Monday, December 22, 2008

Homemade Holidays: Wrap it up

You've made your list and checked it twice. Whether you're gifts this year are store-bought, homemade, recycled or regifted, one thing remains the same: You've got to wrap it up.

And if you're like most people I know, you're reading this instead of getting those gifts ready to go.

Relax. Even if you're waiting until Christmas Eve to do you're wrapping, you don't have to take an emergency trip to the store to buy another roll of wrapping paper. As it's just a few days until Christmas, I won't overwhelm you with Martha Stewart-esque ways to jolly up your packages; it's 11th hour and just time to get it done.

Here are some easy ways to bundle your gifts, save a few cents and be a little friendlier on the planet this Christmas season:

Gift bags. On the surface they may not seem green, but these laminated paper bags can be used multiple times before they meet their demise. My family depends on them, and they go back to the depts of the closet after birthdays or holidays. I can't tell you the last time I actually bought wrapping paper because of it.

Green bags. I saw on a scrapbook message board that reusable shopping bags were being used instead of the traditional holiday wrap. Some message board users were even jazzing up the bags. It's a way to be practical. Go traditional green or a holiday red (such as Target).

Holiday towels. Wrap food gifts in holiday kitchen towels or other linents.

Use your leftover plastic grocery bags (I know you've got them!) to cushion packages for last-minute shiping. Either stuff as-is or blow them up into air pockets.

Re-gift your gift tins. Who says holiday tins have to be used for food gifts? Reuse them to hold smaller items instead of wrapping it in paper.

Enlist your budding artists. Reuse kid art as colorful wrapping paper, or have your little ones stamp or paint on scrap paper or newspring.

Turn holiday greetings into gift tags. My husband's aunt years ago introduced me to the idea of trimming Christmas cards to make gift cards the following year. I have to admit, it makes finding the "to" on a large gift far easier!

Re-use that wrap. I admit it, I've rewrapped items in still-good pieces of wrapping paper from a gift trade this weekend. It feels a little strange, but it's likely going to that same landfill anyway. And if you're not comfortable using previously loved wrapping paper on the outside, use it on the inside: as packing material for shipping packages or packaging fragile items for the next holiday season.

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