Let’s face it, there isn’t a whole lot of time left – maybe a few hours to wrap up your gifts. I am a great believer in recycling when possible. I take great pains to neatly fold the wrapping paper I’ve carefully removed from holiday packages and re-roll ribbon for another use. I cut Christmas cards into package tags and punch holes in one corner, then put them into a greeting card-size box to be used next year. I don’t think I can remember when I last bought holiday gift tags. The ones that aren’t specifically holiday-ish I save for birthday presents. It isn’t frugality that provokes these actions,
but rather a streak of laziness. It is simply easier to recycle and prepare material right after Christmas for next year’s use, than to shop for these items during next season’s holiday crunch. Well, maybe there’s a touch of money-saving awareness!
But, more than that it seems like a small gesture in the scheme of recycling awareness. Small boxes get put away for secondary uses. If you are up to your eyeballs wrapping last minute presents and don’t have all the tags or ribbons or wrapping paper you need, start cutting up those Christmas cards you’ll be throwing away after the New Year. As for wrapping paper, consider the newspaper. Make secondary use out of today’s I&M for a creative black and white and “read all over” theme. Then add a red ribbon or yarn. If you don’t have any ribbon left, try string, raffia, embroidery thread or twine. Attach a small Christmas ball to give it a holiday spin and don’t forget that recycled gift tag.
Wrap other gifts with cut out parts of magazines to represent the person, gift or you. Make up personalized pages on the computer and print out a bunch to piece together for your wrapping paper. Make copies of photographs to create a collage to use as wrapping paper. I opened a junk drawer to find several gift bags I’d saved from bottles of wine people had brought when coming to dinner. These are great for small gifts. Scrunch the top and tie with a ribbon. No wrapping required. It’s the end of the year so use the pages from this year’s calendar to create a package wrap. Leaving your notes all over the pages or social events penciled in makes it personal and interesting in a strange sort of way, like reading someone’s diary.
If you have a bunch of books destined for a yard sale or the Take It Or Leave It, remove the jackets and use for wrapping small gifts.
For a fun project, look at all the mail and advertising and catalogs that flood your mailbox at this time of year in a new light. Don’t think of it as “junk mail”. Think of it as potential for really unusual and inexpensive wrapping paper.
Use your computer to create personal designs. For example, print each family member’s name in different typefaces or make up fun sayings, greetings and holiday wishes. Make your tree a “Wish Upon A Tree” Christmas with everyone putting his or her wish list on a different tag.
If all this recycling business sounds harder than running out for the goods, take a quick trip around town. Flowers on Chestnut is chock full of wrapping papers and the most wonderful ribbons for gift wrapping at its utmost. All on sale too!
Finally, for a quick project to do with your kids while waiting for Santa, make a pomander ball. It’s a holiday cliché, but we tend to forget how easy and nice it is to have them around. Use oranges, lemons and limes studded with cloves. Use a skewer or a toothpick to puncture the skin of the fruit and insert a clove. Continue inserting cloves in rows around the fruit so that they are very close together. To make it easier and quicker make a row of cloves going around the fruit in each direction, and leave sections of the skin showing. Wrap with ribbon and make a loop for hanging in a closet.
Merry Christmas everyone and best wishes for happy surprises under the tree.