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Who needs wrapping paper when you can sew?

Alternative wrapping paper2


There is a certain fuzzy feeling when you give just the right present to someone. Something that you’ve taken time to choose or make. The pleasure of wrapping it up, in just the right way. Crisp paper, creased edges and the perfect bow. The hope that they really will like it, as they begin to unwrap it.

Repeat this process, until all that is left is a pile of crumpled paper. Soon to be scooped up and put out for recycling, or the refuse collectors.

potato print parcelpotato parcel paper

(homemade printed paper, wrapped many presents, over one year!)

I like wrapping paper. It can wrap practically any shape or size. It provides a lovely tearing rip when it opens. Sometimes we use plain paper and decorate it.  The only problem is that I’m not keen on the “one-use-then-dispose-of” nature of wrapping paper. I am the one who collects up the interesting bits for future crafting from the discarded pile. I especially love any trimmings, like ribbons. But inevitably, there’s a lot of paper left. Reusing the paper works to a certain extent, but somehow, its loses its crispness and is obviously recycled. Some work better than others.

This is where alternative gift wrappings come into it. I have 5 suggestions.

1. Pillow cases. If the present is big, then I have a number of slightly large pillow cases to use. Some are Christmasy, others are for birthdays. All are used on the beds.

pilllow case gift wrapping

2. Wrap a box. Use some of the discarded paper to decorate a box. Looks lovely and can be used over and over again. That’s if the new owner will give it up.

recycled paper gift box

3. Use fabric. Use a pretty tea towel, with a ribbon to keep it all together. Recepient has two presents in one. My sister knows me well, and has the perfect solution for wrapping presents for me. She chooses pretty fabric as wrapping. Just how many ways can I recycle pretty fabric?

patchwork toadstool cushion front

patchwork toadstool cushion back

(Fabric turned into a patchwork cushion)

4. Make comic bags. Use festive magazines or old comics to make gift bags. Children particularly love the comic versions. I’ve found that parents make a point of letting me know how well the bags went down.

comic bags in box side

For a more robust bag, the comic can be replaced with fabric. I’ve used these as party bags in the past.

5. Make fabric sacks. Finding inexpensive festive fabric is easy at this time of the year. I like to make the sack with a wide opening and no handle. The most simple version is two rectangles of fabric sewn together, leaving one long edge open. All tied up with a colourful ribbon. If I can find it, a crinkly ribbon, for that authentic present opening moment. Seeing a child’s head disappear into the sack, checking out the contents, always makes me smile.

So this week, I’m getting busy, whipping up a few more Christmas sacks, of various sizes. Some big, some small. My supply of sacks are low. The more I make, the more I cut down on the crumpled paper mountain. Making it a greener Christmas.

This is part of my becoming a greener me in 100 steps project.

Joining in the Christmas Blog Hop here (Just need to figure out how to add the code!)

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