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Creative wrapping and wooden trees: Here are some genius ideas for a more sustainable Christmas.

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After the absolute mess that has been 2020, I'm tired. I'm ready for the holidays to come, like, right now.

I'm not always that into Christmas, but this year I feel weirdly nostalgic and excited to get stuck into it. But let's be honest, wrapping paper and decorations can mean A LOT OF waste. 

So I set myself a challenge to try do it a little more sustainably this year. Here are seven of my favourite gift-wrapping and decorating hacks (and yes, there's one involving le grand toilet roll, the unofficial icon of 2020)...

1. Go hunting around your own home.

My first tip would be to take a good look around your house. Collect anything that could be reused - old cardboard, secondhand wrapping paper, bags, pens, paint…. You name it. Reusable calico bags from when you went shopping and you kept in your bottom drawer? Add a bit of string or ribbon and you’ve got yourself a rustic wrapped gift.

Gather everything you find together in a pile and start getting creative. I found these bits and bobs in random draws throughout my house and decided to set myself a challenge to turn them into the perfect Christmas present wrapping for my dad.

Image: Supplied.

Take any old bag you have and put your gift contents inside. Next, bundle it all together with some string/ribbon/anything you can to tie it together. I found some old wrapping paper I had saved from an old present but it was awkwardly small and a bit ripped. To make it look fresh, I folded it into a thin stirp then stuck that onto the top of the bag. This is a good tip for covering any branding and making the gift look ‘new’.

Next, I popped a card on top and got a bit of greenery to finish it off. The total process took me less than five minutes, and I felt good as it was all reusable (the best part is the reusable bag can even be used to stash any other presents or things to take home on the day, so it becomes really functional as well as sustainable!).

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Image: Supplied.

If you don’t have any old bags hanging around like I did, I also love this idea of using tea towels or old fabric as wrapping. It takes under a minute and you could even add some ribbon or a scarf to finish it off.

If you’re packing or sending any of the gifts you’ve wrapped, also be conscious to reuse internal packaging wherever possible. Make sure you choose the right size box or satchel for your gifts, and if you are sending multiple things to one place then consider using just one box. Australia Post has tonnes of great recycled packing options here

2. Reuse, reuse, reuse!

Another way to reduce waste is to look at investing in reusable items. Things like napkins and Christmas crowns often get thrown in the bin after every Christmas lunch or dinner, contributing to a massive amount of waste. This awesome idea from a lady startup called Maybe Mazie means you can dress up and have fun while cutting down on the amount of rubbish you’re generating.

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Christmas trees are also a reusable item that I think are worth investing in. For a sustainable option consider a tree made from wood, my personal favourite are these eco-friendly ones from One Two Tree - easy to set up and they look great with or without decorations. 

3. Send your presents using recyclable packaging

If you have family overseas or interstate and you can’t see them this Christmas, sending gifts is the next best thing. In 2020, Australia Post has overhauled its plastic packaging range, so it’s now made of recycled plastic content - which is pretty freaking cool, and means you don’t have to feel guilty about packaging.

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The If It Packs, It Posts recyclable plastic satchel range comes in Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large, and is charged at a flat postage rate for items up to 5kg.

Their plastic satchels are also fully recyclable - you can drop a used satchel into a REDcycle bin located in more than 1800 major supermarkets across Australia.


4. Let your toilet rolls do the talking.

I saw this fun hack for making Christmas crackers last year, and I have it saved it on my phone so I never forget. Using toilet rolls, ribbon and leftover packaging, it’s a fun way to make your own crackers with things that ordinarily might be ‘rubbish’. Genius!

Or if you're just looking to bring some cheer to those moments on the loo, check out Wipe That's fun Christmas collection starring... a walking defecation name Poocci.




5. Add some green.

My favourite Christmas DIY hack, whether it’s for decorations or wrapping, is to use greenery. Raid your street for any leaves/bushes you can cut a twig from (just smile at the neighbours, I'm sure they won't mind... OK, get consent!). You can then use it in a vase, or on top of a special present to give it a special rustic feel.

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Another way to make greenery feel very festive, is to tie a few stems together and create a funky, sustainable Christmas wreath to hang up. This is one I made with a star frame from Kikki.K

Wreath. Image: Supplied.

6. Candles make anything look pretty.

Candles are my secret decorating weapon, and ALWAYS, without fail, make a space feel special. If you want to give your space a bit of festive cheer, the quickest and easiest way to do this sustainably, without spending much at all is with tealights. Grab them from the supermarket and pop them into any leftover glasses/jars/cups you have. Light them and watch your whole space transform. 

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7. Ditch the wrapping all together… after all, LESS is more.

One of the best ways to help the environment this festive season is to reduce the amount of packaging you use. This might mean that you can actually ditch the ‘wrapping’ all together. Instead of wrapping presents that you are going to send in the post, consider including a handwritten note in your present and treating your box as your wrapping paper. You could even pin a nice Christmas ornament to the note too, instead of using a gift tag.

To add a personal touch I like the idea of drawing on the outside of the post bag, which makes it a very special package to receive in the mail. Australia Post has these great recycled padded bags - the brown paper makes it super easy to draw/write on, or if you have kids, then give them some pens and let them go wild. Just be careful where you decorate (i.e. nowhere near the address or barcode areas) so it doesn't interfere with the delivery process.

Image: Supplied.

So that’s a wrap on my sustainable Christmas hacks. If you have any of your own, let us know in the comments below!

Head into your local Australia Post or online to buy recycled packaging this Christmas. When done, recycle the packaging through REDcycle.

Australia Post
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