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It's a Wrap!

Date: 11-Dec-13

Christmas wrapping can be beautiful and kind to the environment © Jess McCallum

Christmas wrapping can be beautiful and kind to the environment

The festive season is synonymous with fun and with over-indulgence. We eat, drink, party and buy more than any other time of the year. It's also when we're toughest on the environment due to the extra waste we generate and the extra resources we consume. But there are plenty of ways we can help reduce that impact and Planet Ark's 12 DOs of Christmas is here to help.

Beautifully wrapped gifts have charm but expensive wrapping paper needn't be involved. With a little bit of creativity, time and effort, you can save money and earn compliments. Here at Planet Ark our staff use various ways to reduce waste but also make sure presents look fun and inviting sitting under the Chrissy tree.

Brad, our Head of Campaigns, is known to wrap presents, especially for kids, in newspaper comics. They're fun, colourful, reused and recyclable. Freya, our Business Development Manager, is a fan of the Furoshiki technique, which embraces the idea of giving a "gift in a gift". Use a nice tea towel or beautifully printed cloth as the wrapping and they get to keep both. And Janet, our Recycling Campaigns Manager, is into embellishments. Recycled paper, old buttons and fabric off cuts can all be used to jazz up your gifts.

Make Your Own

But it's Jess, our PR and Media Coordinator, who leads the way with her cute and easy peasy potato-stamp decorating! To create your own, or to get the kids to make it, all you need is:

  • Some recycled brown paper
  • Cookie cutters (Christmas themed if available)
  • A large raw potato (washed)
  • Craft paint
  • A sharp craft knife


  1. Roll out your recycled brown paper onto a flat surface (make sure it's protected from paint spills)
  2. Cut your potato in half with a sharp knife so you have the foundations of 2 potato stamps (making sure the slice is as even as possible so you have a flat-edged stamp)
  3. Press a cookie cutter shape into the flesh side of the potato and score around the outside, cutting away the edges to leave you with the decoration shaped stamp.
  4. Dab the stamp into the craft paint (or apply generously with a paintbrush)
  5. Press the painted side of the potato onto your brown paper and decorate as you wish, moving along the wrap as far as necessary. The potato stamp is washable and you can reapply different coloured paint to vary your wrap design.
  6. Allow the paper to dry thoroughly before using or rolling up to save for later.

And voila! Your very own handmade, environmentally-kind Christmas wrap!

Check out the 12 DOs of Christmas website to find ways others ways of reducing your footprint this Christmas.

How do you celebrate Christmas keeping nature in mind? Send us your best tips and we'll share on our social media network!

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