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Green Gift Wrap
Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008 | 04:24 PM AT
C'mon folks, let's admit it. What happens to most wrapping paper the second your loved one gets their prezzie? Umm hmm. And let's not even talk about the number of trees that have been sacrificed for cards with just a scrawled signature on them. Is it really worth creating so much waste just to follow tradition? Or can we rewrite those traditions and make them more meaningful and fun? Put on your thinking caps and join me. 'Cos I've brought in the cavalry. Raji Sohal, a personal shopper and stylist extraordinaire shares her funky and innovative ideas for making wrapping paper and cards as exciting and useful as the gifts themselves.
Scarves as giftwrap: This is one of the classiest and most appreciated way to wrap items like clothing or books. Raji recommends buying the scarves second hand. I have personally found some stunning pure silk beauties for under a dollar at my local Renaissance. The joy of this method is that you're presenting a gift within a gift. If you've done a good job of matching the scarf with the person receiving it, he/she gets two prezzies in one. If they don't like it or aren't a scarf person, they can simply reuse the fabric as wrapping.
Dishcloths as giftwrap: This is genius. EVERYONE needs dishcloths. And if your house is anything like mine, you can always use an extra. Plus, they tend to wear out quickly. The idea would be to use wrap the dishcloth around your gift (a kitchen-themed item would be perfect, though not vital!) and then secure with thrifted ribbon. Raji and I both save wrapping paper, ribbon, tissue paper and gift bags throughout the year and reuse them when we're giving.
Newspaper: Newspaper is the ultimate perfect giftwrap. It's practically free, the pages are huge. You can even play a bit and save the funnies or particularly colourful images for this sort of use. If you hate the idea of plain ol' newspaper, make some potato stamps and use them with watercolours or food colouring. Loads of fun for kids. You could also buy some very sophisticated stamps for not very much money at Omer Deserres or some other craft store near you. Don't forget crayons and fingerpainting. That's the beauty of newspaper. There's no pressure to be perfect and it costs nothing to start again. Plus, at the end of it all, it's recyclable.
Magazine print: If you're gifting something delicate or pale, maybe magazine print is better than newspaper. Newsprint does tend to rub off on fingers and prezzies. Magazine paper is glossier and the inks are unlikely to bleed. Plus, this can be a really funky way to make a statement that resonates with your recepient.
WHEN IT COMES TO CARDS...
Buy recycled: It's easier than ever to buy cards that are printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper. In fact, one of my favourite picks is the line of "Totally Green" cards by UK card manufacturer K2 designs. Their cards are mixed ﬁbre, from sustainable sources, ink is vegtable based, the envelope is made from recycled juice cartons and the bag they are packed in is made from corn starch - so it is totally biogradable! Woo hoo! Plus they have a bunch with wild and/or baby animals on the covers (blank inside). Be still my heart. You can buy them at most Multimag stores.
If you're sending a card... send paper cards only to those who are really near and dear. And fiill them with memories and actual content rather than some trite seasonal greeting and a signature.
Bring back the letter Some of the most thoughtful presents I've ever received weren't objects at all. They were letters. Written on beautiful paper and cherished forever. Full of words of love and wisdom that can't be bought. Intimacy that lives on long after the person that sent them has passed. There's nothing more magical.
All right folks, I'm done blathering. This is when I hand over the stage to you. I'd love to hear your creative, crafty, low-waste wrapping and card ideas. Leave me a comment or call our talkback line (514) 592-2371
A huge thank you to Atelier Woodenapples in the Mile End for letting us use their space to shoot this piece. They also have some great locally made, artisan crafted gifts, stamps and cards as well as workshops for the craftily-inclined. Check them out here.
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