RE-THINK Holiday Wrapping

Hello fellow Ashland Garden Club members. As your new Recycler Chair it is my mission is to bring ideas, information and to create articles that will focus on an awareness of recycling, re- utilizing our resources and to RE-THINK our choices. The title of my article RE-THINK goes beyond recycling: there are many choices that we can make in the re-use, recycle process. Hopefully, I can include some of those ideas and tips that will be useful and effective for you.

I had a great suggestion come across my desk for the December newsletter from Karen Jones, our president. It was to offer some ideas and creative tips and ways to “wrap” our holiday gifts that don’t necessarily involve yards of traditional holiday wrapping paper. Most of that paper ultimately, either ends up in the trash, recycle bin or burn pile. Although most Rogue Valley haulers accept wrapping paper in their comingle bins (with some restrictions), maybe we should consider ways to reduce the waste that ends up there. Here are some ideas and creative ways to reuse items that we might already have or would otherwise have ended up in the trash or comingle bin.


* Wrap a gift for a gardener in pages from a seed catalog/ tie it all up with garden twine and a “bow” of greenery from your garden or a pretty dried nosegay (from your summer garden)

* Use an empty cereal box as a “wrapper” and gifts tucked inside could include teas, coffee, small jars of jam or syrup or homemade granola that would carry out the breakfast theme; could even include some cloth napkins (reusable) as decorative “fluff” to complete the presentation.

* Line empty greeting card or note card boxes with baker’s parchment and fill with homemade candy or fudge

* “Clamshells” that berries or tomatoes come in are great gift containers. Nestle your gift inside with shredded colorful paper from catalogs or magazines. Attach a photo or greeting card to hide the tomato or berry label. The boxes snap shut (no extra tape). Let some of the packing material spill out the edges to create a chic look.

* Round oatmeal cartons are great to slide gifts in: cover and embellish with colorful magazine or catalog pages

* Use a new scarf, towel, napkin or for larger gifts; a tablecloth or blanket to hide your special gift. Two gifts in one!

* Plastic mesh bags that produce like onions come in can be stretched over a gift or over a brown bag or box holding the gift. They could also be used as a tie or bow to complete a package.

* Strips of magazine paper can be curled with scissors like ribbon and then stapled together in a bunch to create a bow

* Paper from a paper shredder is great packing material: can be customized with shredded seed catalogs for gardeners, shredded maps for travelers, shredded newspapers or computer paper “throw-outs” for avid readers.

* Use a pair of knee-high socks as a gift wrapper. Slide a bottle of wine in each sock and tie with twine and a sprig of greenery. Your gift recipient will be “warmed twice”

*An expired wall calendar is a great wrapper; highlight a special date ( this is also a wonderful idea for birthdays or other special occasions)

* Reuse round containers that things like nuts come in. Labels can peel off and tins filled with homemade spicy nuts or confections. Make a computer label to wrap around the container with your personal touch.

* Wrinkle brown paper bags until soft and really wrinkled. These are great covers for potted plants or other gifts. Tie off with a raffia bow that you’ve saved from a previous gift and viola’ you have a classy presentation.

* Shipping tubes can be disguised as gift presentation vehicles for specialty beers; cover with colorful pages from magazines or bits of fabric scraps from a sewing project and stuff the ends with crumpled newspaper or colorful magazine pages

* A small gift can be slipped inside a breath-mint tin

* Quick wrap for a gift? Sort through plastic store bags, find the ones that are most-colorful- triple wrap and rubber band together and make a decorative “plume” at top

* Rubber bands en mass around a gift as a bow create a fun look

* Always save great pieces of special paper to shred, fluff or cut into strips to make a gift more unique

* Use uncooked bow tie pasta fastened with twine as a finishing touch for a gift to a cook

*Recycle string, rubber bands, ribbons or bows from floral gifts, strips of heavier paper curled with scissors in place of using store-purchased ribbons

*Wrap a gift in a basket- another 2-gifts-in-1 idea

*Have fun with these ideas and that they will be an inspiration for you to come up with some of your own!!

There are countless more ideas but this will give you a few to make holiday gift wrapping more interesting and fun by ReThinking different ways to use items that we already have on hand. As I was writing this article it was interesting to me that many of these ideas that I offered to you, our family did while I was growing up. They were utilized out of necessity but were also fun and a great way to express our personal creativity.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

Recyling Chair