“Wrapping presents is that added personal touch, for you to go as decorative or as minimal as your heart desires”
With the arrival of Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start some wrapping. Although we all know that Christmas isn’t about the materialistic gifts we give or receive, it still plays a huge part in this festive season. And, if you are anything like me, the thought of giving gifts to people makes the arrival of Christmas morning that bit more so exciting!
So, whether you enjoy wrapping or not, it’s kind of inevitable… unless gift bags are your go to. I personally love wrapping and making my gifts look beautiful, which seems a little silly really, doesn’t it considering they are only going to be torn apart… Nevertheless, wrapping presents is that added personal touch, a chance for you to be as decorative or as minimal as your heart desires.
But let’s go back to it being torn apart. Where does it all end up? Once those big shiny bows have been ripped off, the ribbon tossed aside, and the paper has torn to shreds. The answer is quite simply, landfill or incinerators. Something I was not aware of for many years, is that not all wrapping paper can be recycled. Every year I would nag my parents to put the wrapping paper into separate bags to the other rubbish, to make sure that it was all kept together for the recycling bin. Turns out, I wasn’t recycling much at all. Shiny and glitter adorned paper is unable to be recycled due to additional materials used in creating the paper, as well as the plastic ribbon and bows. On top of all that, even the tape that remains attached. makes the paper, even if initially recyclable, unable to be recycled.
In the UK alone, we send around 5 million tons of paper to landfill each year. Each year, a forest the size of wales is needed to provide all the paper used in Britain. The arrival of Christmas and wrapping paper certainly doesn’t help this with 50,0000 trees used on average each year to supply the wrapping paper demand. It is estimated that the amount of wrapping paper used each year is enough to gift wrap Guernsey. If we could even half the number of trees needed by increasing the amount that we can recycle, and decreasing the amount we send to landfill, it would make such a huge difference….250000 trees worth.
So what’s the alternative? Well this year I decided to take the traditional route and go back to basics with simple, brown, parcel paper. There is no confusion as to whether it can be recycled or not. Even if you avoid shiny or glittery paper, there is still no guarantee that your wrapping paper can be recycled as some factories will refuse it due to the dyes used in the colouring process. At this point some of you may be thinking ew, brown paper? how ugly. But going eco-friendly doesn’t mean you have to miss out on embellishing your gifts.
I’ve ditched the one-use plastic ribbon and bows for parcel string (which is completely biodegradable) and beautiful, red, fabric ribbon that can I can reuse over and over. I personally love the vintage parcel look that the string gives, especially alongside the ribbon in deep Christmassy red, l tied and finished in a big bow.
Who doesn’t love the cosy scent of cinnamon sticks? For me winter spice scents are the best there is. Gingerbread, mulled wine (although I don’t enjoy the taste of it) and cinnamon!! They create such a nostalgic feeling of Christmas for me, so I course had to incorporate it into my wrapping. Que the cinnamon sticks! They sing Christmas, and teamed with dried oranges, offer the perfect, warm, festive touch and fragrance for under the tree. I don’t expect them to maintain their scent until next year, and it’s likely that the oranges wont fair too well either, so they are on the more single use side. However both are completely biodegradable, so I don’t have the guilt of knowing they will probably end up in the bin. Of course I could have stopped here and avoided being ‘tacky’ as my boyfriend would say, but no. There’s was definitely room for a little more festivity, so I had to add them…..BELLS!
Ready to jingle their way all the way through Christmas morning! See, you aren’t as limited as you may have first thought! Just try and remember three things. Focus on reducing your one time use waste, ensuring your one-time waste is recyclable (or biodegradable), and using decorations that can be reused year after year. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Oh! I nearly forgot to add! I swapped my Sellotape for gum tape. This is completely recyclable, which means no sitting there attempting to peel the Sellotape off the paper before putting it in the recycling (yes this is something I do when given gifts).
It’s such a small change to make to allow our forests and jungles to begin replenishing themselves. After all, how long is it until we run out of trees to cut down? Ditch the glitter and save a tree, a creature’s home, the air in which you breathe! (major tree hugging preaching going on there). But on a serious note, it’s just one small change. One huge impact. I’m super happy with how my presents turned out and loved getting creative, adding little bits of what says Christmas to me. So give it a try…….Happy wrapping!!