Eco Holiday Tip: Re-Using Gift Wrap

by Amber on December 24, 2010

Eco Holiday Tip: Re-Using Gift Wrap


There’s always one in every crowd: the Gift Wrapping Saver. As friends and family gather to tear open packages, the Gift Wrapping Saver painstakingly slides a finger under each piece of tape to gingerly separate it from the paper, unfolding the wrapping along every crease, until (seemingly) hours later the gift beneath is unveiled.
I am a Gift Wrapping Saver. I watched my grandma do this for years. As a little kid, I was never patient enough. I wanted to move quickly through my pile of presents and find the treasures inside. But as an adult, my pile of presents is much smaller. Now, I don’t mind savoring the moment by gently and slowly opening each gift.
Plus, I just hate wasting all that paper!
Golden amber packages set with wired bows. Ruby red presents tied in twine. Gleeful green gifts giddy under twirly ribbon. I love the many colors, the classic designs, and the frilly décor. So why not use it again and again?
This year, as I boxed up the various local food gifts I purchased at my farmers’ market—three berry jams, golden popcorn kernels, richly earthy olive oils, and gently seasoned nuts—it would have felt quite contrary to reach for a clean roll of newly minted, plastic-wrapped gift paper.
Instead, I pull out a worn roll of paper saved from Christmases past. With bits of tape still clinging to the edges, crease marks where a box once hid, these papers remind me of former Christmas memories, and entice me for the new ones to come.
Tip #6: hide any imperfections in the paper
on the back side or bottom of gift.
I spread the array of colors and patterns before me and select just the right paper for each gift. When I’m done, each one looks brand new. I doubt anyone ever guesses I have reused paper that is sometimes as many as six years old.
Here are my tips for making used gift wrap look new again:
  1. Tie on ribbons and bows. This dresses up the gift, and the bows themselves can be placed strategically to cover up any minor tears in the paper.
  1. Make gift tags. Like a bow, gift tags can be used to cover up any damage to old paper. Homemade gift tags also create a personal touch.
  1. Fold over the edges of the paper when you wrap. This will hide the old taped edges and make the paper look new again.
  1. As you unwrap this year’s gifts, lay the paper flat as you remove it from the package. Pile up the many pieces, laying each one flat on top of the other. When you’re done, use an old roll of wrapping paper to roll the used paper around. I like to create two rolls—one for the very large pieces, and a second for the odd and smaller sizes.
  1. Save your bows and fancy ribbon. Many of them can be used again and again.
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