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BeingGreen: Gift Wrapping.

March 20, 2009

Okey-dokey.  It’s late and I’m tired (busy working on upcoming Script Frenzy project), so rather than writing about something complicated I’m going to keep it pretty brief and write about green gift wrapping.

Gift wrapping is a total menace.  You get this icky shiny paper and a load of tape and cut out huge sheets to wrap stuff in, then a couple of days later you give the gift to the recipient, who tears off the paper and stuffs it in the trash.

Eew.

So how does one green their gift wrapping?

The most popular method is furoshiki, or Japanese cloth giftwrapping.  You just take a big square piece of cloth, tie it appropriately, and it’s good to go.  No tape, and the cloth is reusable.  Here’s a video on YouTube that demonstrates how to tie furoshiki.

Another method is to wrap your gifts in paper that was originally used for something else – old magazine pages, perhaps, or paper grocery bags with painted shapes on them.  This works best for smaller gifts, and some caution is needed to make sure it doesn’t look cheap.

If you’re not too hung-up on wrapping, gift bags are also a good alternative.  While most of them aren’t made of green materials, they have the excellent property of staying intact when the recipient gets their gift, and can be reused.  Many times if necessary.

Then there are the flourishes you put on your gifts.  I admit to having a huge weakness for wrapping gifts in ribbon – preferably the annoying two-way ribbon that you can barely get off the gift package and comes with a couple of cute little curls that you top with a bow.  The bow isn’t so bad – you can use the same ones for years on end, provided they don’t get mashed – but the strings are pretty much toast once your gift-givee breaks out the scissors.  You could use cloth ribbons, but in my experience it doesn’t make a difference; they get tossed anyway.  Best green option = skip the ribbons.

…er, lost my train of thought here.  Wait, found it again.  Geez, it’s too late to be doing this.

The best option I’ve found for gift-wrapping is simply not to do it.  Of course, this has the unfortunate side effect of not having a gift to open, but if the gift is spectacular enough the recipient isn’t likely to care.  Last year’s Christmas presents were handed out from a plastic bag; oohs and aahs abounded over the handmade pinecone Christmas trees.

So although it is prudent to be green with your wrapping, it seems that the really good reactions are going to come from the gifts anyway.  What does this mean?  Well, certainly not that you should stop wrapping all gifts; kids especially love the experience of unwrapping.  But you might consider it.  And if not, try furoshiki or gift bags.

Geez… I’m starting to sound like Green Girl.  I’ve got to get to bed.

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