We are facing a different Christmas this year. No pantos, markets or getting together with friends. But as 2020 has taught us, a slower pace of life can mean a kinder way of life for our families and our planet. A slower Christmas might be a gift in itself. We have more time to put more thought into the gifts we buy for our loved ones, whilst also being more conscious of our planet with our purchases.
I love everything about Christmas. I love to think about what to buy my family and friends. The one thing that I don't like is the waste it creates. 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.That fact blows my mind.
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.
I have been using alternative Christmas wrapping for a few years now and thought I would share. They save so much waste but also time. I no longer spend a totaly of 861 minutes of the festive period looking for the end of the tape.
Our community always share the multitude of uses for our reusable wet bags. There is one more to add to the list. A gift bag for under the tree. Zero waste and it is a gift in itself. It could be the gift of a nappy or you could even match the present to the bag itself. A penguin toy inside a penguin bag or hat and gloves inside our Wrapped Up bag. They look beautiful under the tree and zero tape needed.
A few years ago, one of my 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 and it is so easy.
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. Even if you don't have a sewing machine, you can use pinking shears to do a crinkle edge.
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 usually 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.) This year, we may have to do it over Zoom - 2020 is the year for new Christmas traditions!
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.