Zero Waste Christmas: Sycamore Leaf Tags

As Christmas comes closer, less than a week away now, some of us are wrapping up our last few presents. In an effort to keep our Christmas as close to zero waste as possible, I not only chose craft paper for wrapping so that it can be recycled–also keeping a simple look for presents–I am using natural items for decorating our packages. We found all of my package decorations in nature to minimize our impact on nature during the holiday season.


One of my favorite decorations that we created thus far is our reuse of sycamore leaves as gift tags. For some packages, I wrote names in pen directly on the paper to keep from using sticky tags that are difficult to remove from the paper and are not recyclable.

Sycamore leaves are perfect for this purpose, as my partner assured me while she looked out for them at work to bring several home, because they are large enough to fill the front of a package and let you paint names on the front as well. They are also thick enough to hold up to being tied in place; be careful if using dry leaves, however, as all of them will eventually give in to cracking and breaking with enough force.


I used simple white acrylic paint, and the leaves were the perfect canvas: smooth enough for clean writing without a template without absorbing the paint. While I am not confident that I can reintroduce the entire leaf back into nature with the painted sections still attached, I can remove the painted sections if needed and drop them off beneath their original tree for decomposition.


A simple cut of jute ties the leaves to the packages without breaking the stems as well; though, you will need a double knot before tying a bow to ensure the stem does not pull the jute loose. If it is too difficult to tie around the stem, it is easier and works just as well to slip the stem beneath the knot so that the jute holds it against the package.

What zero waste or natural decor have you incorporated this year?


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