One piece of the holiday season that I really love is wrapping presents. I know that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the task, but perhaps it in part has to do with all of the hustle and bustle of the season getting in the way. Instead of looking at it as just another monotonous job that has to get done, I use it as a time to escape from everything else I have to do and I let the peace of the season envelope me. I like to put on the holiday music and take my time, spending hours wrapping the gifts I got for those I love, making sure each looks amazing, with bows of ribbon in the perfect place. On Christmas day I realize I am probably the only one who notices, as the receivers of the gifts excitedly tear into the presents to see what’s inside.
It was probably eight years ago now when I changed the way I think about wrapping my presents. It happened one day while I was in Target looking at the aisles devoted solely to wrapping paper and the decorations that go along with it. There is just so much paper that ends up getting tossed aside in a matter of minutes after being torn off of the boxes it is used to wrap. I knew there had to be a better way; a way that I could make my presents look pretty, while keeping the environment in mind. When I got home from shopping that day, I got on the computer and discovered that “wrapping paper and shopping bags account for about 4 million tons of trash annually” and that “if every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields” (Earth911.com).
After reading facts like these, I decided to change my ways. I am still deliberate about wrapping each one perfectly and beautifully, but I take a different approach to the materials I use to wrap my gifts. I now use recycled and/or recyclable materials. Sometimes I use materials I already have around my house, like paper grocery bags, stickers and pinecones from the neighbor’s tree next door. I do buy some wrapping paper every few years, but I use it for the next two years after I buy it, so that it gets used at least three times; I am that person who saves the wrapping paper after my kids and family members open their presents, smoothing it out and putting it away for next year (and yes my presents still look pretty)!
As we look towards the future of this holiday season and the new year to come, I hope that you too can find something to help you stay in the moment and enjoy everything around you. And, perhaps, you can be one of the American families wrapping three presents in recycled material as a gift to give back to the earth.
Image from http://www.rasikfoils.com/gift-wraps.html