In 2019, we decided to finally take the plunge & use nothing but reusable wrapping for Christmas. It was a long time coming. I find it absurd that we buy wrapping paper to use for a short amount of time & then throw it out & (most of it) it can’t even be recycled. We were cutting back on consumption of other things, so why not wrapping paper? For me, I didn’t want to continue to add to the 100,000 elephant’s worth of wrapping paper waste generated each holiday season, in Canada alone. I was done!
I knew that in order for me to actually take the plunge though, I would have to get rid of the wrapping paper we had. I donated much of the wrapping paper we had to the school that the kids were attending at the time, as well as gifting some to a friend who helped run a youth group & also had her own childcare. It was important for me to donate it directly to those that would use the wrapping paper etc, rather than to just randomly donate & hope for the best. I know that most of it has ended up in the rubbish, it was wrapping paper after all, but I felt better about the process.
Once the wrapping paper was donated, I had no choice but to proceed with reusable wrapping options.
The first thing I had to address, was what to do about Santa for the kids. That wasn’t really a huge problem though, we resolved it with a “bag from Santa” that the kids helped organize & then they wrote a letter to Santa, asking if he could use it, instead of wrapping paper for their gifts, as it was better for the environment. Prior to this we had a huge roll of Santa themed wrap that I used every year for their gifts (only gifts from Santa came in that wrapping). I always wondered when they might find it though, so switching over was a bit of a relief in that regard.
For everything else, I searched the web for ideas & discovered that the beautiful silk scarves I had from my grandmother, made awesome material for Fukoshiki wrapping. I cut up a Christmas themed flannel sheet, that tore so badly it had to be retired, & made some bags, sewing in some of the bits of scrap ribbon I had to be upcycled, to tie them. We still ended up using pillowcases for most of our gifts that year, but it felt good to make a start.
Even though the execution wasn’t as smooth as I envisioned, everyone loved the lack of waste & the easy clean up (fold up everything & put it away, ready for the next event). We went from a HUGE box to store all our wrapping paper & heaps of rubbish created to no rubbish & being able to fit all our wrapping options into a little pouch. It was also amazing to have everyone on board.
The next year (2020), I decided we needed to sort out some tags for gifts, so we knew who was receiving what.
I had thought of sewing some tags from scraps, but we also had some little round disks for other craft & art projects that were perfect. They could be decorated, have a hole drilled in them, some thin yarn threaded through, tied & voila you had a gift tag. The kids personalized them not only in their own art, but with names written on them too, something that would’ve been a little more challenging with hand sewn tags, not impossible though.
This year, our 3rd Christmas, I feel like we are more in the groove. We made a couple more bags & some more tags (as pictured), to add to our little collection. The tags from last year have been fun to look back on & next year, we will enjoy looking back at the last 2 years.
We use our reusable gift wrap year round, but they definitely get more of a workout at Christmas time. Our reusable wrapping materials, are a mixed collection of drawstring style bags, silk scarves & hemmed pieces of fabric. There are some Christmas themed fabrics, but we don’t have different themed wrapping that only comes out at certain times, in fact the Christmas ones have been known to be used for birthday’s. You could do themed if you wanted to, we just don’t care enough to do that.
Whilst I wish that we had started earlier, instead of getting hung up on the wrapping we had yet to use, I’m glad that we actually did it. So, if you’re on the fence like I was for years, you should just do it, you won’t regret it, I promise. 🙂