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You can wrap Christmas gifts more cheaply and with less waste

Zero Waste Sooke hosts demonstration on Sunday
Zero Waste Sooke hosts a demonstration on Furoshiki – the ancient Japanese art of cloth gift wrapping – at the Sooke library on Sunday (Dec. 18) from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. (

Most of us have felt despair after Christmas about the amount of waste generated.

In terms of generating waste in our homes, the Christmas season dominates. Household waste increases by more than 25 per cent in December. Here are some tips from Zero Waste Sooke on ways to have a garbage-less Christmas.

If you are buying a gift for someone, make sure it is something that the person needs, wants, will wear or use. Please ask. It is easy to duplicate or select the wrong style, size, or item here, where we have more stuff than we can handle. It then sits in a drawer or basement until it is thrown away.

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For folks who don’t want or need anything, gift something that can be used up, such as homemade jam or cookies, a basket of handmade or locally made personal care products, a meaningful photograph in a stylish frame or books (new or used).

Gift certificates for services (babysitting, lawn mowing, dinner-making) or to a local store or eatery or tickets to a play or concert or classes to learn new skills are a great way of keeping it in the community and also being relevant (and leaving no garbage).

Ideally, if we venture into the big-box store fray, we are not seduced by brands and advertising claims, which are usually designed to target kids. This could be an opportune time to gently remind children, who are excited about all they see, that today’s “must-haves” are often tomorrow’s trash. Literally. The stats on how long the average Christmas gift lasts post-Dec. 25 are not encouraged as in weeks, not even months or years.

Think about swapping plastic trees, wreaths and lawn ornaments for something more biodegradable. Look online for clever DIY seasonal decorations created from natural and scrap materials that you can enjoy making with kids.

Waste-free ways of wrapping gifts can also be a fun kid activity. Try: 1. colourful newspaper; 2. old posters; 3. used packing paper, ironed and decorated with paints or crayons; 4. jars, tins, boxes, baskets, gift bags and cloth ribbon from the thrift store; 5. a used scarf, shawl or other cloth. For a lovely way to use these, check out Zero Waste Sooke’s Furoshiki (the ancient Japanese art of cloth gift wrapping) demonstration at the Sooke library on Sunday (Dec. 18) from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

If you can tie a knot, you can do furoshiki. Bring a scarf or other festive material and a gift to wrap if you like.


Submitted by Zero Waste Sooke.

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