Sunday, 13 December 2009

Sustainable Gift Wrap

As I wrote last year, I’ve never been happy with the concept of the incredibly brief buy-use once-throw away cycle of Christmas wrapping paper, or at least not for a long time. Other than try to salvage the bows and the larger bits of paper to re-use, however, I never tried anything different until last year, when I bought some off-white curtains and used the fabric in place of wrapping paper. I only used it on Bill’s presents, but this year I plan to expand its use a bit more just to see how it goes over. There are still rolls of regular Christmas paper, so the change over will be gradual. None of Bill’s kids seem very interested in thrift or the environment, though come to think of it, Simon and Rhiannon planted runner beans as soon as they had a garden and Helen’s husband Martin has potential. He keeps their heating bills at an impressive minimum and they snuggle under a blanket to watch TV. That said, he’s also been to the US something like 32 times in his rather short life -- more times than I’ve been there – mostly to Vegas, but that’s another subject.

I’ve never been any good at making paper cards. Not only do I lack the cutting and gluing skills required, but paper doesn’t inspire me. One year when I was doing some last minute wrapping and couldn’t find any gift tags I found that one could cut rectangular bits from Christmas cards that fit the bill. Later I used a craft knife and a ruler to do this en masse and added a thread loop in one corner using a threaded needle. A few evenings of this entertaining pastime has given me a large envelope full which should last me a few years, particularly as I gift the same people each year and sometimes manage to salvage a few tags along with the paper.

Not everyone has a sewing stash of ribbons, though I suspect looking out for this sort of thing at thrift shops, estate sales, eBay and the like, one could acquire such a thing. Mine is the accumulation of Mom's and my sewing supplies, supplemented in a big way by Rita's vast collection, which has been wonderfully useful and fun to use. Bias tape and laces could also work. I’ve often used red or green yarn. I keep seeing craft articles about how to make pompoms that would look good on some packages. I've also read about people cutting strips of coloured plastic bag (and it does work) or even strips of fabric to use as ribbons.

I’ve no doubt Bill’s children, along the few others I send gifts in the US, think I’m a bit loopy but that’s fine with me. I like to think I introduce them to some novel ideas, some of which might be useful to them in future. I also like to think that I’m establishing the Christmas tradition that love and creativity are more important in this house than money and convention.


Anonymous said...

I am using a lot of bags form the dollar store, recycled as many times as possible. Have also taken gift wrap paper cut in a rectangle for name tags.

Anonymous said...

As last year, all presents will be wrapped in Jenni's beautiful offcuts of materials. Jen and Tim also do the same. Advantage is that presents are unwrapped at our house so fabric is just put downstairs in my craft room for use in projects later. You should see the wonderful fabric that has arrived recently! Jen's company has just been sold to a fabric house so she is doing a big tidy up at work.

Happy2help said...
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Struggler said...

Last year, my husband wrapped my gifts in pages from a glossy magazine. He did surprisingly well at getting some beautiful images on there!