Saturday, December 22, 2012

Simple Christmas idea #22 -- Try something other than wrapping paper

Don't judge a gift by its cover...

I love the Japanese practice of furoshiki. Haven't heard of it? Well, in Japan, people use lovely handcrafted cloth to wrap gifts. This week, our receptionist at L'Arche returned from her trip home to Japan and brought a gorgeous piece of woven material to be used for furoshiki. Sometimes the wrapping is prettier than the gift! In this case, the wrapping was the gift.

But at our house, the wrapping being nicer than the gift is rarely the case. Years and years ago, before green was "Green," our family started the tradition of wrapping gifts in Christmas flyers and newspapers. We wrapped our kids' gifts in long-saved Saturday colour comics for extra re-reading pleasure. My husband once wrapped a fishing rod for my dad so that it looked something like a stratocaster guitar! (Lee is a very creative wrapper. Early in our courtship, I received a box containing a teddybear that ticked like a time bomb and bounced like a beach ball). Then along came gift bags, and we've been reusing the same ones for ages, passing them from person to person, sticky old bits of tape and all, ever since they joined our family (join our family, and it's for life). I don't think I've purchased a single gift bag yet. I've also discovered that most books fit perfectly into dishcloths, and my loaves of Christmas Oatmeal bread -- that went to the girls' teachers  and a few friends yesterday -- fit perfectly into brown bags that my girls decorate and personalize for their recipients.

Wrapping paper is one of humankind's silliest inventions, because it's a total waste (most people just rip it to shreds) and the metallic, shiny kind can't even be recycled even at Edmonton's world class recycling facilities (though plain wrapping paper can -- just put it in your blue bag). So today's simple idea is to be creative -- don't wrap with anything that can't be reused, and give the planet a gift, too.

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