Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Really Recycled Wrapping for the Holidays

Shopping for wrapping paper?

You may have everything you need already. Last year I wrapped my gifts in brown paper shopping bags. Around each package I taped a colorful "ribbon" cut from outdated New York subway maps. Around the maps, I tied fuzzy bits of yarn left over from various knitting projects. Now, a few of my relatives thought this was a little weird, but honestly? It looked fabulous!

TIP: Depending on what you have in your home, you could try some of these unconventional cover-ups:

* Old scarves
* Travel and tourist flyers from past vacations
* Photo pages from last year’s calendar
* Children’s artwork
* Fabric remnants
* Subway or highway maps you no longer need
* Wooden crates or cardboard boxes, painted with festive designs
* Pages from magazines or comic books
* Old posters or prints you no longer want
* Leftover wallpaper or contact paper
* Construction paper
* Tracing paper
* Paper bags
* Everyone's favorite--the Sunday comics

I once even received a gift wrapped in a bright green and red hand towel that I now use in my kitchen at holiday time!

There are also plenty of things that don’t need wrapping, just a bit of leftover ribbon, a strand of pretty yarn, or a bit of raffia to dress them up, such as:

* Baskets
* Metal tins
* Flower pots or vases
* Jewelry boxes

Still want regular ol’ wrapping paper? Check your local thrift. They’re generally swamped with the stuff and will charge a pittance for rolls that are still in the plastic—and saved from the landfill. After cutting up all those maps last year, this year I went with a roll of 50-cent paper at my local thrift for simplicity. The selection was better than I expected, with a variety of themes and styles, and what I found looks great.

Cheers and good luck!

Jenn and the staff of New American Dream

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