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Throw a bow on it: Green alternatives for gift-wrap

With the growing popularity of eco-friendly event planning, many of us are searching for ever more creative ways to get down with Mother Nature while getting down with our friends. What's arguably going to have the most impact? Gift-wrap, of course.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas reaps 25 percent more curb-side trash in the form of gift-wrap, the Calgary Herald reports. And even during off-peak season, it's not hard to imagine what those scraps and bags are doing if they're not being re-gifted.

Opt for eco-friendly gift-wrap instead - this means fair-trade products, biodegradable paper and materials made from bamboo, hemp or banana fiber paper, the news source reports. As for the bows and frills? It's generally advisable to skip the extras, unless you can use earth-friendly materials such as twine, silk, cotton, hemp or bamboo.

That being said, anything reusable is likely going to win you the most brownie points. Eco-friendly tote bag favors are great for handing out gifts to guests - plus, they'll function as a handy and stylish handbag for years to come.