to use them now after the outlay. Also I couldn't afford to get all organic cotton, so not sure how the total environmental impact works out. It would have been better to reuse fabric scraps and make the bags.

BikeRunSnowflake Fri 18-Dec-09 22:01:38

tea towels, held together with ribbon or string,

LittlewhiskersCat Fri 18-Dec-09 22:04:56

Here's an brainwave -
Save and reuse wrapping paper instead of binning it if it makes you so angry sad!!! Even small sections of wrapping paper can be saved for smaller gifts.

My grandma used to always "save the paper" that way before recycling was in any way cool. Extremely tight forward thinking she was, bless her smile

Meglet Fri 18-Dec-09 22:05:13

Thank you all! I could get hold of some pretty scarves in charity shops I expect. And the dc's can potato print brown paper for next year, if we start in January we might have made enough by next Xmas grin.

SantaClausImWorthIt Fri 18-Dec-09 22:06:54

Oxfam sell wrapping paper that is made from recycled paper and is recyclable.

(I bought mine online, don't know if they sell it in their shops)

dinoroar Fri 18-Dec-09 22:07:00

largish presents presented in pillowcase (to kids obv, not people outside own family!), then just wash pillowcase if necessary?

in bag for life, and bag for life is part of gift?

LittlewhiskersCat Fri 18-Dec-09 22:14:03

Not really seeing why buying new brown paper any better than buying new wrapping paper (barring any biodegradable element/less colour chemicals than some printed wrapping papers). Brown paper still uses raw materials, electricity, transportation miles, chemical processes, packaging etc in its production.

The best idea is to use LESS PAPER which generally means using whichever paper twice or three times be it brown or fancy paper. Then finally composting it (if possible).

LittlewhiskersCat Fri 18-Dec-09 22:20:27

So people receive scarves/pillowcases/teatowels they probably DON'T WANT and DON'T NEED and are cheaply manufactured in god knows where by god knows who just so we can feel good about not buying wrapping paper?!? hmm

Sorry, not having a go at anyone in particular but just dismayed at the irony.

Newspaper at least has had two lives if used for wrapping after reading, and after wrapping it can be used for something else (lining cat tray/collecting potato peelings/cleaning windows or whatever). The fabric reusable gift bags are also great (especially if handmade instead of mass produced abroad).

LittlewhiskersCat Fri 18-Dec-09 22:23:21

Sorry, a bit ranty blush

I think I need a nice cuppa tea.

Meglet Fri 18-Dec-09 22:23:35

How about newspaper tied with garden twine, a long enough length to use in the garden in the spring?

I don't want to use sellotape as I understand that mucks up the re-cycling process.

SantaIsMyLoveSlave Fri 18-Dec-09 22:26:37

I don't think the idea is to actually give someone the pillowcase.

(a) I take pillowcase out of my pile of pillowcases-to-be-put-on-pillows-when-I-wash-existing-pillowcases
(b) I put gift for X in pillowcase and tie a ribbon round it
(c) X unwraps gift and excalims in delight at how utterly perfect it is
(d) I put pillowcase back in my pile of pillowcases-to-be-put-on-pillows-when-I-wash-existing-pillowcases

and similarly with teatowels (except they don't start off in the pillowcase pile).

UniS Fri 18-Dec-09 22:51:56

I'm using gift bags saved from previous years for immediate family as I'll be able to reuse again next year. using saved used paper again for close family ( my side) who see that as normal.
I thought saving the paper was normal till I married and found DHs family just screw it up and bin, not even re-cyc.

SantaIsMyLoveSlave Fri 18-Dec-09 23:02:34

Apparently most modern wrapping paper can't be recycled (although can be re-used if my DCs haven't been the ones unwrapping the presents, obviously)

cornysxmasmuffmusic Fri 18-Dec-09 23:03:48

old tights

Stop buying so many fecking presents. That'll cut down on your paper usage!

We are doing one present per person this year. I have bought one roll of paper (and it's not shiny)

LittlewhiskersCat Fri 18-Dec-09 23:20:03

grin Old tights!

I've got some old maternity bras. They should do a couple of presents from one cup grin

Cananymotherhelpme Fri 18-Dec-09 23:22:02

I used newspaper one year. It looked fine. You could jazz it up with some random splodges of silver or gold paint.

confuddledDOTcom Fri 18-Dec-09 23:38:43

How about the pictures that the children do throughout the year, save them up and use for wrapping paper.

SantaClausImWorthIt Fri 18-Dec-09 23:45:57

Most wrapping paper isn't recyclable. Something I didn't know about.

I'm not going to stop buying presents for people. Sorry! But I am buying recycled/recyclable paper.

mumbee Fri 18-Dec-09 23:48:11

We recycle bags and wrapping paper have done since I was a small child so buy good quality paper that willlast for a few years. DH thought I was strange but now loves the idea especially the red paper that is for his present usually the special gift from me to him no kids involved!

alypaly Fri 18-Dec-09 23:52:37

i use all my old cards for labels. I just cut rounfd them with fancy scissors and then put a hole in them with a hole punch and thread a piece of gold cotton thro them.
I use brown paper and course string. I attach cinnamon sticks, fir tree fronds, bay leaves and pretty twigs.

harecare Fri 18-Dec-09 23:54:12

We used to unwrap our presents super carefully so the paper can be reused. This is MOST least wasteful thing to do, so save this years paper and in the meantime use one of the other suggestions.

UniS Sat 19-Dec-09 16:54:27

I've been re-useing the fronts of last years cards we were sent for DS to send to his preschool mates as Christmas postcards this year.

alypaly Sat 19-Dec-09 20:29:14

i make the gift labels out of them....got enough to last a life time

Fibonacci Mon 21-Dec-09 12:47:55

I find I can easily save enough paper during the year to wrap xmas presents in - just from the stuff that is used for padding out things, or tissue paper used in packaging etc. With a tag made from an old xmas card. My presents don't look as great as they used to but the kids don't care about that.
And that type of paper can all then be composted afterwards.

indigomagic Mon 21-Dec-09 12:57:33

Second the jazzed-up newspaper idea. I use old newspaper (trying to find some non-depressing stories on!) then get creative with the felt tips. I think it looks alright...

BikeRunSnowflake Mon 21-Dec-09 13:25:44

Little whiskers - I use tea towels for presents to DS/DH and then put them back in the drawer. No unwanted presents, no unnecessary manufacturing/trasnportation etc.

I ave also used old newspaper and magazines. DS doesn't give a toss what is one the paper, or even in it, he just likes ripping.

Runoutofideas Mon 21-Dec-09 14:29:10

My cousin went to the trouble last year of wrapping presents in either newspaper or magazines with an article/cartoon/advert of something appropriate to the recipient on the top. It was very thoughtful and interesting, but I'm not sure there are enough hours between now and Christmas for me to manage it!

abdnhikinginawinterwonderland Mon 21-Dec-09 15:01:44

We moved a year ago and saved all the white paper the movers used to wrap dishes in. All the presents are wrapped in that and the kids can even decorate them (if they care to - I've boys who are not really that crafty).

domesticextremist Mon 21-Dec-09 15:07:49

We do the newspaper thing too - but only the guardian you know wink I save some great travel section pics from the few weeks before and stick them on the front - you know tropical beaches and such like...

BlueberryPancake Mon 21-Dec-09 17:02:16

I go to my local shoe shop and ask for shoe boxes they don't need, wrap the top and bottom part seperately with some brown paper decorated with stickers and stamps from the kids, and hold the top and bottom part of the box with some ribbon. You can ask for the box back and reuse it for other presents, or mention that the box is reusable/compostable and so is the brown paper. I do this for most birthday presents from the kids and for many of our x mas presies.

For those with less time, Oxfam does do the recycled/recyclable paper in its shops. I will go and buy some tomorrow after buying the --many many-- few presents I still have to buy.

Hmm strike-out didn't work but you get the idea

theminniebauble Mon 21-Dec-09 17:46:40

We use newspaper and jazz it up by using raffia for ribbons. We then re-use it in the garden.

I also trim bits off the over-enthusiastic ivy that grows on the front of our house to wrap around the raffia. Whole effect looks lovely in a rustic sort of way.

givecarrotsachance Mon 21-Dec-09 18:37:28

I love the ivy idea - that's gorgeous.

I've used plain paper which DS has splodged on as it's recyclable unlike wrapping paper. That's looked great - and obviously the plain paper was recycled. But I also save plain brown paper through the year which looks really nice.

It's lovely to see so many people thinking about these things.

Oh and regarding whether using fabric is actually better than paper as it's not organic cotton - yes it is because the amount of chemicals used in paper production is still really high, so while organic (fairtrade!) cotton would have been the very best option, re-using conventional cotton cloth bags is much better than using even recycled paper.

It's just once a year; I use pretty Christmas paper. I was raised by vegan/deadhead-following uppiez who recycle everything! Perhaps gift-wrap at Christmas is my rebellion grin

Hmm. Not sure what uppiez are, but my parents are hippies smile

randomama Mon 21-Dec-09 21:26:26

we have used chinese newspaper quite a bit. it's super cheap and compostable and it looks KEWL grin

jujubean Mon 21-Dec-09 21:41:02

I am pleased to see that some gift bags I bought 3 years ago are still doing the rounds in our family. I've been given a few gifts in them this xmas.

Sidonie Mon 21-Dec-09 22:41:14

A few years ago I discussed with my children that we ask Father Christmas not to wrap our presents and use a Santa sack instead. This would be one way we could help the environment. They were happy to agree. Their father was skeptical thinking that there would be an element of joy missing without the unwrapping. However, the children are more than happy to put their hand into the sack and pull out a gift. This hasn't solved the problem of all the excess packaging that surrounds some of the gifts though!

thell Tue 22-Dec-09 00:41:43

Ooh, thanks for these ideas everyone!
DD's dolls' house is definitely going to be wrapped in blanket now smile

Jogolino Tue 22-Dec-09 09:25:43

I'm a shameless re-user of giftwrap! blush This is due to a combination of environmental friendliness and tight-fistedness (I'm a Scot wink). I can't really see the point of buying rolls upon rolls of paper that will just get chucked.

I just make sure that I don't wrap presents in the paper used by the recipient last year! grin

Jogolino Tue 22-Dec-09 09:31:04

Just realised that didn't make sense at all! blush. I mean that I don't wrap presents in the paper used by the sender from last year....actually that still doesn't seem to make sense....oh you know what I mean! grin

gorionine Tue 22-Dec-09 09:31:44

I reuse the wraping paper that still looks nice enough and I take the rest to my toddler group and we cut bits of it for collages.

LOL @ Jogolino!

moonmother Tue 22-Dec-09 10:04:44

We use brown paper as wrapping paper.

To tie the presents - we don't use tape -we dip string in either red or gold paint with glitter sprinkled in it.

We made some salt dough stars at the weekend which have been painted red or gold which we tie from the string and use Holly Leaves as tags, which we write on with a gold pen.

Dc's did the string and stars at the weekend and had lots of fun doing it.

The brown paper can be re-used or torn up for composting.

Nefertari Tue 29-Dec-09 10:27:29

We tend to re-use gift bags in our family, to the extent that if we buy a new one, no-one writes on the actual tag! In fact I now have some small fabric bags that can be re-used.

And recently I created a hamper for my MIL for Christmas, as many hampers have chocolate, which she can't eat (causes migraines). Instead of using shredded paper to pack the items in, I used a couple of new tea towels, carefully drapped to protect the items, so less waste and more practicalities.

blithedance Thu 31-Dec-09 12:46:01

All this would be solved if recycled, recyclable (ie non shiny) gift paper was more widely available. The most eco-friendly could then wrap up with string/ribbon/raffia so it wouldn't get damaged unwrapping and can save it for re-using next year.

A lady rang into Jeremy Vine the other day though and did recommend using the most plasticated shiny gift wrap for maximum re-use potential grin.

TheMollyRogerAndTheIvy Thu 31-Dec-09 13:33:26

I reuse wrapping paper. And save tissue paper from shoes boxes when we buy those. And have used newpaper and ribbon.
But I did a lot of 'hampers' this year (saved cardboard boxes and decorated them)
Hanaflower - thanks for that link - I got sucked in there to your friend's blog

Josey1234 Sat 14-Jul-12 09:45:31

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BIWItheBold Sat 14-Jul-12 09:48:59

You wouldn't be trying to see to us, would you? hmm

BIWItheBold Sat 14-Jul-12 09:49:19

Sorry - sell

NPPF Wed 15-Aug-12 23:39:47

I stopped wrapping the kids Christmas presents a few years ago purely because I hate wrapping presents. They all go into a pillowcase at the end of each bed.

duchesse Wed 15-Aug-12 23:54:42

We reuse wrapping paper until it's barely decent not to. Even my 2 year opens presents really carefully by gently peeling the tape off. Gift bags get multiple reuses.

Other than that, you can wrap things in tea towels that become part of the gift, and tie with raffia. I've given people their presents in jute shopping bags that I also give them as part of the present. Any nice horticultural paper can be used, tissue paper, newspaper with a motif sprayed or stencilled on. I even use the bag they thing came in if I know the person really well.

ravenAK Thu 16-Aug-12 00:07:08

My mum used to hand out nail scissors to everyone on Xmas Day - we were all trained to cut neatly along the sellotape & carefully fold the paper!

Some pieces were 5 years old, postcard sized & being used to wrap individual satsumas before being finally discarded...

I still do this, only buying a roll or two of non-shiny paper each year for the biggest parcels. All gift bags are carefully saved. Even stuff like ribbons & tissue from shop packaging can be used for kids' crafts after Xmas.

& cut out gift tags from the cards with pinking shears.

I usually end up composting the trimmed off bits from paper & cards.

BoerWarKids Tue 21-Aug-12 17:01:54

I use brown paper and string (these are a few of my faaaavourite things! wink) and encourage recipient to reuse paper. I don't use tape on it.

I watched a tv prog years ago, before being eco had gone mainstream, where a v. lentil-weavery family hid all their DS's presents around the house, instead of wrapping them. It was a brilliant idea, the little boy loved it!

BoerWarKids Tue 21-Aug-12 17:03:36

The little boy had to run around the house and find them all, to be clear..

ethelb Thu 06-Sep-12 19:43:14

I've been making some furoshiki to wrap presents up with and will continue to. Japanese tradition states they should come back to me filled with presents grin

BoerWarKids Thu 06-Sep-12 20:51:34

I'd never heard of furoshiki, just Googled. They're lovely, I think I'd like some for myself!

CanonFodder Sun 04-Nov-12 23:10:51

We use brown parcel paper that you can get cheaply from loads of places. The kids potato paint it with stars in non toxic paint, and we use some plain. Everyone's pile has presents in layer, one starred one plain etc...tied up with ribbon. We reuse the plain paper to line the chicken house and then compost it and use the painted stuff as kindling for the fire. Voila.

CanonFodder Sun 04-Nov-12 23:11:51

Oh and in fact I think we even managed to get hold of some recycled brown paper this year! Having read this thread we might use some newspaper too!

stargirl1701 Sun 04-Nov-12 23:15:46

I use brown paper which can be recycled.

I use some of DD's pictures/paintings taped together. She's prolific!
And I reuse bags etc we are given.

MothershipG Sun 04-Nov-12 23:34:42

Zombie thread! grin

But I second furoshiki, really simple and easier to reuse fabric and it looks great!

There are lots of tutorials on YouTube.


skyebluesapphire Mon 05-Nov-12 00:01:13

My cousin married into a family who live a very simple non materialistic life and they are very eco friendly. They wrap everything in magazines and newspapers. For childrens presents they ask for old comics and use those.

FreelanceMama Mon 05-Nov-12 00:14:28

A friend of mine always wraps gifts in saved magazine articles either saved for the pictures or the content e.g. Recipes.

For Fathers Day, I gave my partner his gifts in babygrows - unpoppering them to get the presents was fun.

howcomes Tue 06-Nov-12 00:45:47

Pages from old AA or RAC maps make fun wrapping paper too

Innat Thu 15-Nov-12 09:03:31

I reuse the kids pictures including the ones of a large roll of paper they have on a drawing board. Also I save the brown paper that comes in a lot of deliveries as packaging. It's great because it's perforated so you can tear it to the right size. I'm going to get the kids to Decorate it for Christmas paper.
I do always think I must look like a right weirdo though when there are loads of immaculately wrapped presses at a kids party and then ours in some random reused bit of paper! One year I saved all the full page pictures that were in the centre pages of the guardian (which was delivered to work everyday) for a few weeks before Christmas and these looked really good as wrapping paper.

Innat Thu 15-Nov-12 09:07:26

Oh just noticed the date on the OP! Wouldn't be surprised if I wrote exactly the same thing on this thread two years ago!
Oh well at least it's topical smile

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