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An Eco-Friendly Christmas—Right Down to the Wrapping Paper!

8 December 2020 | By Kim Méthot
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I’m not sure if it’s because of the current situation, but I feel like the holiday spirit is hitting 2020 harder and earlier than ever! Well, it’s true that we all need doses of warmth and happiness to start off the bleak winter season. This year, despite the fact that family gatherings will be smaller, there’s nothing stopping you from spoiling your loved ones a little! What if we all took advantage of our somewhat lighter schedules (thanks to the quarantine) and took a bit of time to rethink how we wrap gifts?

Let’s talk about the environment

Unless you’re really careful when you open your gifts, you end up tearing the wrapping paper and it becomes difficult to reuse. Of course, some people spend Christmas morning on their hands and knees trying to retrieve ribbons and bows in the hopes of reusing them. But, unfortunately, most wrapping paper, ribbons and bows will end up in the garbage bag my Aunt Sylvie graciously displays in the living room each year. Did you know that more than 550,000 tons of wrapping paper and gift bags are thrown out in Canada in a single year? So, where should you start if you want to celebrate in a less polluting way?

First, it’s important to know that you can recycle any wrapping paper that is not metallic or glittery. That means you can also ask Aunt Sylvie to bring in a recycling bag once the gifts are unwrapped. In addition, you can try to avoid purchasing metallic or glittery wrapping paper—despite the fact that shiny things really are pretty! If you’ve already bought the most beautiful shiny wrapping paper, the best thing to do is to try not to tear it too much so it can be used more than once. On the other hand, if you’re looking for recyclable paper, you can find Kraft paper rolls with Christmas designs online. Or you can even purchase a big roll like this one and draw your own designs on it and/or turn it into a craft with your kids!

It’s possible to wrap gifts more responsibly!

You may also decide to use what you already have at home to wrap your gifts. For a few years now, I’ve been a fan of using newspaper—not only is it really pretty, it’s also a conversation starter (it subtly opens the door to discussions on traditional wrapping paper with the family, hehe). In addition, any type of paper that you’re no longer using can be turned into wrapping paper. Think old road maps or even Backstreet Boys posters (hey, I’d love to get a gift with Nick Carter’s face on it).

While we’re on the subject of reusing, paper grocery bags can be used as gift bags and old toilet paper rolls can be used to wrap very small gifts (just fold the ends). Or why not reuse cereal boxes as gift bags?


On my end, I’m thinking of going with a trend that is becoming increasingly popular: furoshiki. This Japanese technique consists of knotting and folding cloth, making it possible to reuse old fabric (pillowcases, t-shirts, towels, etc.) to make beautiful reusable gift wrap.


If you’re not too keen on having to fold the fabric yourself, the Toronto company For You Giftbags sells reusable fabric gift bags of different sizes. Or if you feel like it and have the talent, you can make your own gift bags and bring people joy for years to come!

What about the finishing touches?

To make your gifts even more beautiful, don’t forget to add small finishing touches to the packages. If you have coniferous trees nearby, you can place fir branches or pinecones on your gifts. Or you can even take snips from any fresh herbs you still have on hand to give your gift wrap a holiday flavour. You can also dry citrus and other fruit. String and ribbon that you’ve saved throughout the year can be the perfect complement to your packages. And don’t forget to browse for ideas on DIY or decorating websites (there’s always Pinterest if all else fails)!


Hopefully, these tricks and alternative wrapping methods will make you want to give a gift to the planet this year by celebrating the holidays in a greener way!

Psttt! Fabric gift wrap (furoshiki and fabric bags) can also be part of the gift, because what could be better than a gift wrapped in a gift?

Coordinator – Distribution of Eco-Friendly Items

Kim Méthot

Having spent her childhood summers camping in the forests of Quebec, Kim quickly understood the interconnectedness and fragility of the environment that surrounds us. Every day, she seeks ways to reduce her impact on the planet and hopes that, by setting an example, others will follow suit. Passionate about cooking, Kim dreams one day of having her own garden in order to strive as much as possible towards food autonomy.

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