REDUCE! REUSE! RECYCLE! - Cards, Gift Wrap & Tag

Wrap gifts in the funny pages or old posters. Or how about an old Clock or a magazine page with your friend's favorite celebrity?

Get creative and design your own wrapping paper using paper shopping bags: decorate them with paints, crayons, or markers. If you use traditional gift wrapping, always buy recycled-content wrapping paper. If your store doesn't sell recycled-content wrapping paper, ask the manager to order it in the future.

Replace new tissue paper with old lace and fabric, strips of paper shopping bags, or even used gift wrap.

If you send holiday cards, buy recycled-content cards and envelopes. Or make your own cards out of last year's and the wrapping paper you saved. If you have access to the Internet, then why not try sending electronic Christmas cards?

Wrap gifts in a drawstring bag and use an inexpensive homemade gift tag. Decorate oversized or hard to wrap gifts with just a bow that can be used again. Make the wrapping part of the gift.

For the sewing enthusiast, wrap a gift in a fabric remnant and tie it with a piece of lace or ribbon.

Any kitchen gift can be wrapped in a colorful dish towel. Kitchen utensils can pop out of an oven mitt. Place home-baked cookies in a reusable tin box, a kitchen container, or a decorated oatmeal box.

Search the flea market, garage sales, and thrift stores for interesting old boxes that can be used as decorative packages. Search the attic for old family photos and mementos and give them to your favorite relative wrapped in grandma's old hat and a lace curtain.

Use recycled wrapping paper or wrap your presents with ribbon or wool rather than using sticky tape so that the wrappings can then be saved for next year.

Spruce up brown paper wrapping with pretty bows, which can be saved and used for many years.

Purchase sturdier gift bags (or save the ones that you receive) that can be used again for another present.

Save those gift boxes and use them again. Many gift boxes fold down and take little room to store in a closet or cabinet.

Start a tradition of Christmas stockings for each person. Little gifts can be put in the stocking without being wrapped. The stockings can be used year after year.

Some gifts come in decorated gift boxes. Just add a bow and a gift tag, and the present is ready to be dis-played.

Wrap items together, rather than individually, so you don‘t use as much wrapping paper.

Cut down on what you buy. Gift tags can be made from old greetings cards. Any kind of unusual paper can be used to wrap gifts.

Use pinking shears (or even plain old straight safety scissors!) to cut old Christmas cards and make tags for presents next year.

Recycle any paper, or cards that you dispose of over Christmas and the New Year (But remember - you can only dispose of wrapping paper and cards that do not contain glitter or foil!)

Bows, bags, fabrics, newspaper comics, magazines and decorative boxes can be used for gift wrap. These items can also be used for holiday décor, and reused every year. If you don‘t feel like reusing your wrapping for gifts, run it through a paper shredder and use the result as colorful packing material.