It started when I began to notice that every time I gave my mother-in-law a gift, she neatly folded the wrapping paper and gave it back to me “to use again some other time.”
At first, I confess, I was annoyed. Her intentions were good, a truly laudable desire to reduce waste and promote sustainability. But I didn’t really need extra wrapping paper, and I knew it would get more worn-out and ugly with each use, and it really bugged me to re-use things that were meant to be disposable.
But then I realized– why use something disposable in the first place?
When something’s designed for re-use, I delight in re-using it. And there are lovely fabrics out there, beautiful cloth ribbon, even pretty brooches to hold the seams and decorate the package. All can be found at thrift stores for next to nothing. It was a whole world of creative wrapping-crafts, waiting to be explored!
I went to my local Savers and picked up some brocaded red and green satin napkins and tablecloths, and a grab bag of assorted fabric ribbon in a variety of colors. And the fun began.
It was easier than I’d imagined! Two napkins could combine to wrap a medium-sized gift, one napkin sufficed for the smallest, and a tablecloth (folded a few times if necessary) could handle pretty much all of the larger sizes. If a length of ribbon was too long for a particular package, I didn’t have to cut it and reduce its potential for reuse; I could just make loops of the excess and tie them together again and again, creating a handmade bow.
So if I give you a wrapped present this year, feel free to give me back the wrapping to use on future gifts. And if you don’t want to, feel free to keep it and use it on your table– or give it to your local thrift store, or pass it forward as the wrapping on the next present you give!