I love Christmas. Pantos, getting together with friends and watching Home Alone 761 times. Love everything about it. Apart from the waste. Wrapping paper is the worst offender. It takes ages to wrap presents, only for it to be torn off in 0.3 seconds. The UK throws away 5 million tonnes of wrapping paper every Christmas, enough to stretch to the moon.
A common myth with wrapping paper is that is ok to use because it can be recycled. It's not. Most of can't be recycled due to the dyes and glitter used, so it gets sent to landfill. This has never sat easily on my conscience and I was often found muttering under my breath as I collected it all up, trying not to spoil the excitement of Christmas morning.
Ironically, a couple of years ago, one of my Christmas presents was a book about Japan and its culture, a lot of which honours our planet. The Japanese don't just honour it, they make it an art form. This is how I came across Furoshiki - the beautiful art of wrapping using cloth.
I have been wrapping my gifts like this ever since. There are so many wins with this way of wrapping which I am going to share with you.
It's less wasteful
Scraps from fabric shops are what I usually look for. They just need cutting onto a square, hemming and they are done. I'm not a person who sews stuff. If I can do it, anyone can. Even if you don't have a sewing machine, you can use other items you have laying around at home. A pillowcase, a scarf, a tea towel for example. A tea towel to wrap up a cookery book is perfect.
Once you have lined up your wraps, it is so much quicker to wrap, especially those awkward presents. Funky socks and a ribbon are great for wrapping bottles. No more wrestling with sticky tape.
I spend a day with my mum making our wrapping paper. It's a wonderful new tradition of ours - it's a lovely mindful day. (Maybe less so for my mum as she is usually resetting my sewing machine when I have done it wrong. Over and over.)
It's a gift in itself
I love it when the person who receives the gift asks if they can keep the wrap as they will reuse it. It is one of those small steps we know make a big difference. I know 3 people who are now using cloth wrap this year as a result of my gifts last year.
The best thing? The kids can't tear it open fast. They have to slowly undo the knot, I make it tight on purpose! The spend more time looking at the funny shapes and guessing what it is. It makes the morning so much slower and less frantic.
To learn more about it, this article from One Million Women is brilliant.
Do you have any other ways to make Christmas more reusable? Do share below and let us know.