The Christmas season is upon us and it's time to start thinking about wrapping presents. I've always enjoyed wrapping presents, but each year I like to change it up and make my wrapping more interesting.
I'm sure we've all seen that the world is in a bit of environmental crisis, so this Christmas why not do your bit by wrapping in a slightly more environmentally friendly way! Did you know normal wrapping paper isn't recyclable? Me neither until not that long ago!
The most eco friendly way to wrap this year would be to use fabric that can be used over and over again, however this can be slightly pricier in the long run. Having said that, charity shops often have cheap fabrics available, even if you cut up clothing or curtains! But if you prefer the idea of paper, then this post might just be for you...
Now whilst normal wrapping paper isn't recyclable, brown parcel paper IS - brilliant! I got mine from Hobbycraft (£3 for 8M) but you can get it from most places. You may be thinking at this point "but brown paper is plain and boring" and I'll admit, brown paper on It's own doesn't look that festive. But this post shares some of the many ways you can jazz your parcels up to create the perfect gift wrapping this Christmas.
Sharpies (other types of permanent marker also available) are a brilliant and creative way to decorate your presents. They turn plain wrapping into your own personally designed wrapping paper. You can google designs, or just draw what comes to mind. Thinking about the shape of the present really helps; for example, I decorated a circular present as a snow globe. If drawing isn't your strong point, you can add text to the present and try out different fonts. The best way to decorate presents this way is just having a go! It doesn't have to take long, a quick sketch adds a lot to a gift.
(Photos from last year, so not brown paper!)
Natural items are a really nice way to add a bit of festivity to presents. Sprigs of pine, mistletoe or berries look really lovely tucked into twine or ribbon. However, if you don't have these things available to you, pine cones, dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks also look brilliant. Pine cones can easily be picked up on a woodland walk, but if not, you can buy them from places like Poundland and Hobbycraft. Cinnamon sticks can easily be picked up in supermarkets or local greengrocers. Simply tie one or a mixture of these things onto your ribbon, string or twine to add a little more Christmas pzazz.
Dried orange slices also look wonderful tied onto presents and smell divine too. They can also be bought from places like Hobbycraft but you can save yourself some money by making some yourself. All you need is an orange, knife, chopping board, baking tray and oven (cloves are optional).
1. Firstly you need to cut your orange slices to about 1cm thick
2. Then lay your slices flat on a baking tray and at this point you can stick some cloves into the orange flesh if you want to add extra scent
3. Now you need to make a small incision near the top of your orange slices, ready for the twine to pass through
4. It is best if you have the time to heat your orange slices for longer at a lower temperature so they don't burn. Set your oven to the lowest possible setting and leave the slices in there for 2-4 hours (4 is best)
5. Then remove your slices from the oven and allow them to cool
6. Finally, thread your string or twine through to incision ready to tie onto your present!
Salt dough tags
(Again, photos from last year so not brown paper!)
If you've got a bit more time on your hands, or little ones who love to get creative with you, then salt dough tags are the perfect creative addition to a present. Last year I used Julie Blanner's recipe for salt dough to make mine and this recipe is taken from her blog.
For this you will need:
1. Firstly, preheat your oven to 200 degrees (If you would prefer not to use an oven, you can air dry your dough, but it may take a day or 2 for them to fully dry)
2. Next mix the flour and salt together until combined
3. Add water and mix with a spoon (your dough should be barely moist)
4. Nows the messy bit... knead the mixture with your hands until smooth
5. When your dough is ready, roll it to about 1/2cm thickness
6. Cut with cookie cutters or cut desired shapes out with a knife
7. At this point, you can leave your shapes plain, but if you want to add a bit extra depth, then finger prints of little ones are nice. If finger prints aren't your thing then you can use clean letter stamps (designed for ink) and gently press them into the dough to spell out names of recipients
8. Don't forget to punch a hole for the twine when finished (use a knife or skewer for this)
9. If using the oven method, bake for 20 minutes on a baking sheet and then flip for an additional 10 minutes. If not, leave them on a floured surface to air dry for a day or two.
10. Once your tags are cool and dry, you can then either leave them eau naturelle, or use acrylic paint to decorate.
11. Finally, thread your twine or string through your tag and attach to your gift... voila!
A classic...ribbon and twine
Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favourite things! This really is the case. I think the simplicity of it is just beautiful. I like to mix a variety of different ribbons and string. I have thicker classic ribbon in a variety of festive colours from Hobbycraft where you can get multiple colours in 15m packs for just £1. I also picked up some thinner red and green ribbon with beautiful gold detailing from Flying Tiger. I have classic brown twine from a local garden centre and some red and white wrapped twine from Wilko. String wise, I have a mix of metallic, green, red and white that I also picked up from a local garden centre. Just these things alone tied around your gift look lovely in my opinion, but you can also try layering your ribbon with your twine for different textures and colours. To finish off the gift with a touch of sparkle, use a gold or silver metallic permanent marker to label the present, or stamp their name on with metallic ink. I think sometimes less can be more with these presents.
A touching personal addition to your presents is adding photos. Any photos will work, be them old ones from an album, ones printed off your laptop, strips from photo-booths, you name it. But my personal preference is instax photos or polaroids. Either stick these onto your gift or tuck them under the ribbon for a really lovely gift decoration. Not only do these act as visual name tags (as the person in the photo is who the present belongs to), but it's a really lovely memory for the recipient to keep. It will definitely create an extra smile on Christmas day.
Another lovely idea I've seen, is to use little Christmas tree decorations and tie them to your gifts. Not only does this look nice, but it adds a keepsake too. The recipient can hang that decoration on their tree for years to come and whenever they look at it, they'll think of you.
Hopefully that's given you lots of ideas for decorating your presents this year! I'd love to see pictures of your own Christmas gift creations.