Monday, December 8, 2008

Gift Wrapping

This year, I'm using up my wrapping paper from previous years (I may well be doing that next year, too!), but I heard recently that there's more paper in landfills than diapers, so I feel awkward about buying more wrapping paper. Thus began my search for a good (inexpensive) alternative.

One idea is to just reuse the disposable wrapping. If you're ambitious, you can wrap with paper and avoid the use of tape, and then just re-use the paper next year (assuming it's not ripped). I suppose if you're a scrapbooker, you may want to even used the ripped pieces for some Christmas pages. Obviously, though, paper can only be reused for wrapping so many times before it inevitably rips and is no longer useful for wrapping. Paper gift bags can be reused many more times (as can the tissue paper that you might stuff them with) than regular wrapping paper.

Martha Stewart had a lovely piece on wrapping with newspaper. I love this idea, it's beautiful, but I wonder how it would look with just regular old american newspaper. Also, since I don't get newspapers, I'd have to find someone who did that would give me some. I have been thinking I might use brown paper bags that we get from grocery stores when we buy too much to fit in our reusable bags. I was thinking I could let my kids go nuts with some Christmas stamps on them first and that could be cute. Throw on some ribbon and that would be pretty nice, I think, plus it's a fun Christmas project for my kids.

The most sustainable idea, I think, is wrapping with cloth. I've heard of various ways to do this, but it all seems to cost about the same as buying paper gift bags (well, some ways are pretty expensive), but are more reusable than that, so in the long run it's cheaper. First, there's wrapsacks. These are beautiful, colorful, and not much more cost than buying paper gift bags, but if you consider you can re-use them (or hopefully get everyone you know to use them, too, and have free ones given to you...) the cost is not bad at all. You can buy the variety pack too, which are on sale right now. They seem like they wouldn't be too difficult to make your, though, so I was thinking I might try. I'm planning to buy christmas fabric on sale after this season and use it to make next year's gift bags.

An idea I've heard is to use a cloth grocery bag as a gift bag. Just put the gift in and add tissue paper as you would with a normal gift bag. Something I did for a gift was use one of those canvas bags you can get at craft stores - the ones meant for you to decorate them - and bought an iron-on decorative patch and ironed it on. Voila, a long-term reusable gift bag! Alternatively, you could use fabric paint and paint or stamp on the bag to decorate it. Yet another fun Christmas craft for the kids!

My favorite (although, maybe the most expensive?) idea, though, is furoshiki. It's gorgeous and actually looks like a lot of fun! I think some of the Christmas fabric I get after Christmas may be devoted toward this end next year. Also, some of the craft stores have scarves that may be perfect for this, and can be acquired much more cheaply than you might see on that website (although their cloths are gorgeous!).

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