November 2021

Smart Holiday Wrapping and Gift Tags

by Susan Tatsui-D’Arcy

Smart Wrapping Paper:
Did you know that wrapping paper is a $2.6 billion dollar industry? With Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa around the corner, millions of pounds of paper will be used to wrap gifts just once and then be piled up in trash cans that line every street around the world. Wasteful! I didn’t realize how much this bothered me until I had a dream about it. When I woke up, I knew exactly what I needed to do. This was kind of like my Eco-Xmas tree dream.  So here’s what I did:
I drove over to Fabrics R Us (a fabric shop) in San Jose to buy 20 yards of red and green satin (about $4/yard). Then I went to the Dollar Tree to buy 100 hair ties and scrunchies. I added a few curtain rods to my Wrapping Room to hang all of the satin squares that I had cut in various sizes. And voilà! I was all set for a paperless Christmas.

Wrapping gifts was a breeze! I just grabbed a satin square and placed the gift item right in the center of it. Then, I pulled all of the fabric up around the gift and tied it off – just like a girl’s pony tail.  With the extra fabric, I would pull it through another loop of the hair tie creating a beautiful “bow.”  It took just 5 seconds to wrap!  No cutting wrapping paper, folding edges, taping ends, or adding ribbons.
The best part, after gifts were opened, we collected all of the satin sheets and then tossed them over the curtain rod so we can reuse them for the next holiday season. We also put all of the hair ties in a Xmas box to be reused again.  

Smart Gift Tags:
Rather than buy gift tags for all of your holidays gifts, make them with your holiday cards from the previous year. Yup!

I love all of the beautiful, funny, and clever cards that we receive every year. Instead of throwing them out and contributing to the 25 million tons of additional garbage that end up at our landfills every December, I reuse them as gift tags the following year.

I save the front of the card and recycle the back part that has writing on it. During the next holiday season, I punch a hole in the card, pull a hair tie through the hole, and attach it to the satin-covered gift. Then I write the receiver’s name on the tag.
Each gift tag is unique and exquisite!  The best part — we don’t cut down any trees, reduce waste at the landfills, and we don’t spend a penny on gift tags!  It’s a win for us AND the planet!

Susan Tatsui-D’Arcy is the founder of Merit Academy (one-on-one classes) and Merit Educational Consultants (college and educational advisory). She has written books on projects, free child care, education, and parenting. Susan hosts TEDxMeritAcademy for students to present their innovative projects and solutions. In 2019, she was the California Mother of the Year.

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