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No holiday scene is complete without beautifully decorated presents, but every year, when the wrapping paper has been torn to shreds and the ground is strewn with ribbon, I feel a little guilty about all that waste. I do what I can: I diligently fluff up old bows whose backs have long lost their stickiness; I squirrel away gift bags left behind at the office exchange to reuse; and I make my own gift tags by cutting up the Christmas cards I received the year before (a trick I learned from my thrifty mother). It’s festive, but the result never comes anywhere close to the color-coordinated stacks of gifts you see in department store windows and shelter magazines. So this year, I went looking for eco-friendly trimmings I could enjoy without remorse and found a plethora of local options. If you’d also like to find a balance between Martha Stewart and Mother Earth, these six Colorado-made products are your ticket.
This two-year-old Colorado company’s 3-in-1 photo cards, a new offering for 2014, take a page out of my mom’s playbook. The simple, elegant cardstock is perforated so the recipient can separate the picture portion and enjoy your photo on the fridge year-round. The messages have tiny hole punch-outs at the top, making them easy to convert into gift tags. If you miss the December 15 deadline to get your prints in time for Christmas, fear not; Artifact Uprising has plenty of New Year’s designs as well. From $1.50 per card
A recent transplant to Denver from Chicago, Lizzie Greco makes her Craftbelly line of gift wrap using paper from a plant in Michigan that is run on hydropower. (The kraft and silver option, pictured, is also made from recycled content.) Her designs are so gorgeous, you may be loath to rip them en route to your present. Luckily, the sturdy 70-pound stock means that if you unwrap carefully, you can reuse or repurpose the dazzling paper. $4.50 per sheet
These classic cotton fiber gift tags, printed on Idea Chíc’s 1930s letterpress in Glendale, double as ornaments for the tree. $6 for three
Or, opt for the “Naughty or Nice” chipboard tags, which are made from recycled materials. $4 for four
Denverite and self-described scrap hoarder Brandy Cattoor fills her Etsy shop with handmade paper goods. She crafts her fiber using the post-consumer paper waste products most of us discard without a second thought: envelopes, coupons, receipts, junk mail, newspaper, and even egg cartons. “The edges are left rough to preserve the handmade quality, and I particularly like crude edges,” Cattoor says. “It brings my products to life.” You can give them a second life (and a third, and a fourth, and a fifth…) by reusing them each year. $3.50
Keep nosy recipients at bay by tying the bags shut with Cattoor’s ribbon, which is made using scraps of hand-painted rice paper and thin strips of kraft paper and held together with a decorative stitch. $5 for 4.5 feet
—From top, photos courtesy of Artifact Uprising, Craftbelly, Idea Chíc (2), and UseLess Paper (2)
Follow copy chief Jessica LaRusso on Twitter at @JessLaRusso.