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Cards and wrap

A present wrapped in brown paper and tied with string


Card giving and gift wrapping is a common Christmas tradition but also consumes lots of resources—all that paper was once a living tree. Here are a few ideas to help reduce your paper use as well as your overall Christmas spend.

If you buy cards, look for ones made from recycled paper or try to reduce the total number of cards you send—or choose e–cards instead. If you traditionally send friends and family an annual update with news and photos, you could send them in an email. Another option could be creating a holiday album on a photo sharing site and circulating that instead of a paper copy. Remember to recycle any cards you receive, or cut them up and turn them into gift tags for next year.

This year try skipping wrapping paper whenever possible. You could hide children's gifts around the house and giving them a 'treasure map' with clues as to where they are instead. If you do need to wrap something, try brown paper—it's less resource intensive. Using a ribbon alone on a large present is another idea. Alternatively you could make the wrapping part of the gift by using things like scarves, tea towels or tablecloths, or putting the gift in a re–usable tin or box. Christmas is also a great time to clear out the year's stock of children's artwork to re–use for wrapping or gift tags. If you do use paper, why not tie up the gift with re–usable ribbon or string instead of sticky tape which tears the paper? This way you can recycle the paper for use next year.