by Sue Crothers (originally posted in OakPark.com, January 14, 2011) In order to eliminate the mountain of Holiday wrapping paper, I decided I was going to start a new family tradition. One that rid my living room of the chaos brought about by the unruly mess created with the simple act of opening gifts. One that turned our gathering back to a more tranquil experience, where we could actually see and feel the warmth of the fireplace!
So I ditched the wrapping paper!
Three years ago, before the Holidays I took myself off to the fabric store and purchased 15 yards of three different types of Holiday material. I then purchased a number of rolls of cloth ribbon, which were surprisingly inexpensive as they were on sale. These gifts wrapped in fabric looked beautiful and the variety of ribbon gave them each a different and unique appearance. During that Holiday season alone, I reused the fabric 3 times! After we opened our gifts, I used them to wrap the gifts for my Australian side of the family, followed by my husband’s family and the final use for the season came with a belated Holiday celebration at a friend’s house. When my friend asked to keep the fabric wrapping from her gift, I of course was thrilled for just maybe, this new tradition could branch out to another family!
Given that an estimated 4 million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bags are thrown out over the winter holidays, doesn’t it seem like a good idea to find an alternative where one can not only save some trees and help the well being of our environment, but save some $$ too! Okay, so the initial outlay was a little more than I usually spend on paper wrapping, but not that much and hey, I get to reuse it again and again and again and I haven’t spent a cent on Holiday wrapping paper since!
Some may think that it’s no fun to have the same wrapping appear year after year, however I would argue that it’s all in how you deliver it. If you wrap it up as a new tradition, it can take on a special place in the Holiday ritual. For example, from the time my children were old enough to understand the concept of Santa Claus, they have left a Santa sack at the end of their bed on Christmas Eve. This red sack, decorated with Holiday design and about the size of a pillow case, is for just for Santa! He fills it with unwrapped gifts and this special tradition has brought smiles to their faces from the first time they peaked inside on Christmas morning all those pre teen years ago. The sacks have now become a part of the Holiday magic, regardless of the fact that the Santa has long been out of the bag so to speak. Not only do they appear each Christmas Eve, they eliminate waste, illuminate faces and save money. But most of all, they create a sense of nostalgia and wonderful memories.
Now that the Holidays are upon us again, I thought I would share this tradition, in the hope of spreading the cloth Holiday wrapping magic!
Editor’s Note: We’d love to hear your stories about innovations on holiday traditions that help you “feel the warmth of the fireplace” and create a holiday celebration that is kinder to the natural world. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.