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Wrapping presents

Following on from Santa’s Elf ‘s question this morning, when do you wrap presents, I want to know what people use to wrap gifts…

Pile of Christmas gifts in purple and silver bows

Different shapes and colours – the wrapping adds to the excitement of Christmas 🙂

For many years, we’ve collected wrappings each year and recycled them the following year where possible (kids tend to rip them apart so not everything is reusable!) It’s interesting that a number of people used to give us funny looks about collecting and keeping the paper, but with more ‘green’ sentiment around now, people seem to accept it.

Reusing the paper does save us money, but our real incentive is to save some trees and reduce pollution in the printing and transporting of wrapping paper.

A few times we’ve also used alternatives to paper for wrapping – like when giving some picinic items, we wrapepd them in a light tablecloth and when we use a tea-towell to wrap kitchen tea of house warming gifts.

And young children bring home a wealth of wrapping paper when they do paintings at kinder and childcare! We enver used their favourite artworks, but they were very proud to see presents wrapped in their paper so it was win win all round!

Does being green come into your Christmas wrapping or do you like the pretty, sparkly pile of presents?

Wrapping paper reuse

Who else collects and reuses wrapping paper? Just at Christmas or year round?

We always fold up the decent bits of paper (those the kids have ripped to shreds go in the recycling bin!) and keep them for future use. Some relatives look down at us for it, thinking we’re being cheap and lazy. Yes, it does save us money (some of which goes into buying better presents for said relatives!) but more importantly, it saves the environment.

The creation of wrapping paper involves chopping down trees, processing the paper (which uses fossil fuels and huge amounts of water) and printing the paper. Then add in the footprint of wrapping paper – how far does it travel to reach your Christmas tree? And if you collect enough paper, it is one less thing you need to worry about buying next Christmas (potentially saving pollution of driving to the shops, too!)

Other ways we save on wrapping paper are:

  • using paper we already have (e.g. from the deli) and getting the kids to decorate it – saves paper and money, entertains the kids and provides a personalised wrapping paper
  • using something practical instead of paper – tea towels and ribbons in particular wrap gifts nicely

What does everyone else think about green gift wrapping?

Being green at Christmas

Christmas is a time of celebrations, family and fun. It’s easy in these times to forget about water and energy conservation, but conserving our resources is a year round activity.

Some easy ways to save energy of the summer holiday period are:

– Use curtains to keep out the sun and a fan to move the air rather than turning on an air conditioner or evaporative cooler
– Serve directly onto plates instead of serving platters so there are fewer dishes to wash
– Have a container ready for plates to be scraped into rather than rinsing them
– Consider dry flower or fruit arrangements instead of filling large vases with water for fresh flowers
– Use wine glass charms or another method to distinguish glasses so people can use the same one instead of washing glasses all day

And it doesn’t have to stop there! You can use alternative wrappings for presents instead of using so much paper, perhaps a nice tea towel, table cloth, hanky or scarf. You could even give some water saving gifts such as a tap timer or an efficient shower head. We have a few more ideas listed in our article on saving water at Christmas, too.

Christmas is only 12 weeks away, so now is the time to sit down and plan out your Christmas and make it practical and environment friendly. 🙂

I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas…

With the amount of rain falling on Melbourne over the last two days, it doesn’t take much dreaming to envision a wet Christmas! Forecasts are for fine and 25, but I suspect it will be wet underfoot in many places still and the tree/ earthwork damage will still be visible anyway.

It reminds me of a Christmas when I was a kid – I only remember bits & pieces of it (and it may have been a family Christmas party rather than on Christmas Day although my memory is Christmas Day) I don’t remember Christmas celebrations themselves affected by rain and water, but going home was a different story!

Driving along Dandenong Road, the road was covered in water – at least ankle deep is my guess. There weren’t a lot of cars on the road, and all were travelling slowly and carefully. I think our engine must have been flooded because I remember Dad walking off through the pouring rain, trudging through the lake of the service road to reach a phone booth and call for help.

I don’t remember who rescued us and can’t imagine who he called for help – my Grandparents would have been closest but they never drove or owned a car! Maybe he just rang the RACV and I can only imagine how long a wait that would have been on such a night.

It was a bit scary – I think the car breaking down and Dad not automatically fixing it broke a few childish illusions 🙂

Here’s hoping Christmas Day this year will be a little less adventurous, as much as we appreciate the rain!

Being Santa

A couple of years ago, Santa wasn’t able to make it to the occasional care centre where my darling wife worked and daughters were cared for, so I volunteered to don the red suit and fill in for the big man.

Man dressed as Santa on a hot day

Santa arrives to see the children

I remember it being a typically hot December morning so it wasn’t much fun to wear a suit, cushioning, wig, beard and gloves, but watching the kids’ excitement was worth it.

The funniest part of the day, however, was watching my 2.5 year old daughter stay away from me in fear. Her mum got her close to me only with a bribe of a lolly bag, and that was only with holding mum’s hand tightly and running once she had the bag! All her friends sat on my lap, but not my little girl.

It was hard keeping a straight face and not telling her who was really under the suit, but we weren’t going to spoil the illusion for any of the kids.

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