Every December, when “All I Want is You” begins playing on the radio, people are struck with the need to create, bake, and organize the ideal Christmas feast and decorate the house to perfection.

And despite Mariah Carey’s declaration that she doesn’t care about the presents under the Christmas tree, it seems vital to wrap gorgeous, Insta-worthy items. We all know we are not alone.

It is easy to get caught up in the dream of a flawless, magical Christmas and lose sight of the holiday’s impact on the earth. And it’s not just the presents themselves but also the wrappings.

Stanford University estimates that the average family in the U.S. creates 25 percent more garbage over the Christmas period than any other time of year.

According to Zero Waste Canada, Canadians toss out 545,000 metric tons of gift wrapping and shopping bags each year.

Shelley Ritzman considers the thought of purchasing single-use wrapping paper just to have it torn up and thrown away on Christmas Day quite depressing.

Ritzman, a policy coordinator for Metro Vancouver, is in charge of the Create Memories, Not Garbage initiative, which urges individuals to decrease waste throughout the Christmas season.

According to Ritzman, not all wrapping paper can be recycled. The “shiny, slippery stuff” that is hard to wrap with? It cannot be recycled with paper because it is composed of plastic.

Other Papers

In reality, you may manufacture your own patterned wrapping paper by cutting out tissue paper patterns, such as large red hearts, and pressing them between two sheets of wax paper.

It generates a beautiful, translucent sheet that’s more sturdy than the tissue paper on its own. If you are the kind to plan ahead (and have a little storage space), you can keep all the wrapping paper from this year and use it again next year.

In this way, it’s better not to use sticky tape because wrapping gifts with string, twine, or ribbon lets you open them without shredding the paper, so you can use large sheets of paper more than once.

A few warnings: don’t do this with plastic-coated wrapping paper, or you will ruin your iron. Use a cold iron and turn off the steam to avoid creating a soggy mess.

Can It Be Recycled?

Any glitzy, aesthetically pleasing wrapping paper is likely made of plastic; it might even contain glitter or glittery patches. 100% plastic if the reverse of the paper is reflective.

The scrunch test, which can be used to determine whether your wrapping paper is recyclable, involves twisting it up; if it bounces back, it is plastic and cannot be recycled.

However, this only works with plastic wrap. As a rule of thumb, if anything includes glitter or other aspects of a shiny, metallic design, it usually cannot be recycled.

In addition to your article, how have you assembled the package? Standard adhesive tape is likewise made of single-use plastic, but there are plastic-free varieties available.

Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper

It does exist! Earth Greetings is one of the few places in Australia where you can buy environmentally friendly wrapping paper. They’re printed with eco-friendly colors, and the paper may be reused, recycled, or composted at the end of its life. 

The prints are lovely; they collaborate with Australian artists and highlight natural animals. Additionally, they provide biodegradable washi tape as an alternative to adhesive tape.


Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese way to wrap garments, food, or other items. It is a terrific way to have fun and be creative with textiles, and there are different ways that you could use to knot your item(s) that will make them seem properly displayed.

A few experts teach more about furoshiki and give instructions for eight alternative ways to attempt them at home. To save on buying brand new fabric, why not take a look at your local charity store or make use of a lovely scarf that you have outgrown? 

You could also add evergreen sprigs or pinecones to the knot of the cloth to make it look more festive. Occasionally, the cloth itself might be a component of the gift.

Repurpose Them

If you prefer wrapping gifts with paper, check around the house to see what you can find. The newspaper, magazine pages, old maps, and calendars can be utilized. 

If you have children, don’t throw away their surplus artwork; use it as wrapping paper instead! If available, Kraft paper is enjoyable to decorate and wrap with, plus it is recyclable. Or, keep your brown paper bags and packing supplies.

As an alternative to plastic tape, you may use washi tape, which is biodegradable and available in a variety of vibrant colors and designs. 

If you want to decorate your gifts, you can use things from nature like pine cones, berries, and sprigs of evergreen. And instead of purchasing plastic ribbon, use hemp or twine, or cut fabric scraps into strips.


Sometimes no packaging is the most enjoyable option. A treasure hunt’s chain of hints might lead the receiver to a present hidden in a closet or garage.

Also, use your imagination to avoid using tape. Ribbon may be used annually. Occasionally, thread or twine may provide an exquisite touch. A pair of holiday-themed shoelaces can be given as a present. 

Safety pins or brooches may be used to secure fabrics in place. A few colorful hair elastics or a single scrunchie may suffice to hold everything in place for a little present. For a little bigger baby, a single stretchable headband may suffice.

And remember that Grandma was correct. The wrapping paper, tissue paper, and paper gift bags from any presents you receive can be reused with care. 

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