Err, like, WOW Christmas brings out my sanctimonious side. Most of the year I encourage everyone to spend on tat, smoke fags, skip dinner and do shots after the kids are in bed.
But come mid-November and suddenly my hair-shirted Protestant do-gooder comes banging its way out of the downstairs WC shouting “Save, don’t spend! A tile in time saves nine! Waste not want not!”
Anyway I am here to appeal to your own personal inner Protestant that you do not wrap your presents in shiny paper this year. The reason is that shiny wrapping paper cannot be recycled, it all does straight to landfill. I know it’s a small thing, but actually it’s easy not to use shiny paper.
My plan is to load up on kraft papers from John Lewis such as these in white:
… and then add a contrasting grosgrain ribbon
Please do the same! She screamed hysterically. Of course, you do not have to get it from John Lewis – anywhere will do, just please make sure it’s not shiny.
Here is some inspo I stole off Pinterest.
Ugh. Now I feel awful – i’ve already stocked up on shiny paper, I had no idea! (Runs off to hide in embarrassment feeling like a proper twat)
Don’t feel awful! I didn’t know until recently. Next year xxx
LOVE the decorated JL paper with the ribbon. Although I thought the general rule of thumb was if you could crumple it into a ball it was recyclable? Is this not so?!!
Anna! God I really don’t know actually…
I think perhaps the issue is not so much about being recyclable as biodegradable? All the spangles and sparkles and shininess won’t biodegrade. Plain old paper will. I think! I don’t know really, but the simpler the paper the better, I guess.
Three cheers for inner Puritans. Mine is fiercely and irrationally wedded to religious cards, though I might actually relax that this year.
I love craft paper: it folds really well and doesn’t tear like the shiny stuff. I try to keep an eye out for any pattern that could be used for birthdays as well. Waitrose have a dotty one that should do nicely with white ribbon not red. Of course standard brown paper looks ace with any colour ribbon all year round (try dark brown velvet or cream for totes sophistication).
And don’t forget the great tip someone left here a few months ago of wrapping everything on the ironing board. Genius. My back is so grateful to you! Though beware glittery tags ….
Great ironing board tip Sophie xxx
All credit goes to whoever suggested it here before – come on, step forward to take your bow …
Oh my God. This is genius.
I love tissue paper as well, it’s insanely cheap and you can wrap layers upon layers so kids can do that feverish insane ripping open thing and really WORK for it. I love that curling ribbon stuff too, to cut off long strands of 8 different colours and tie them all around a gift together, but I always slyly pick it all up again after it’s unwrapped to use again.
That person who wrapped gifts in brown paper and then DREW bows on them with a marker pen… I wish to God I was as simplistic as that.
Beth Sowersby says
I always use brown paper, so handy to keep in cupboards. It will covers any last minute panic for kids party or adult birthday. For kids birthday I get my children to draw pictures on it, for adults throw on some ribbon (often taken from previous present stach) and good to go. Also my local post office sell it very cheaply.
Your wrapping paper posts are becoming another little herald of the season, like the Radio Times coming out, or the city being suddenly PACKED at weekends.
I hate the shiny stuff anyway it never looks right for me, like I’ve done it with one hand tied behind my back standing in a bowl of custard.
My husband once had the idea of a shiny wrapping paper that you just scrunch around the edges of a present and it holds together so you don’t need to use tape. He was going to call it Manwrap or Dadwrap or something equally stupid, but I told him it had already been invented and was called tinfoil, and that no one wanted a present wrapped in it unless that present was a sandwich.
My husband is crap at wrapping but good at sandwiches. I might suggest the Tinfoil Manoeuvre. I’d love a sandwich as a present.
Susan Sharkey says
Well done. Beautiful parcels and absolutely no disastrous glitter in site. Susiesharkles 👏👏👏👏👏
What a coincidence, I’ve just bought the JL kraft paper. I tend to stock up around Christmas and then use it throughout the year. It’s a shame though – they’ve already sold out of the white paper.
Ah, they seem to have restocked. Super!
Victoria Wren says
Genius and earthly. How is it possible to go on the JL website and not browse the womenswear. Shopping before 8am on a Monday is dangerous. It’ll probably all go back by Thursday.
Can we have a post-Christmas post where we all slag off the awful things we’ve been given without anyone saying how grateful we should be to have anything at all?
That’s a great idea sophie – i’m a huge fan of lists (for me and everyone else) then you know you’re getting something the person actually wants and your getting something you want rather than more crap you have sitting in a bin bag in the hall until you can be arsed to schlep it to the charity shop. There was list chat this weekend – my sister in law said she already had something in mind for me but I could send a list just in case. I nearly said can I just have the fiver instead…
“Can I just have the fiver instead” SO TRUE. My in-laws demand a list well in advance and then ignore it and give us total crap which riles me beyond belief. I take grim pleasure in my as-soon-as-it-opens run to the charity shop, but I would be so happy with nothing at all from them ….
great idea Sophie I’ll make it happen
To ask for a list then ignore it is just RUDE. I always get ‘we’ve already got you something perfect babe’ and it’s never perfect. Never. I got tea towels one year. Handy, but not exactly top of my list, or even on my list…
I go a step further and use newspaper. People think it’s hilarious and I try to include a good headline or two. Last year, I did “ribbon” with toilet paper.
I think the Financial Times would look nice. Is it still pink?!
I really love plain brown paper for wrappings because it’s just so versatile, as well. With shiny paper you often end up with decorations that only work for one holiday or occassion. I still have lots of pink-ish birthday paper left over, yet almost no little girls in my family who’d actually enjoy it – grown women certainly don’t, I’ve learned (and while my brother found it hilarious to see his birthday gift wrapped in pink, he is an odd duck anyway).
With brown paper, you get a perfect base for ANY gift-situation and then can just decorate / write on it / put stickers and ribbons on it at will to make it fit.
I freaked out about xmas landfill a few years ago, it’s sickening in the shops at this time of year. Mum & I used the same piece of thick craft paper to wrap each other’s birthday present for a laugh, it went on for years with us using the same piece & always made us crack up every time it came out again !!! And I’m always the sad bugger running around picking up all the decent ribbon people throw over their shoulder ! 😜
If you feel like being a bit crafty but not too crafty or want to get the kids involved in a craft activities, I make simple stencils (Christmas tree, etc) and use them on the paper to joosh it up a bit.
Oxfam had some nice printed Kraft paper with birds on. You could make a band of patterned over the plain.
Lorna Clarke-Underwood says
I love the brown paper and big ribbon look. I bought about 500 brown postal tags to go with it. They last for years! Although my husband refuses to add ribbon so his gifts just look like they have been delivered by the postie. One year I bought stampers and metallic ink pads… Oh I had such plans… Got bored after present four and gave up. Simplicity is the key.
I do brown paper for (endless) school birthday presents as I’m bone idle and get extremely irritated at having to have buy ‘boy’ paper and ‘girl’ paper for the picky little blighters. Plus you always have the wrong one when you come to wrap. No such woes with brown paper. Yonks ago I got all my children personalised stamps and a coloured ink pad in their Christmas stocking, which they were extremely unbovvered about, but which has come in so handy for decorating (and personalising), said brown wrapping paper, blank thank you cards, writing paper, etc.
I think from The English Stamp Company or something (think it’s on NOTHS) and you can obviously specify name and design (for example Ine of my daughters has a skull and crossbones as she’s a tomboy). I just get them to stamp the paper to buggery, decorating it and making it clear who it’s from in one tidy sweep.
Don’t know why I don’t extend the brown paper rule to Christmas. I don’t do foil stuff because of the landfill issue but I though other stuff (in tasteful colours, obvs, because I’m a control freak) but I thought ‘normal’ wrap was okay and have bought shedloads of it already. Next year!
Tess I think “normal” wrap IS okay – just the very shiny stuff not