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Decorate Cloth Totes for Gift Bags
Alternative Gift Wrap Ideas
All you have to do is gaze out your window the day after Christmas to realize that all that wrapping paper is taking a toll on our landfills and planet. Here are some of our more durable and earth-friendly gift wrap ideas.
Reusable Gift Bags
Purchase the heavier paper gift bags and tissue paper on sale, preferable the day after Christmas. Store them with the holiday ornaments and use them for another year - or more.
Purchase holiday theme fabrics, plain red and green, flannel plaids, upholstery material, whatever strikes your fancy. Anyone can make a rectangle bag. Cut two pieces of fabric, place the print sides together, sew up three sides and either make a draw-string pocket or just bunch the top up and tie with ribbon or yarn. Cut the open edges with pinking shears to avoid the raw edges looking unfinished.
Cut permanent tags from white plastic bleach bottles, heavy cardboard or old Christmas cards and keep them in a box with yarn ties. Make several size bags for CD/DVD's, sweater, book bags, etc. Also, buy or make cloth tote bags to give your gifts in.
A fun craft idea is to save paper grocery bags and decorate them with markers, cut-outs from holiday magazines or eco-friendly craft paint. They won't last forever, but they will last a few years or more if stored in a dry area of the house. When they wear out, toss them into the compost.
Reuse Boxes and Containers
Cover or decorate empty oatmeal boxes (the tall round cardboard kind) or empty cereal boxes. Shoe boxes make great gift boxes too. Cover them with scrap fabric or paint them and tie them closed with raffia, real ribbon or yarn.
Metal tea tins and other tin containers are plentiful at thrift shops or garage sales. I put them through the dishwasher and give homemade cookies or candies in them. Never paint over vintage or antique tins - just give them as is.
Wicker baskets are great for gift giving and are plentiful and cheap at the Goodwill or Salvation Army stores. You can run most through the dishwasher and use them as they are or paint them and line them with colorful fabric.
Thrift shops are filled with decorative planters, vintage copper or aluminum items, glassware or even funky handbags for gift giving.
I purchased a set of glass storage bowls with plastic lids and will give my home made goodies in them this year. Edible gifts certainly going to disappear and Pyrex lasts for decades.
Glass measuring cups filled with your own home-made brownie mix or pancake mix will be a welcome gift Wrap the whole thing in cellophane or plastic wrap and tie up with ribbon.
Think Outside the Roll
Once you start to look beyond that roll of gift wrap, many items will start to look like gift packaging. With just a little planning and creativity, 'green' gift wrap is inexpensive (or sometimes free), re-useable and recyclable!