All I Want For Christmas: Not To Feel So Conflicted About Wrapping Paper

What’s better than Christmas presents? If you’ve had a toddler in your life recently, or been one yourself, you know: Wrapping paper! Especially that foil kind which holds its shape. If I had digital copies of my photos from the early 90s, I’d share some ADORABLE pics of my boys wearing Christmas wrap like armor. I have no idea what present was inside; the resulting shiny togs, and the boys’ joyful faces, is all I remember.

Problem is, that stuff’s not recyclable. Too high of a metallic content. In fact, most Christmas wrap, glommed all over with tape, gets rejected in the end: too much plastic. 

This year, to add to my perennial conflict between wanting the brightest, shiniest, bring-back-my-innocent-childhoodiest gift wrap and wanting to, y’know, save the Earth, I was asked by our local Dump to write an article promoting zero waste in the Christmas season. The info they sent me included stats like this:

Garbage increases by 25% nationally over the holidays—that’s an extra 25 million tons. Most wrapping paper is not recyclable, due to metal or plastic content or tape. Then there are those 2.65 billion annually discarded Christmas cards, not to mention 38,000 miles of discarded ribbon, enough to tie a bow around the whole earth.

Sigh…I felt like I was writing that article to myself.

The Dump folks also included a link to this wonderful, crafty blog, Suburble, written by a way-cooler-sounding-than-Martha-Stewart woman named Tara. Tara walks you through the steps of making your own reusable Christmas bags, like this:

I could do that! I could even wear that!

I could do that! I could even wear that!

I have a sewing machine. I have tons of cool fabric bits. What remains is to wrestle my pre-awareness-of-global-crisis enthusiasm for VERY BAD WRAP and translate it into enough enthusiasm for FABRIC BAGS that I will actually sit down and make some.


I could take my own advice from that article, and make gift wrap out of decorated paper bags. That sounds like a fun day for my inner child.


I could take some more advice and collect pretty grasses and dried flowers to tie onto gifts. But it’s pretty wet out there. That inner-child thing’s looking better all the time.

Anyone else wrestling with this? A support group would be nice.

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