Every year we use rolls and rolls or coloured paper to wrap the presents we give to our loved ones at Christmas. The presents look beautiful under the tree waiting until Christmas morning when the paper is ripped off in a few seconds. What happens to the paper then? Most of it goes into landfill. Maybe this year you could look at some alternatives to keep your presents from those little eyes, or you could recycle the paper as we did when I was growing up.
My Mum would get us to unwrap our presents carefully, trying not to rip the paper. Hard for the littler kids in their excitement. She would then flatten the paper, fold it carefully and put into a box for later use. The paper would be used for next Christmas to wrap presents and to line drawers and shelves in cupboards. It was fun choosing the paper for our drawers. I did carry on this tradition of keeping any ‘good’ paper for the next year, and to line drawers with for many years after I was married. Then the new paper became too thin to even attempt to recycle and most drawers were laminated. So we did what most people do, and had a box of rubbish on Christmas Day from the wrapping paper.
So this year why not use a more sustainable way to wrap all your presents and reduce the waste on Christmas day.
The Budding Treehugger
Use all the wrapping paper you already have. Most of us have a roll or two of wrapping paper stored in the cupboard that has been left over from the previous year. Use this up first.
Another option is any old newspaper, magazines or paper bags you have laying around the house, you can get creative and decorate however you desire.
Wrapping gifts in fabric is fun and practical, use tea towels, face washers, pillowcases, sheets, tablecloths, scarves or old curtains for large items. The fabric can be knotted or tied with ribbon or string. The fabric can be used again or it may be part of the present that you are gifting. In Japan, wrapping gifts in fabric is very popular and this art is called ‘furoshiki’.
Now it is the end of the calendar year, do you have some 2015 calendars with truly beautiful images? Instead of throwing out your calendars use the pictures for wrapping Christmas presents, or an old road atlas or book of road maps can provide almost endless wrapping paper options.
For any of us with children or grandchildren, we often get inundated with amazing pieces of art, rather than sneaking them into the rubbish when no one it looking, why not turn them into wrapping paper and spread the love and joy of creative art. It may be polite to ask your child first if they are prepared to use their masterpiece to wrap presents.
Recycled bottles are also a wonderful way to gift smaller items and the options for decorating are truly limitless.