While you are frantically opening presents to see what your loved one gave you, try to think about giving a gift to the environment too.

Please, please recycle your wrapping paper, tags, bags and boxes!

Here are some alternatives to traditional paper gift wrap:

Re-use your boxes Previously used gift boxes, shoe boxes, fabric-wrapped storage boxes and any other box laying around are great for "wrapping" gifts. They can also be used for storage later on. Add some fabric ribbon tied in a bow and you have a lovely package. I even use checkbook boxes for small things.

Baskets Pile a bunch of small items into a basket and finish off with fabric ribbon. Do not use a plstic basket bag as using those bags (even the clear ones) is wasteful and cannot be recycled easily.

Cloth Wrap gifts in fabric remnants. You can pick up remnants at most fabric stores. Fold the fabric around the gift and secure with raffia or a fabric ribbon, or sew a simple sac to hold anything from an iPod to a bottle of wine.

Reuse paper Any old stiff paper can be reused as wrapping paper. I've used pages from newspapers, magazine paper, old out-of-date maps, pages from old books and even old artwork my kids do not want anymore.

If you cannot use what's around the house, please recycle your wrapping paper!

I am so anal about recycling wrapping paper that I bring my own trash bag to my in-laws house (where most of the present opening occurs), collect all the wrapping paper and carry it out to my car for drop-off at our local ATIBITI paper bin!

Merry Christmas and happy recycling!