One of the most exciting moments at Christmas is looking at a big pile of presents under the tree. Who can resist that colourful and shiny paper, the ribbons, bows and bright gift tags? We want to rip straight through that paper and get to the treasure hidden inside!
Once the ripping frenzy is over we're left surrounded by mounds of shredded shiny stuff. Some of it might have been opened carefully and kept, or a special tag put aside for remembrance. Other than that, we no longer care what happens to the outer wrapping and forget about it. Where does it all go however?
Let's Investigate Wrappings
This year, I invite you to think about it before you wrap it. Before you go out to your local store and grab a dozen rolls of wrapping paper, think about this:
Have you ever added up the actual cost of buying wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, gift tags, sticky tape, embossed seals, etc?
What do you do with the left over paper - throw it out or store it? If you store it, where do you keep it that it will stay in good condition for a year?
How much wrapping paper gifted to you do you personally keep?
How much of that wrapping paper do you actually reuse?
Have you ever given any thought to what happens to all that rubbish once it's been emptied out of your bin?
Don't worry, I'm not about to give you a huge lecture on recycling and saving our planet. But if you check out some of the links above, you might be surprised at what you find! What it boils down to is:
Save money, time, your sanity and the planet by selectively wrapping those gifts!
I get it - wrapping gifts can be fun (for some of us) and it's part of the appeal to make them look attractive. Children in particular would feel deprived if they couldn't rip off that shiny layer! Did you know though, that some children (especially those with Autism) don't like wrapped presents? If you'd like to know more about that particular joy, feel free to send me an email!
So how can you make conscientious choices when it comes to presenting your gifts?
Use good quality, recyclable paper that can be reused. Stay away from plastic films and glitter as they can't be recycled.
Decorate plain brown packing paper. There are heaps of ideas on the internet which can spark your creativity.
Reuse wrapping paper that's been given to you. Cut it to size, use two different sheets for a special effect or turn it upside down for something different!
Keep tissue paper that you get with your shopping, and use that to wrap presents. Keep reading for tips on how to decorate it!
Try different types of paper - magazines, newspapers, old maps or sheet music, advertising flyers - the list is endless. Be creative in how you wrap and decorate to make it stand out.
Get your kids to do some drawings on butcher's paper or keep their school artwork. You can use those to wrap the present, and grandparents in particular will love it!
Use eco friendly sticky tape or get some cute Washi tape (just not the glittery ones).
Use fabric instead of paper. While you can reuse old clothes and manchester, it might earn you a funny look. How about using scarves, ties, new socks or handkerchiefs instead? Gifting to a sewing or quilting enthusiast? Use quilting blocks or fabric lengths to wrap your gift. The Japanese have made this into an art form - Furoshiki.
Decorations and Tags
Skip the non-recyclable bows and gift tags, and try these ideas instead:
Raffia - you can get it in paper or the traditional palm tree leaf type. The receiver of your gift can reuse it, or if they throw it away at least it will decompose.
Paper - fold reused wrapping paper into pretty shapes to decorate your gift. Cut gift tags out of it or use origami inspiration for a bow. Make paper chains to decorate your house with last year's Christmas wrap.
Fabric - use strips of fabric as ribbons and bows. Recycle old teatowels, sheets and even clothes - as long as they're clean!
Recycle old Christmas decorations as gift bling.
Instead of store bought gift tags, re-purpose last year's Christmas cards. Cut out the pretty picture on the front and write on the back. You can even use decorative scissors to cut it and attach it with your raffia.
Use seeded paper for gift tags and it will leave a lasting memory!
Instead of wrapping your gift, why not try some of these ideas?
Box it up. Most discount stores have a good selection of gift boxes of all different sizes. Not only will it avoid the problem of trying to wrap a weird shaped gift, but it doubles as another gift! The box itself can be regifted, or used for storage - especially if you're a KonMarie enthusiast! You can also re-purpose boxes that have been shipped to you by jazzing them up a bit.
Bag it - don't buy your regular gift bag though. Give a reuseable shopping or tote bag as an extra gift. Use brown paper bags and decorate them with flowers, ink stamp them or even cut shapes out of the bag. Invest in a sturdy 'Santa Sack' or Christmas stocking that will last for years, and put your kids' presents in that. Recycle an unused pillow case by tie-dying, stamping it or even sewing some bling onto it.
Give it 'nude'. Buy gifts that don't need wrapping at all and present them with a flourish. Look for flowers, pot plants, pretty candle holders, or gifts already packed for you. Minimise 'stuff' by gifting things that will get used up or provide a memorable experience. Quick tip: Mason jars filled with ingredients for chocolate chip cookies are always a hit!
Wrapping it all up
Cutting down on Christmas costs and waste doesn't have to be painful. A bit of creative thinking, forethought and the willingness to try something new and different goes a long way. We'd love to hear some of your tips for re-purposing and re-using, so why not drop us a line below?