Holiday wrapping paper

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.
What else?

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!

A bag I received a gift in. Will regift with. Why throw it out?

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! 🙂

Bought at a "gift wrap party" 11 years ago. It's been through 5 moves. Maybe I could give it as a gift? Ha!

What will you wrap with this year? Have you changed any holiday traditions since your childhood days? 

24 responses to “Holiday wrapping paper

  1. Won’t be wrapping anything since I can’t afford gifts this year. When I was a kid–this was in the early 60s before recycling and conservation became a thing on people’s minds–I used to wrap presents in the Sunday comics. Some people thought I was wacky, but I think I was just thinking ahead of the times.

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  2. At the Women Writing the West Conference this year we wrapped all the raffle gifts in newsprint from members all over the country. It was fun to read news about other parts of the country. We tied them with gardening twine. I plan to wrap my gifts in newsprint. My daughters who live far away might like to read about their home town.

  3. I bought one roll of gift wrap paper, this will last me for years. I am most economical and work out the best way to get the most out of what paper I have.
    IF and it’s a big IF I receive a wrapped present, I never rip the paper. I undo it carefully, take out my gift and then fold the paper to keep for next year.

  4. We used to wrap gifts in left over wall paper. We would always keep the smallest scrap of it after redoing our home. It would last us for years. If we didn’t have wall paper we would use magazines and newspaperes. I never thought it’s weird or wacky. People around us would be doing the same. I think it’s just because we all were growing up is post communistic country where such a thing as special wrapping paper was something that only rich and spoiled people use. We thought it’s silly to spend your money for something like that instead of extra oranges 🙂

  5. Polish Mom Photographer—sell those suckers! An on-line store is a good idea, but you’d have to have quite a stock of them because they’d go fast!! It’s an idea…

  6. I like wrapping gifts in newspapers– and making my own gift wrap w/ brown bags from the grocery store.

    • Thrift Shopping Buzz, me too! I like the brown paper bags the most because it reminds me of that song in the sound of music, “Brown paper packages tied up with strings….these are a few of my favorite things.” Who wouldn’t want to receive a brown paper package tied up with string? It just sounds festive!

  7. Back in the day, before I became digitally oriented (lol), the comic pages where what we used to wrap presents year-round. My daughters grew up with this practice and loved it; they always made sure to save the comics on Sundays, so we always had an ample supply of wrapping paper.
    Who knew we were into recyclyng so long ago?

    • Marcia, you were way ahead of your time! I never even thought of that until I grew up. I wish we’d had that tradition. I love that the kids kept the comics. How cute.

  8. I use bits of fabric – 🙂

  9. Pingback: Keeping it Real this Christmas – Anne Schroeder

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