Holiday season is here in full swing. 

If you’re like most, you’ve likely already done most of your holiday shopping and are on the hunt for last minute finds, preparing yourself for a day of wrapping (perhaps with some hot cocoa in tow), and are quickly going through your stockpile of stamps (when did stamps get so expensive?!). 

This is a great time to talk wrapping, and zero waste wrapping at that. That may sound like a contradiction, and I hear you, but there are ways you can beautifully decorate packages while at the very least reducing waste. 

So let’s talk waste reduction in the present wrapping department. 

Some of this will require some forethought and previously planned preparation. If you’re someone that saves everything (against the better judgment and suggestion of your family and friends) this is your chance to shine. It’s a great opportunity to reuse some old boxes and wrapping materials that would otherwise sit lonely on a shelf. Score one for Marie Kondo!

I like to reuse old shoe boxes, Amazon boxes or bags, and any other shipping box that’s happened to find a home somewhere in the house over the past few months. 

If you’re like me, that may mean you have limited options. (If you need to know where a donations box is in the area, I have you covered.) It’s okay if you don’t have many options because extra points for creativity! It’s also a great reminder to hang onto any packages and boxes you may get in the mail to repurpose. This tends to be a time of year for not only sending out more packages but for also receiving them, so take mental note!

No boxes? No problem. Bags can be a great option too. You can repurpose brown paper bags from takeout or the grocery store, smaller fabric bags that stores sometimes give out with a purchase, or anything else that fits the bill. You’d be surprised what you can find laying around the house.

Once you have your package, there are many ways you can spruce it up without leaving Target arms full of wrapping paper rolls. 

I’ve been getting so many holiday magazines in the mail. While some of them are fun to browse through, they can lose their appeal rather quickly. So cut them up and paste them onto your aesthetically lacking boxes! It can be fun to cut out letters and spell out a message or someone’s name, or simply to cut out holiday themed images to add some holiday spirit to your gifts.

Remember those brown paper bags? Those also make for great wrapping paper. They provide a blank canvas for you to color on, draw, and create a smile sparking scene.

Sometimes, less is more. I like to save ribbons from gifts that others have given me and always have some yarn or string around the house for crafting. Even just adding a bow or some string to a box can add just the needed amount of festivity.

Of course, once these items reach your loved ones, the boxes may be recycled and the wrapping material discarded. If friends and family are close, you can ask to take back any materials that are still in good condition to reuse for the next year. You can also encourage your loved ones to give these items another use. 

No one takes well to anyone on a soap box, but kind suggestions are more easily received, and sometimes living by example is the best way to interest someone in taking a more eco friendly approach.

So to sum it all up & get you thinking for next year ~

Be creative. Use what you already have when you can & think about less wasteful options when you can’t.

Save any good materials you receive whether through the mail or as a present. Ribbon especially holds up really well!

Less is more. Don’t feel you need to go above and beyond on the decorating. Your friends and family likely already know your values and will be okay to see that you’re sticking to them (even if it means less appealing presents.) It is still a thoughtful gesture, after all.

Look into recycling options in your area. For instance, my town even recycles broken Christmas lights but for only a short time around the holiday season. 

Above all, have fun & bask in the cheer of the season.