Each year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans produce an extra five million tons of trash, including 38,000 miles of ribbon—enough to tie a bow around the earth. But with a little creativity and planning, much of this waste can be prevented. Start by saving old wrapping paper, bows, and ribbon to reuse next year. Don’t throw out wrapping paper just because it’s torn; you can strategically place bows and ribbon over the ripped areas.
If you must use new gift wrap, buy recycled paper. Also consider using bags, cloth gift wrap, gift boxes, and baskets. Each person can add his or her own decoration to these pass-along items, giving the exchange a personal dimension and history. Gift bags, boxes, and cloths can last through at least five gifts, while baskets can last forever or be kept and used for something else.