Here are my suggestions:
- Reuse. Remove paper carefully from gifts and neatly fold for next year. There are a few benefits to be gleaned from this practice. The first two are the obvious environmental and cost benefits. The other one is a simple concept of slowing down. Christmas morning so often involves a group of people tearing into a pile of presents without so much as a pause to say 'thank you.' When the chaos subsides, all that's left is a huge pile of paper, bows, tags and questions as to who gave whom what. Sound familiar? Taking time to fold paper eliminates a bit of this hectic pace from your Christmas morning celebration.
- Wrap gifts in something practical, such as dish towels, pillowcases, drawstring bags, fabric, leftover foil, coloring book pages, magazine ads, baskets, metal cans/canisters and reusable decorative boxes.
- Instead of packing boxes for shipping with styrofoam peanuts, use recycled PaperNuts (http://www.papernuts.com/) or protect your packaged gifts with shredded catalogs. Bird lovers can use unbuttered popcorn as an eco-friendly alternative to Styrofoam. Include a note to the recipient asking them to toss the popcorn outside as a Christmas treat for their feathered friends.
- Use, and reuse, gift bags.
- Ask for paper instead of plastic when shopping and wrap gifts in the bags decorated with markers, rubber stamps and/or stickers.
- Tie gifts with old shoelaces, ribbon or yarn. If you are using wrapping paper, avoid using stick-on bows, as they can rip the paper and ruin it for reuse.
- Buy recycled wrapping paper and tissue.
- Give gifts that don't require wrapping, such as plants, gift cards, tickets to shows, etc.
Keeping it green,