OK, so I shouldn’t be thinking about Christmas quite yet! However, the horror of metallic wrap, synthetic ribbon, and tinsel-covered bows being scooped up and tossed into the rubbish bin each December, lingers throughout the year. Then there’re birthday, anniversary, baby-shower and bon voyage gifts that get wrapped in the same unsustainable ways. I say it’s time call a halt to rubbish-wrap – and here are seven wonderful ways to make it happen.
Have you noticed the number of old atlases at the op-shop lately? Chances are you’ve got a few clogging up your own bookshelves. Or perhaps you’re still storing the road maps you used to navigate your way out of London 20 years ago (I know I am!). Repurpose these as wrap by ripping out pages, trimming the rough edges, and using the paper as gift wrap. Add a colourful piece of twine and pick up relevant vintage postcard to use as a card or tag.
Costume jewellery is clogging up op-shops (and possibly your own drawers!). Pick up a few strands of beads in relevant anniversary colours (30th pearl, 40th ruby), and use them to tie your gift. They will bring a simple piece of (re-usable) tissue paper to life!
Soft baby gifts are perfect for popping into a reusable fabric bag. Pick up some fabric and ribbon from your local op-shop (check the linen section which often has baby-themed sheets and pillow cases which can be used as the fabric). Stitch up the bag by machine or hand, leaving a hem for the ribbon to thread through. Best of all, baby’s mum and dad can reuse the bag next time one of their own friends has a new arrival.
Whatever the age of the recipient, vintage wrap is always appreciated. Old school annuals go for a song at second-hand bookshop and garage sales so keep one or two on hand. Use the illustrated pages, tied with coloured twine, to wrap your gift, and make a tag by cutting out a matching illustration and gluing plain paper to the reverse side.
If your gifting something which fits into a pretty jar, why would you want to disguise the goodies? Whether it’s preserves, cookies, home made bath salts or honey, skip the wrap and instead, tie fresh greenery or flowers to the lid with a thin strip of flax. Use a white-out pen to write a greeting on the glass.
“Brown paper packages tied up with string!” are one of The Sound of Music star Julie Andrews’ “favourite things” – and we couldn’t agree more. Only, in our version we add a pretty leaf of native vegetation to the parcel (ferns look wonderful, and are especially relevant if your gift is for someone who’s newly arrived in the country). Be sure to wipe any moisture from the leaf before you tuck it under the string tying the parcel, and add it shorty before gifting to ensure it’s fresh.
How many scraps of wool do you have lying around home (we’ve lost count!). And even if you have none, wool goes for a song at the op shop. Choose the colours of the wool to match the occasion or giftee (such as red and green for Christmas gifts). Wrap the gift in bright reusable tissue paper or fabric, then wind the wool around and around the package – so pretty!