I love surprises, so using some kind of wrapping adds to the fun of giving the present. Otherwise, why not just throw the gift at the giftee and say, "Hope you like it!"
What I hate is seeing so much beautiful paper just being ripped up and tossed aside. Honestly, these days, it's a little embarrassing to put bags full of ripped-up paper out on the curb for trash pickup. And I just can't get beyond the fact that making paper is one of the most polluting industries on earth. The less I use, the better.
Hence, my list of green wrapping paper alternatives:
Reusable shopping bag $.99
Available at almost any grocery store.
Holiday gift bags free
I reuse the bags from gifts people have given me.
Reused gift wrap free
I "capture" it as its coming off the present, fold it up, and put it in a box so I can easily find and reuse it next year.
New recycled gift wrap
Pristine Planet offers recycled, recylable paper online. If you're buying when you're at the mall, ask the salesclerk for the most eco-friendly option they sell.
Ideally, these towels would be made from organic cotton, but anything reusable is a good choice.
Rather than wrap an entire box, tie a decorative scarf around the box and attach a tag made from a recycled gift card.
Sunday comics free
As for gift tags, reuse last year's holiday cards. Cut off the card that has the signature, thread a ribbon through a corner of the remaining card, and voilà!
One caveat about any kind of printed wrapping paper: The inks and foils used in wrapping paper may contain chemicals that become toxic when burned. If you can't reuse the paper, don't burn it: Recycle it.
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