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Wrapping Presents


Birthdays, special occasions and Christmas: what do they have in common? Not just presents, but usually lots of wrapping paper. Wrapping paper creates a significant amount of waste in North America; it is estimated that more that 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper is used during Christmas every year:  the equivalent of approximately 50,000 trees.

What can you do about it?

If everyone in Canada wrapped just three gifts in reused paper or gift bags, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks. Wrapping paper alternatives not only reduce the need for various resources to be consumed, but also offer a creative and unique presentation for gifts. Try one of these fantastic ideas to make your gift-giving experience even more special.

  • Fabric Gift Bags. Use scrap pieces of fabric to create beautiful gift bags that can be later reused by the recipient. You can use extra ribbon to tie off the top of the bag or sew in a drawstring closure.
  • Newspaper. Turn newspaper into fun and creative gift wrapping paper. Colorful comics from the Sunday paper or pages from the Food and Wine section make great choices.
  • Brown Paper Grocery Bags. These bags are perfect for those odd shaped presents that are awkward to wrap. Place the present inside the bag and fold down the top. Use a hole-puncher to punch two holes through the top of the bag where it is folded and use ribbon or scrap pieces of yarn to tie it shut.
  • Children’s Artwork. For smaller presents you can use artwork that your children have created. Children create many masterpieces and sometimes it can be hard to decide what to do with them all. This would be a great way to use their artwork, meanwhile sharing their masterpiece with friends and family.
  • Old Posters.
  • Gift Baskets. The recipient can later use the basket to create their own gift basket for someone else or to use it to decorate and/or organize their home.
  • Cool fabric and ribbons that you reuse every year.
  • Check out Furochic Gift Wrap ( for a unique reusable cloth alternative to wrapping paper.
  • If you’re feeling crafty, make your own cloth gift wrap out of fun fabric and ribbon closures or knit one.
  • Make the wrapping part of the gift. Receiving blankets for baby gifts, tea towels or cloth napkins for wedding shower or housewarming gifts, reusable totes;  you get the idea. Use your imagination and have fun!

If you do use wrapping paper, try to buy only recycled options. Most conventional wrapping paper contains a high content of metal and is therefore not accepted by many recycling depots. When not using recycled wrap, try not to buy the metallic wrap because of this reason.

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