Updated: Jan 24, 2021
I have been writing this series in my head for months and that same head has given me an endless list of reasons to put my "Sustainable Life" series on the back burner. I was aiming for the start of the new year... a resolution if you you will... I suppose three weeks in is better late than never, right? My aim is to make this a "Sustainable Sunday" series moving forward (I like alliteration,) so please feel free to harass me if a Sunday comes along and I haven't posted. My goal is to help make your everyday life just a little bit more sustainable. Good for you personally, good for the planet, sometimes good for your wallet (we can all get behind that one!) and always good for your conscience.
My goal here will never be to guilt or judge, I find those two items to be counter productive. Take what you will from my tips and suggestions and implement them where you can in your home and/or work place. And I am always up for suggestions or questions! Though I like to keep up on various sustainable practices and products, I am far from an expert, so please do not hesitate to chime in, add to the conversation and teach me as well; we all still have so much to learn and change in our lives if we are ever going to turn this climate crisis train around. Now onto my first post.
I hate to admit that it has taken me this long to remove gift wrap from my world, but I believe in full disclosure so here it is: Christmas 2020 was my first "no waste" Christmas. The desire to make the move had been there for years, but a corner of our storage closet was filled with half used wrapping paper rolls and I didn't want to waste them. But not wasting was actually making more waste and I was tired of the excuses, the time needed to be now. So we switched. Which brings me to this to post. It's obviously too late to be talking about tips for Christmas, but there are so many other gift giving events throughout the year to make some changes for.
This weekend we are celebrating the birthdays of all three of our kiddos. Our oldest is one year and one day other than our twins, so for the time being we do one big birthday shebang. Celebrating all three together has its perks, but it still requires a good amount of work. Taking gift wrapping out of the equation has been a game changer! I searched both the general internet and Esty and finally landed on these oh-so-cute celebratory birthday sacks.
I loved that these felt timeless... festive, gender neutral and not aimed at a child's esthetic, but at the same time something that a kiddo would be drawn to. And back to the perk of NO WRAPPING! I didn't even have to wait for the kids to go to bed to wrap their presents. I could pop around the corner, pull the gift from the store bag or shipping box, drop the gift in, cinch closed and call it a day. Well almost... what's a gift without a cute gift tag?
I knew that I wanted a tag that could be used time and time again for any occasion, both metal and chalkboard were on my radar and I ultimately decided on the above small, wooden chalkboard tags that I found at a local craft store. They each came with a simple string of jute and can easily be tied to the bag. Wipe clean after and celebrate the next person when the time comes.
Now if you are more talented than myself and have sewing machine skills (and a machine!), you can easily make your own bags. Fabric stores have materials for just about any occasion, but if you want to really go for the sustainability gold star you can make your own bags out of scrap materials like jeans you no longer wear or a set of sheets that are still in a good condition. Get creative! And if you have all of the above, but not the skill, consider reaching out to a neighborhood group to see if someone with those skills would be up for the commission. Local is always the way to go!
The cloth bags that I came across were just a few dollars more than a paper bag that you can find in the card and wrapping section of just about any store. A small investment that you can use year after year. The tags were around $7 for 30 tag and even came with a pack of four chalk pens. I have even more ideas for these handsome little tags, but I will save that for another post.
A few more ideas:
Furoshiki- Japanese cloth wrapping
Wrap a gift in a gift (e.g., tea towel, nice basket, scarf)
Recyclables- brown bags, magazines or newspapers
Or just forego wrapping all together!
Thanks for the read and please feel free to share any additional gift wrapping ideas.