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Holidays, Re-Use, Recycling, Sustainability

Do Something Just a Little Radical for Christmas! Idea #1: Ditch the Wrapping Paper

Try using found patterned cloth instead of wrapping paper. Re-use is by far the best way to stop waste!

This evening I had a Skype conference chat with two really creative people I know, Suzanne Rex and Anna Flournoy, who are also motivated to try to save this endangered planet of ours. I suggested we all do something a little radical this Christmas. We’re going to share our ideas over the next 9 days.
Our first idea is to ditch the obsession with wrapping papers. We went online and found these statistics, which I hope make you think before purchasing wrapping paper ever again:
Each year in the United States, 4 million tons go from logs to landfills to make wrapping paper and holiday shopping bags, according to the Clean Air Council. Washington Post article, 2008

Household waste jumps an astounding 25 percent between Thanksgiving and the New Year, according to the EPA. That excess “25 percent” totals 1 million tons of trash.
Alternatives to Wrapping Paper
Suzanne suggests making your own wrapping paper using a read newspaper or other recycled materials. She also suggests wrapping things in old boxes or cartons…found objects in your home. (glass jars, funky boxes)

Anna suggested splatter-painted newspaper (watercolor, acrylic, or dyes). And she’s done some beautiful ones that people have hardly wanted to open for not wanting to damage her works of art! She also suggests using  a cool shirt or tshirt found at a thrift store,  especially stores that benefit shelters or other non profits. She cuts the pretty patterned or sparkly cloth and wraps with it, tying it off with cloth ribbon, also plentiful at thrift stores. Her final suggestion is to gather  random papers and decorate with inspirational quotes written in marker.   

My suggestion is to start saving bows, ribbons and neatly folded, carefully removed gift wrapping paper this year. To that, Suzanne added that, “This is what my brother does,  and people every year look forward to the ritual….He waits until someone opens their package, and then he grabs the wrapping paper and wraps his present.  He throws on some twine or duct tape and voila!”
Hooray for Suzanne’s brother! He makes it fun to defy a silly, yet widely adhered to tradition. Tell me what you do!
Get involved!
Check out the Katonah Green Calendar on the left hand side of the blog.
Come on out to to the Local Guys Cook Series at Gossett’s Indoor Farm Market, this Saturday! You’ll always find me there!
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  • Meet like-minded local people who care about the environment: join the Meetup group
  • Join the conversation: KatonahGreen on Facebook

About Heather Flournoy

I am a writer, social media connoisseur, environmentalist and professional marketer. My personal blog is and my professional website is I love people's stories, and a passionate cultivator of connections, both for myself and helping others to connect. Tell me who you are, what your story is, and I'll tell you who you should talk to. In my own view, I know some of the most interesting, colorful and profound people in the world. You know who you are. Besides all the above, I am proud to say I am a working class single mother who raised a beautiful daughter. I connect deeply with animals, especially horses. I love music, coffee shops, farmer's markets, growing my own food, sustainable agriculture, broad thinkers, the healing arts, and dive diners.


4 thoughts on “Do Something Just a Little Radical for Christmas! Idea #1: Ditch the Wrapping Paper

  1. I grew up in a family nearly obsessed with saving and reusing wrapping paper. My father was SOOO careful about opening his gifts, so as not to ruin the paper, that we stopped using scotch tape on anything for him! And yes, we had a big box of saved ribbons and bows as well!

    Posted by Kari Lonning | December 16, 2009, 12:30 am
  2. I just watched this – it’s right in line with your packaging idea. I use these Baggu bags everyday!

    Posted by Kari Lonning | December 16, 2009, 11:37 am
  3. Check out our organic cotton gift bags and gift totes at Near & Natural market in Bedford Village.
    Our products are made of 100% organic cotton, sewn locally in NY, and reusable!
    Also on the web at

    Posted by Jessica Meller | December 16, 2009, 5:44 pm
  4. One more thought – Paper, Plastic, or Canvas? (Are the glut of reusable, designer bags another form of excess?)

    That’s it I’ll let other people write.

    Posted by Kari Lonning | December 17, 2009, 10:26 pm

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Who is Behind the Curtain?

Heather Flournoy is the main author, social media wiz, and community organizer behind KatonahGreen. Hover over the image for more information.

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