We all love a gorgeously wrapped gift, but it feels increasingly important to remain environmentally conscious and have a more sustainable approach to the festive season this year.
In the UK alone, it’s been estimated by WRAP that the amount of wrapping paper the country throws out at Christmas would stretch to the moon. Wrapping paper with glitter and foil can’t be recycled, it then sits in a landfill and rots emitting methane gas that is 25 times more toxic than CO2.
So, if like us, you’d like your Christmas gift wrapping to be more eco-friendly, try some of these sustainable gift wrap hacks tried and tested by the team at ASJ Design.
Create your own recyclable Christmas wrapping paper
Enhance your gift wrapping and give it a personal touch by creating your own gift wrap using recycled paper. We decided to create our wrapping paper using ink and stamps on brown kraft paper. We used The English Stamp company to source our stamps, because they are hand made in the UK and great quality. We chose both festive and nature themed designs, that work well together or can be used separately. This allows you to create various designs but also gives you stamps that can be used outside the festive season too.
To create a festively patterned paper, we rolled out our paper onto a flat surface and then repeated the stamp in rows off set from each other keeping the prints evenly spaced. Leaving the ink to dry before wrapping our gifts and adding final touches. Don’t forget to protect your furniture underneath!
Not only can this eco-friendly wrapping paper be recycled, but you could even reuse it year after year, going further to reduce single use and over consumption. The stamps are really versatile and can also be used to create cards, labels, or anything you fancy.
Go the extra mile
Using the same method as making wrapping paper, you can create your own unique gift tag designs with your stamps and ink on recycled brown card tags. We used the same stamps we used for our recyclable wrapping paper to create tags that were in keeping with our overall theme. Customise them by using alphabet stamps and even leave them blank so they can re-purposed on the tree as decorations!
Why not make your own Christmas cards using recycled materials too? As most Christmas cards use glitter and foil, they are really unsustainable as they cannot be recycled. At ASJ Design we created our own Christmas cards also using our stamps from The English Stamp company. We used recycled card to create these and simply printed the stamp onto the centre of the card.
Forage for embellishments
Another sustainable method of enhancing your gift wrapping is with dried fruits and trimmings. If you’ve invested in a real Christmas tree, the easiest option is to take a few small cuttings from branches, but alternative trimmings can be foraged from your garden or a local park – try holly leaves, pinecones, winterberries, or even a sprig from a pretty shrub. This makes your gift wrapping completely compostable and biodegradable. So not only is it an eco-friendly alternative that can save you a few pennies, and bring a lovely Christmas scent to your gifts!
Drying fruits like this is easy and simple to do, and you can use oranges, apples, pears, lemons, limes and even grapefruits. Simply cut your fruits into 1-inch pieces and lay flat on a baking tray. Bake them in a fan oven at 12 degrees Celsius for 2 hours, or until dry. Make sure you flip them regularly and it is as simple as that! Use some raffia to tie them onto your presents. Cinnamon sticks are also great to add to the top of presents and can be reused and kept for more gifts or even used in the pantry. If you find that you have any pieces left over, you can thread them together onto some string to make a scented Christmas garland or add as decorations on your tree.
Clay is a great eco-friendly material that can be used to decorate your gifts and even the Christmas tree. Clay ornaments can be kept and reused, and when gifted to people, they can put them on their tree as decorations. If we are all making small sustainable changes to how we wrap our gifts and decorate our homes, it can have a lasting positive effect on our approach to the festive season.
These ornaments are easy to make and can be a fun activity for the kids to get involved with. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even make your own salt dough to be even more eco-friendly. We used leaves and pines to create patterns in our clay to give a beautiful natural feel to the decor.
Start by rolling you clay or salt dough on a flat surface, once the clay is around 1 inch thick you can emboss it with whatever design you would like to create your patterns: holly, pine needles, fern leaves or dried fruit. Then using a knife or cookie cutter shape of choice, cut the clay and lay on a tray or flat surface to dry. Make sure to turn them to dry both sides. If using salt dough, you will need to cook in an oven at a low temperature.
On a roll with the DIY decorations? The fun hasn’t stopped just yet!
You can use the excess trimmings from your Christmas tree to make more sustainable festive decorations for your home. Reduce decorating waste and take a look at our latest tips and tricks for utilising your Christmas tree in more ways than one!