06 Dec 25 DAYS OF DECEMBER – DAY 6 GIFT WRAPPING
So you may be wondering why we include gift wrapping in our 25 days of December. Well, every year masses of wrapping paper, card, gift bags, tags, bows etc. are brought, used once then thrown away and the majority of this won’t or can’t be recycled so we felt this was an issue worth discussing and offering some solutions to.
This is Holly writing this one and I can tell you that I have not bought a single card or anything to wrap gifts in for the last 2 years, but before we get to how I mange to recycle things to use I want to tell you why I made this choice.
For a start even the idea of sending Xmas, birthday, or any other celebration cards is extremely wasteful but did you know at Christmas in the UK alone we throw away around 1 Billion cards? This is shocking and after all do we really need to send them? With modern day technology I personally choose to send out a Xmas email, Facebook messages or texts, and I actually even one year drew a picture using Microsoft Paint which I then sent out with my Xmas messages to make it a little more personal.
Want to go one step further?
I’ve seen some of my Facebook friends doing this the last 2 years, the money we would normally spend on Xmas or festive cards you can donate it to a charity. You can also then go on to explain to people why you don’t send cards and ask them politely in return to not send you cards. That way you’re not just reducing your waste but reducing what other people are sending out too.
Gift wrap and bags
Gift wrapping and bags can be slightly more tricky when you first start out, but now that I’ve been doing this for 2 years I have a drawer in my bedroom where I have collected tissue paper, gift bags (that people have given me), any sturdy card shopping bags (like the ones often given out in jewellery shops) and magazines.
The first year I decided I was not buying any wrapping things I decided to make my own paper, I had a collection of Vegan Life magazines and I simply took pages of a similar colour so all pastel pink or all white with black text for example and taped them together to make sheets of wrapping paper. I was really impressed with the overall effect and I now use this method to cover small cardboard shopping bags to up-cycle my own gift bags.
Of course once you have a collection of bits it becomes easier because you can use tissue paper that you perhaps received something in, of re use a gift bag etc., another idea I’ve seen is you can buy someone a scarf as a gift and wrap any other gifts in the scarf.
JO SPEAKING HERE
– I’d never considered the huge waste of wrapping paper that occurs every birthday and Christmas, until I spent one Christmas at a friend’s house and witnessed their simple, yet elegant and effective, wrapping solution. They haven’t used a scrap of wrapping paper since about 1971!
Instead of a cupboard of cards, stationary and wrapping paper, their house contains a box stuffed full of gorgeous fabrics accumulated through their lifetime. This includes chequered tea-towels, an old sari, unwanted summer shawls, pocket handkerchiefs…and hundreds of ribbons of all shapes and sizes. They use all these to wrap up their presents for each other. It took me a few goes to learn how to neatly tie up a present with a ribbon, but the end effect is completely gorgeous.
It inspired me to start my own fabric collection with a bee-patterned bath-bomb wrap (from Lush) and a wad of fat-quarters from my local Haberdashery shop, and have never looked back since. I always get complimented on how lovely my gifts look, and it makes present giving just that extra bit more special. The only awkward moment is asking for my fabrics back when they have finished unwrapping! Though if letting them keep the material would inspire them to start a wrapping material collection of their own, then I would gladly let them have it.