Don’t Buy Gift Wrap This Year

A lot of the content on this blog is now being simul-blogged on But before I knew that I could simultaneously put content on and, here’s a feature I posted on nowpublic earlier this month:

When I was a child, I was often embarrassed when my mother would save used wrapping paper and bows. I never got a gift from her that didn’t have at least two or three remnants of old wrapping paper under the bows on the package. When she died five years ago and we cleaned out her stuff, we found chest of drawers full of slightly used wrapping paper and bags of bows. Yes, the bows had remnants of wrapping paper stuck to them.

I used to be particular about wrapping my gifts in unique, unused, gift wrap with bows that didn’t show previous usage (even if I did recycle one). I often splurged, paying for gift wrapping that often came close to the cost of the gift inside.

Then, I learned from my mother and started reusing gift bags. My dog received the same gift bag each Christmas with his “goodies” inside. I learned from him that only the stuff inside mattered. Actually, the intent and love behind the gift mattered. No, to him the stuff inside mattered.

Since I started the blog about litter last year, I’ve become more aware of reducing, recycling and reusing. Although most of my gifts now are cards or checks, when I give a live present, I choose unique recycled wrapping from what I have on hand.

Until recently, I worked for a custom magazine publisher. When one of the editors married and was given a shower, I took sheets from one of the magazines she edited and used them as gift wrap. The box containing her gift was a box that had held the magazines themselves when delivered from the printer. My gift was unique among those from West Elm and Crate and Barrel. All of those fine gifts were wrapped in clean corporate wrapping paper.

Another coworker recently eloped without telling any of us and had a low-key wedding on the side of a river in North Carolina with just her and her husband, a minister and a photographer. When her shower was held, my gift to her was in a paper bag decorated with cat stickers, obtained from all the animal lovers groups who send me stickers in the mail almost daily. I fringed the top of the bag, kinda like a character from a Fandango commercial. My “wrapping” paper was saved for its uniqueness. As her husband said, “You’re weird. We like weird.”

This holiday season, leave the wrapping paper on the store shelves. Look around the house and make gift bags or wrapping paper from things on hand. A paper bag can be decorated with cotton balls to make a snowman or a Santa Claus.

I have a collection of buttons, accumulated over the years, when the clothes I bought had extra buttons. These could be glued onto a small cardboard box to make a gift box that might be kept for storage. Use your imagination and post what you do here. Let’s reuse and recycle gift wrapping this season.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Megan said,

    Here’s a picture of the wrapping from our shower. I love it!!

    (I miss you, btw…)

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