A few years ago my husband and I started buying the gift boxes that are printed like gift wrap. We just put the gift in the box, tape it closed (no peeking!), and put it under the tree. We have been using the same boxes over and over, so there is very little waste.
For those gifts that just won't fit in a box, we do buy 100% recycled wrapping paper and recycle it again afterwards, but I try to minimize that.
A friend of mine last year sewed some sort of reusable gift bags in various sizes. It sounded like a great idea but I don't know how to sew. When my husband and I exchange gifts we always just wrap them up in old pashmina's that were given to me as gifts and I never used. It makes them look pretty for the gift exchange, you unwrap them and put the pashmina right back in the drawer to save for the next holiday.
I've loved the old magazine idea and have been implementing that this year for Hannukah as well as my old pashmina's. It's only been for gifts for my kids and husband so far, but it's been really fun. You can find some really glossy advertisements that work well (eg perfume ads) but it doesn't really matter that much at the end of the day. At least with my 6 year old and 2 year old, they really don't care. I'm enjoying the process though of feeling like I'm doing a tiny bit of good.
The t shirt idea is great too! Maybe I'll get into that more for Christmas.
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