Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Wrap? What Christmas Wrap?

This year, as part of an always-growing plot to make my personal individuality an absolutely can't-miss-it point, I decided not to use paper wrapping anymore.

There are other ways to disguise a present until it can be opened by its recipient -- cloth and boxes of plastic, tin or wood.

Cloth can be handkerchiefs, towels, place mats, tea cozies, napkins, pillow cases, table runners, doilies, oven mitts....the list of possibilities is limited only by imagination.

Craft supply houses, dollar stores, and thrift stores are a great source of boxes of various sizes and materials that are intended for reuse. Candy and cookie tins are plentiful. Choose those with clean, unblemished interiors.

I stopped using ribbons, bows, and paper name tags, and scotch tape, as well. Since I'm fairly creative, I use things like shoelaces and bungee cords to fasten packages that need it. Mostly, though, I use my button-sewing skills (one that my mother insisted we all learn how to do, since she refused to do it for us) to put a few stitches of contrasting color into key points of the cloth wrapping. And since letter beads are easily available, everyone's name gets strung on a key-chain ring with colored string. Anyone who is handy with macrame knots can make this part of it as fancy as they want. Bows have morphed into candy canes and other tree decorations.

The outcome is that every gift becomes a multiple gift: The watch is wrapped in a finger towel, which is encased in a small tin pail with a tight lid, and a letter-bead name tag is fastened to the handle of the pail by its keychain ring. Nothing wasted. Nothing thrown away.

Another gift is wrapped in a hanky, then wrapped in a table runner, tacked together with a few stitches, and decorated with tiny candy canes that have strings attached for hanging on the tree (and in this case are sewn on to the wrapping). The only waste is the necessary wrap on the candy. Even the thread for stitching doesn't need to be wasted if you unpick it carefully and hang it on outside branches for the birds to use in their nests. But even cut shreds of thread will go nicely into the compost.

And as creative as I can be, I'm always on the lookout for other ideas. If you've got a suggestion for a special way of presenting a gift, drop it in the comments. Or blog about it at your place and do a linkback.


Blogger Tim said...

Personally I like to use the comic section of the local rags... In a pinch some of the sale flyer's work well too. There is no shortage of those this time of year... remember the three R's of Christmas... Rejoice, Re-wrap and Re-gift!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 8:37:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Yeah, using newspaper works really well...I did that for the past couple of years. It's more biodegradable than the shiny stuff, fershure! I managed to get a couple of roll ends from one of the local printers -- no ink on it -- and used colored pens and crayons to draw the decorations on.

Somebody else I know used white paste to glue cut-out decorations from magazines and flyers.

No end to the possibilities!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 2:13:00 PM  
Blogger JeanC said...

I'm not that creative, so can't help in that area. I'm still using up paper, ribbons, bows and name tags I bought years ago. Currently I am in love with gift bags, makes odd shaped and sized gifts so much easier to deal with :D

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 2:25:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

I love gift bags! Especially the ones with the double drawstring closures! They are so handy for storing stuff like shoes and craft projects...then they hang on hooks to free up shelf space!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 4:09:00 PM  
Blogger Balbulican said...

I like to dip presents in liquid shellac, let it harden, then dip them again repeatedly until the original shape of the present is no longer detectable. After hardening the package with a hair dryer, I then decorate the lump with gaily coloured markers. It's inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and adds tons o' fun to the whole unwrapping process. A rubber mallet works best.

Friday, December 21, 2007 5:09:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...


Friday, December 21, 2007 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

What a great idea. If you have a sewing machine, you could also buy cheap material, and easily make your own bags. Very reusable. Yarn would also make good decoration to replace the ribbon & bows. If you know how to crochet you can make package decorations like snowflakes or Santa faces.

Saturday, December 22, 2007 7:47:00 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

BTW, in some of the discount stores, fabric is for sale for as little as $1/yard. Cheaper than paper.

Saturday, December 22, 2007 7:48:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year to you and yours Chimera

Monday, December 24, 2007 9:19:00 PM  

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