Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Going Green for Christmas

Sure the Christmas colors ended up as green and red.  But I meant green in the ecological sense. 

It started as self defense, because I am a terrible wrapper.  And I hate the idea of all that paper and those boxes ending up in landfills.  It doesn't make sense from an economic or an environmental standpoint.  Because I am all for saving the Earth, and , you know, I'm cheap.

We would get gifts in beautiful gift bags for our kids and I started to save them.  You can't give gifts to others in used gift bags, so I reused them for the kids.  The name was already on there.   Then I bought some To/From stickers and just covered up any name I needed to change.


One year I bought a giant bag of gift bags from Costco and a giant package of white tissue paper.  I have also purchased bags for $1 each at a Dollar Tree.  Soon I had saved a bunch of bags of every size for everyone in the family.  I used a large gift bag for each person and every year after the gift opening, I put the collection back in the large bag and stored it in the closet.  Then I started to fold up and reuse the tissue paper.  Sure, some of them are wrinkled and torn.  Those get reluctantly tossed.


The best part of this plan is the ease of gift wrapping.  I get out all the bags full of bags and the bag of carefully folded tissue paper.  Then I put a small pile of gifts on the table set up for this purpose.  Grab a gift, find the bag for that recipient and choose a bag that will fit.  Place the gift in the bag.  Place three (Yes, it must be three unless it is a wide bag, and then four.  You are dealing with OCD, here, so go with it.) fluffed sheets of tissue paper and you are done.  A gift wrapping assembly line!   Set aside and grab the next gift.


This process is easier in a room with a door, so that you can keep out unwanted "helpers"


Do you see the beauty of this process?  Each gift only takes a minute or less.  Can you say the same?  And once purchased, each bag can be used for years, so it is cost effective.  The kids even get to know which bags are for them and look forward to seeing it under the tree. 


At first I kept the filled gift bags in our closet to keep little kids from peeking.  It has become our tradition to put them out after the kids have gone to bed.  That is harder to do now that they can stay up later than we can.

We rarely have to buy any gift paper or gift bags.  I also have a selection to use for birthdays and anniversaries. 

I LIKE going green when it means I save money and time.  What is your routine?


  1. We reuse bags too! Sometimes I don't even have to change the names.

  2. We reuse bags, and boxes, too, if they aren't in too bad a shape. I am still using wrapping paper from years ago and haven't bought in any new in quite some time. We also reuse bows.