Your Little Bit of Good - For the Earth December 2 2023

Hands holding a gift wrapped in beige linen fabric on blue background


Living God, you call us to be good stewards of this earthly home, strengthen us to care for your creation; forgive us when, through our greed and indifference we abuse its beauty and damage its potential. Empower us, through your Spirit to so nurture and love the world, that all creation sings to your glory. Amen. 

Prayer from the Church of England


I wouldn't say I like wrapping presents. I’m just no good at it. It always looks like a 5-year-old did it. I love doing ribbons, though. I have fun finding new and different ways of decorating packages. Last year I wondered if I could recycle that ribbon. This year, I decided to find out. Not only can I not recycle that ribbon, but did you know most Christmas wrapping paper is not recyclable? Quite aside from the foil type wrap, even the regular type of gift wrap has so much dye that it is difficult or impossible to recycle. The glitter on most gift wraps and greeting cards is tiny plastic that will find its way into our soil and water. I should write my local recycling management company and apologize for all the gift wrap I have put in the recycle can.

It is estimated that 4.6 million pounds of gift wrap is used in the US every year. Most of that ends up in the landfill. 30 million trees are cut down every year to produce gift wrap. Yes, every year! 25% more waste is created in US households between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And if all that wasn’t bad enough, over 2.6 billion Christmas cards are sold annually in the US. That is a lot of paper and envelopes.

If you are like me, you’ve not really given it much thought before. But now that you know, perhaps you could make your Christmas preparations a bit more sustainable this year. Perhaps we can all try to look for recyclable paper the next time we buy. And, it’s important to close the recycling loop by purchasing paper made from recycled material. This goes also for greeting cards. (I guess I will no longer bless my friends and family with the gift of glitter.)

As for the beautiful ribbon I love so much, I may have to look into a less shiny version the next time I need to purchase it. I could choose hemp or twine. Or, maybe I could learn the Japanese art of furoshiki – gift wrapping with fabric.


Look into the reality of wrapping paper and other holiday décor. I have found two interesting articles among many; one at Reader’s Digest and the other from a UUC Church in Columbia MD. Here is an article out of the UK with more details if you want to know the full story. Greenily also has great information and tips.

There are many sources of sustainable gift-wrapping supplies. I like the ones at Wrappily. It is recycled, recyclable, and compostable. But you can get sustainable gift wraps from Target or Amazon too. Of course, they will likely mail it to you in a plastic bag, so it may defeat the purpose.

Learn the art of wrapping with fabric. Here is a video tutorial. There are many others on the web.

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