Try an alternative to wrapping paper

- Contributed Photo

There is nothing that compares to the sight of watching your loved ones tear into a tower of beautifully-wrapped presents during a holiday get-together. But after all of the gifts are opened, you are left with a massive pile of wrapping paper to clean up and discard, creating a sizable post-holiday increase in trash, according to the EPA. In the name of keeping the holidays “green,” many people are turning to more eco-friendly packaging when it comes to gift-wrapping, and today’s alternatives go far beyond simply saving and re-using traditional paper.

• Put your presents in reusable gift bags or shopping bags. They come in all styles and materials, and can be securely closed without damage.

• Reused materials like old maps make creative wrapping paper. In addition to hiding what’s inside, this wrapping can be fun, nostalgic or educational.

• Try making the wrapping a part of the actual gift. Containers, in many cases, can establish a theme for the present inside: a watering can might contain gardening supplies, or a mixing bowl can be filled with cooking utensils, for example.

• Newsprint might get on your hands, but there are many other forms of paper that can substitute for wrapping, such as leftover wallpaper, magazines or comics. Get creative and give the package an artistic identity all its own.

• One gift can easily be turned into two with the use of ingenious seeded paper. Many companies now offer recycled paper infused with wildflower seeds. After the package is unwrapped, plant it in soil like you would any seed, cover and water, and enjoy part two of your present.

• Instead of trying to carefully unwrap, smooth out and save traditional wrapping paper that may wrinkle or rip apart, give fabric wrapping a try. A number of vendors sell pre-made bags or fabric sized to work with different boxes. You can also try folding your own favorite fabrics around presents and then use them again next year.

• If all else fails, give a gift card. They’re always much-appreciated, the present is guaranteed to be whatever the receiver most desires, and there is no wrapping paper required!

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