1. Green your greeting cards. Nearly 7.5 billion greeting cards are sold in this country every year, and most of them wind up in a landfill.
If you have greeting cards left over from last year, reuse them! You can either use the front of the card as a stand alone "greeting postcard" or you can always take a piece of construction paper, paste it over the part that's been written on, and there you go! A fresh new card awaits.
Other options include using tree-free paper greetings or recycled paper greetings. And yet another option is to use something like ReProduct's "Zero Waste" Photo Cards.
Or of course, you can always save all the paper and the postage and just go with an e-greeting!
Or...you can put thin cardboard boxes to great use (think Annie's Cheddar Bunnies type of box). Decorate & embellish the cardboard into your own greeting cards by covering up the image side and using the brown side to write your message on...this has allot more thought & meaning put into it rather than selecting a mass-produced card off the shelf. And it's fun to do as well!
2. Green your gift wrap.
If you're an upcycler, you might consider wrapping your gifts in newspaper. You might also try saving packing paper which you can decorate yourself! Another idea for upcycled wrapping is using old maps.
Or if you opt for paper bags instead of plastic while out shopping, you can use your paper bags to make your own pretty wrapping paper. The brown paper lends an old fashioned charm (...brown paper packages, tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things.) Do this by cutting off the bottom of the bag and cutting down a seam...then, using festive stamps, cut outs, glitter, etc. get creative and start decorating. When your finished and everything is dry, wrap away! You can have allot of fun with this and you can even get the entire family involved in making wrapping paper together.
Reusable gift bags are always a great option as they can get used over and over again. You could even try giving a gift inside of a gift! Meaning, gift a canvas bag too! That way, your loved one gets a bonus with the reusable shopping bag.
If you really have to go with paper wrapping (and if the Sunday funnies don't quite cut it), Paporganics, Nubius Organics, and Green Field Paper offer tree-free and recycled gift wrap paper. .
Recycle old magazines by making gift bows out of them...all for the low cost of a pack of brads. This link will show you how...
3. Save the boxes! If someone gives you a sweater inside a store box, save the box to reuse for your next gift giving occasion. These boxes are generally collapsible, so require very minimal storage space, but will keep boxes from the landfill and will reduce the number of new boxes that need to be produced. If you are crafty and/or patient, you could affix wrapping paper to the outside of the box, or use some paints to create your own design- now you will have a pretty gift box that will hopefully be reused again and again.