Americans use 38,000 miles of ribbon to wrap gifts each year and 4 million tons of gift wrap and shopping bags. We are so programed as Americans to waste. Think about how much we buy, just to throw away. Cards, gifts wrap etc. I am the one my family makes fun of on Christmas because I unwrap the gifts so carefully to save the wrap to use again.
This year I made a vow to not buy any kind of wrapping paper, and I don't get gift boxes. I make fabric gift bags that can be used for years...the gift you keep on giving. You can also use beautiful tins for all kinds of gifts. And for my family I am wrapping in news print and comic's and it's actually amazing how beautiful the gifts look. Add a real ribbon, or fuzzy yarn and that too can be used again and again.
For gift tags, save the cards from the year before and cut them in the desired size, punch a hole with a puncher and add a ribbon.
My tree is a fake, and not a very realistic one. I would much rather buy a live tree, but opted to use what I have this year. To make it more appealing I add a lot of dried, real flowers that I grew last summer. My daughter always picks the vintage glass balls for ornaments. I wanted to share some facts on Artificial and real trees. Artificial trees never biodegrade, and include potentially harmful material. REAL tree's are good for the environment. While they grow, they're absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, stabilizing soil and providing habitats for wildlife. You can buy local to support local tree farms, and most fake tree's come from another country so they're shipped long distances.
After the season, real trees can be used as mini habitats for birds and other small creatures. Use them for mulch to retain moisture and improve soil conditions. They are 100% biodegradable.