I'm ambivalent about wrapping paper, gift bags and other gift wrapping stuff. It's so nice and spirit-lifting to get a package beautifully and thoughtfully wrapped. The moment ends, however, as soon as you tear apart the wrapping paper or yank the tufts of tissue paper out of the gift bag. All too often, the lovely packaging ends up in the garbage. Some conscientious gift-receivers carefully unwrap their presents, being extra careful to pull the tape off without tearing the paper, and then neatly fold it for another use. But let's face it: lots of people don't.
I have a few gift wrap ideas that are cost-effective and perhaps more eco-friendly.
- The newsprint used by stores and online merchants to protect fragile items can make nice wrapping paper if you give it a little imagination. You can go the old school Sound of Music "paper packages tied up with string" route by wrapping your gift in this rustic paper, and tying some jute, twine, or kitchen string around it. If you're extra industrious, you could stamp some patterns onto the paper. Most of this paper is compostable (though it shouldn't be composted if you've stamped it), and all of it is recyclable.
- My Mom used to do this when I was a kid: wrap gifts in tea towels, dish cloths, hand towels, wash cloths, pillow cases, cloth napkins or receiving blankets, depending on the occasion and size of the gift. This works great for baby and wedding showers especially. It's pretty and useful!
- You can also use any sort of container as a gift receptacle: flower pots, baskets, cookie or tea tins, orange crates, vases, mason jars . . . the list is as long as your imagination can take you. Your giftee can enjoy your present and make good use of the container it came in.