Posted by: amamasblog | December 21, 2007

My “Green” Christmas

Our weather is calling for snow tomorrow, and then some on Sunday.  We still have a few inches left on the ground from previous snowfalls, so by all accounts we will have a White Christmas!  Yay!

I have been thinking a lot these last few weeks on how I can make our Christmas a little “greener” as well.  It has always bothered me how much waste gets produced during the holidays, before it became “mainstream” so to speak.  Whenever our families were done opening presents, there was at least one big, huge, trash-bag stuffed with wrapping paper and gift bags.  Not to mention the bows, boxes, tissue papers, ribbons, and cards.

My mom was really good about teaching us to save ribbons and bows, so at least we would try to reuse these items.  I guess it got in my blood, because I am always trying to scavenge the reusable bows, ribbons, and now gift bags (Gift bags weren’t used too much in the 70’s and 80’s when I was growing up 🙂 )

But, even with that, there is still a ton of waste.  I could never save wrapping paper- let’s be honest.  Unless there is a freak of nature unique person, who can open a present with out crumpling, tearing, or creasing wrapping paper, it just isn’t practical to save it and try to reuse it.  It always looks horrible, and it is never the right size.  Believe me, I’ve tried!  This was before I had kids, and there is no way any wrapping paper that my boys even look at, let alone touch, will be in any shape to be reused. 

Amy had a great post earlier this month, on all kinds Green Tips for the holidays.  One of my favorite ones, was running used wrapping paper through your paper shredder, and using it to stuff gift bags.  You could do this year round as well, and use the shredded wrapping paper in gift bags for birthdays, baby showers, etc.  It occurred to me that even if you can’t use all the shredded wrapping paper in gift bags, it could be used as packing (instead of Styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap) if you are shipping a package.  I’m sure there are other uses for this idea too.

I really love using gift bags.  Not only are they quick to assemble compared to wrapping, but they can be reused several times again.  I doubt I have bought a gift bag in several years.  I save all gifts bags given to me, and reuse them.  This also can save you some money too.

Since I have used a lot of  my “stash” up of gift bags, I realized I may be running low on gift bags and wrapping paper.  I decided not to buy any more wrapping paper, and make due with what I have.  I bought some gift boxes for a few presents, and wondered what kind of wrap I should do for them.  Then I realized that they already had Christmas pictures on them, and they look nice without wrapping paper.  Do I really need to “waste” paper for a box, that a kid will be ripping off in a few seconds anyway?  No.  So I am going to tape the boxes, and add a ribbon to them, and I am done, and hopefully saved a few resources in the process.

For Ryan and Cole’s presents, as well as a few others, they are in large boxes.  I cleaned out my brown paper bag stash, which multiplies faster than rabbits, under my kitchen sink.  I am going to cut them all up, and tape them to fit the boxes, and then put ribbons on them as well.  I’ll have “brown paper packages tied up in strings,” and will be reusing something.  Hopefully, I’ll be saving a few more resources.

If you have any other “green” holiday tips, I’d love to hear them.  I think a lot of people doing a few little things, can make a big difference.

Finally, if you get a Christmas present from me without wrapping paper, or wrapped in brown “recycled” grocery bags, no- I didn’t procrastinate and run out of paper, but you will know ahead of time, why your gift is wrapped this way, and hopefully you will be happy, you are a participant in my green Christmas.  🙂



  1. good ideas. 🙂

    i also love the idea of wrapping presents in cloth, but haven’t put that into practice yet myself. though ava, who lately just wants to wrap and open “presents” (books/toys she already has) just for fun, has been using her play silks to wrap them and that’s made her happy and saved a lot of wrapping paper. 🙂

  2. A few weeks ago we had a bday party to go to and I realized about 5 mins before we had to go that I was out of wrapping paper. I quickly wrapped in newspaper…flipped the pressie over and realized that there was an ad w/ a seductive woman right on the front. D’oh! So I taped more paper over it and left 😀

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