I overheard a conversation this month:
“We need to go buy wrapping paper tomorrow.”
“Wrapping paper. Why?”
“Uh, because you’re going to wrap my presents before you give them to me, that’s why.”
Which got my little green mind to thinking….why do presents have to be wrapped in wrapping paper? Because of tradition? Because that’s what we remember as kids? Because that’s what’s expected or what we’ve always done? My husband says, “Why do they have to be wrapped at all?”
The last week of December, take a leer outside on the curb. In Norfolk, our neighborhood trash cans overflowed with holiday wrapping paper used one time and then thrown away! The holidays are as festive as you make them. Gifts can be wrapped in anything.
Brown paper bags you could draw or write holiday messages on.
Colorful comics from the newspaper.
Plain white tissue paper, which is always lovely.
Gift bags can be regifted. Newspaper can be recycled, as can paper bags! Paper bags and white tissue paper are compostable! Nothing to throw out! No waste!
Michelle (from Cook Me a Story) told me yesterday she grew up in a family where they wrapped all gifts from birthdays to holidays in the colorful comics section of the newspaper. She didn’t sound distraught about it or say she felt she missed out. Her eyes lit up when she described it. She even remembered all the names of the comic strips!
I remember being a bit jealous of children ripping the paper off gifts in movies and television specials. Encouraged to open our gifts carefully, so as not to rip the paper, we reused it the following year. And the next. Even now when I open a gift, I turn it over and gently undo the bottom and the sides, neatly unfold the paper and use it to wrap someone else’s gift. It’s an instilled habit.
So, I understand why my parents did that. And maybe because of it, I’ve taken the step from reusing to not using at all. I grew up with the traditions of the brightly wrapped gifts with dancing reindeer. But I get to choose what traditions I want to continue, pass down or tweak. Part of the challenge and part of the fun (for me anyway) is discovering a way to tweak traditions to create environmentally sound ones. It most certainly stretches the creative muscle. I’m amazed by how many creative ways we’ve come up with this year. I think I could write a book about it….yeah, like that one hasn’t been done before! :)
What will you wrap with this year? Have you changed any holiday traditions since your childhood days?
Other articles on wrapping paper from the prettiest to how you can go without:
- Create Painted Wrapping Paper (education.com)
- 9 Ways to Wrap Without Buying Wrapping Paper (mantrameds.wordpress.com)
- Wrapping Paper & Holiday Decorations (goldcoastent.wordpress.com)
- All Wrapped Up (tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Cheeseburger Wrapping Paper Makes Presents Delicious (neatorama.com)