So, Christmas is almost upon us. The excitement in my house is palpable.
While I, too, am getting in the holiday spirit, I am also mindful of the many tasks that lie ahead. Inevitably I will put off wrapping until the last minute; I’ll be up late, late on Christmas eve for sure.
One of my strongest memories of childhood Christmases is of my beloved grandmother rushing around with a basket, collecting and neatly folding wrapping paper for reuse the following year. At the time I viewed this as a bizarre annoyance. Now, of course, I do the same.
Except I can’t collect the paper from my own presents, because I typically don’t use any. I have become a massive fan of fabric wrapping. It’s much quicker (critical at 2am on Christmas morning), less wasteful and the materials can easily be stored year on year.
I use lengths of fabric, old scarves and, to the extent that I have them, proper Japanese furoshiki cloths. There are numerous fancy ways to use cloths for wrapping, but I tend to opt for the basic method of cross-tying the diagonal corners. Not creative, but functional.
I also maintain a stock of fabric bags. My mother in law made a buch of drawstring bags a while back and I have guarded these with my life. I have also added to my stock from the dollar store and elsewhere, though it is hard to find large-size fabric bags at a reasonable price (and I am too lazy to make them myself). If you are prepared to invest a bit here, Etsy has a huge range of options, of course.
If I run out of fabric bits and bags, my next choice is to use old pictures stored up from when my kids were in kindergarten. If you are a parent and your kids were lucky enough to have a teacher who liked paint (and mess) you will almost certainly have brought home stacks and stacks of artwork which you will have had a hard time throwing out. At last a win-win solution: home-made wrapping paper!
There are a number of other great options, including decorated newsprint or brown paper bags. If you are more organised and patient than me, you can make these look really fancy. See this TreeHugger post for some great suggestions (if you can handle the slow scrolling through pages, which I hate, on TreeHugger posts). The point is that you can give attractive looking gifts and still conserve resources (the big factoid from the net is that if every US family wrapped just 3 gifts in recycled materials, we would save the equivalent of 45,000 paper-covered football fields).
My last plea: please don’t use that shiny plastic wrap. It screams out land-fill even as it sucks up needles from your tree with its static field.
Now I have to go and wrap….Merry Christmas!