To Wrap or Not, That is the Eco-Friendly Present Question

nov-dec 2007 063

It is the day before Christmas and of course you have waited until the last day to wrap gifts.  (Come on.  I know I am not alone here.)

This was me last week when I had to deliver 80 plus gifts to all of my children’s teachers, aides, cafeteria workers, and so on. We get a little nuts with holiday gifts for everyone at the schools.  It is our way of thanking everyone from their teachers to the janitors for making our children lives so much more special.

Then of course, there is the mailman, the doctors, the nurses, the crossing guards, the garbage men….It can be an expensive holiday but just to see the look on everyone’s faces as you give them just a little something makes your heart melt.

This year like all other years I ordered gift boxes from The Bauman Family in Pennsylvania who make the most amazing apple butter, pear butter and pumpkin butter in no sugar added or regular. Although they are not organic, they try to use as little pesticides as possible. Perhaps you may have an organic farm similar to Bauman’s where you can get these butters since they truly are a treat. I purchase an assortment of gifts for everyone from gift boxes with four butters to individual butters.

Wrapping in a Panic

This year the boxes did not come until Wednesday night and I only had two days to wrap everything and have it delivered to three different schools.I am not joking when I tell you that I had 86 gifts and bottles to wrap. In the past, I have gotten plastic bags, used a lot of ribbon, wrapping paper, and stick-on name cards.

I don’t want to tell you how much tape I used.  Definite grounds to be bounced out of the eco-club.  So, what was I going to do this year?

Wrapping without Plastic

During the week, I read on Beth Terry’s site, My Plastic Free Life, an article about wrapping holiday gifts.   She wrapped her presents without the use of tape so that it eliminated the use of plastic in her gifts.  The benefit besides not using plastic?  People could easily reuse the paper without having to tear off the tape. Beth’s website is about rethinking and reducing our use of plastic and I highly recommended it.  See her post here. Ingenious!

How Could I Be More E-Conscious?

nov-dec 2007 069

So I started to think.  How could I be more eco-conscious about what I was using? I could have bought recycled paper wrap, but most people would just throw it in the garbage. I did not want to use tape either.  Hmm.

Beth used ribbon to keep her paper wrap together. I thought maybe I could do that too. I looked at the clean white boxes and decided to wrap them in ribbon. Perhaps I could put a hole punch in the name cards as well so I would use less tape, and then string them onto the ribbon. My first attempt was kind of spazzy, but I did it.  Beth would be proud of me! Unfortunately, I did not have time to obtain eco-ribbon. Next Year!

My husband reluctantly helped me wrap the gifts that way.  He probably thought the whole thing was stupid, but he helped me anyways.

On the back of each card, I reminded people to recycle everything. Hopefully they read it. Everything except the plastic bubble wrap that was in the boxes could be recycled or reused.

The bottles were all glass.  My receipents could reuse the plastic bubble wrap or take it to UPS for recycling….

How Did I Wrap the Single Glass Jars?

nov-dec 2007 061As for the singular glass bottles, they were so pretty by themselves, who needs bags?  I tied a ribbon around them and strung the tag on it and voila, a beautifully wrapped gift with minimal wrapping!

As for the rest of the garbage, I gave UPS a present–my boxes, peanuts, and left over bubble wrap.  My local UPS store is so appreciative when I give them peanuts!

Ugh.  The Thank You Notes

With all those gifts come wonderful thank you notes, which  all have their own carbon footprint.   Perhaps if I include my email address on the gift cards, maybe people will email me instead?   Any ideas, readers about reducing my thank you note impact?

So, what creative way have you come up with to reduce your wrapping impact on the holidays?  If you haven’t, let me know that too.

For all my Green Talk readers, Merry Christmas!  And for those of you who are not celebrating Christmas wishing you a restful day.

Similar Posts:


  1. 1


    I am so proud of you! Wrapping with only ribbon is the best.

    Right now, I am surrounded by plastic that arrived in the packages my dad sent me from PopCorn Factory. Besides the fact that every year I beg him not to send me a bunch of sweet junk food and every year he sends tubs of sweet junk food anyway, this is also a plastic nightmare. So I’m trying to decide how to show it and discuss it on my blog in the most tactful way possible. He does read the blog sometimes, if only to make jokes later about all the Styrofoam he uses.

    Being a good daughter… not always all it’s cracked up to be.



    Beth Terry’s last blog post..Week 27 Results: 4.4 oz of plastic, kitties not included.

  2. 4


    I like the way your gifts turned out but honestly, if I had to wrap 85 gifts the night before gift giving, I’d do it the easiest way possible! I’m sure it was still quite a job and imagine the eye roll you would have gotten from your husband if you did it his way with paper and make the job take even longer!

    As for the Thank you not impact, I’d cut the fronts off the cards and reuse them as gift tags or thank you note post cards for the following year. Sending thank you notes is a dying act of etiquette and something I’d like to encourage. For that, I’d live with the impact but that’s just me – most of my family doesn’t send thank you notes or even tell me that they got their gift if I shipped it.
    Condo Blues´s last blog post ..Trudeau Stainless Steel Travel Mug Giveaway


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge