Wrap it up: five creative ideas for your holiday swag

Yes, it’s “that time of the year again,” when we go berzerk trying to find the perfect gift for our pals, partners, and workmates. It can feel like a frenzy. Let us all take a deep, cleansing breath in, and a long, slow, exhale while chanting, “chill-the-f*ck-ooooouuuut.”

There, that’s better. Now, where to start with holiday mayhem?

Choose gifts with intention

First up: slow down! We’ve found that when we pause and put a bit more intention behind our gift-giving, we’re automatically drawn towards things that have more meaning and are easier. If you need some examples of what we mean, take a gander at our not-Black-Friday post.

This doesn’t mean you can’t gift glitzy or shiny gifts that are full of pizzazz. Intentional gifting asks us to take a step back and think about why we’re buying gifts. What would this gesture mean to your friend, colleague, or partner?

If you know that your soon-to-be-in-university teenager is in need of a new computer and you’ve just found the perfect, refurbished laptop, we say: go for it.

If you’ve found the coolest, vintage camera at a secondhand shop and you know your work colleague totally goes ballistic for taking photos with film, we say: buy the damn camera!

The point is not to obsess so much over the gift if it’s causing you stress (but we do endorse obsessing in the name of fun and intentional gifting): the point is the feeling behind the gift.

Now that you’ve secured your intentional gift, the next hurdle awaits…how are you going to wrap this thing up?

Why slow your roll when it comes to holiday wrapping paper?

Frighteningly, Canadians roll through about 540,000 tonnes of gift wrapping and shopping bags every year, much of it unrecyclable. That’s a lotta waste! 

But, according to Greenpeace and the Williams Lake Tribune, by opting for different materials and foregoing rolls of shiny, new wrap, we could save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks. So very Canadian and so very up our alley. Eh!

“If every Canadian wrapped just 3 gifts in upcycled materials rather than buying wrapping paper new, enough paper would be saved to cover 45,000 hockey rinks.”

There are so many fun, easy ways to wrap gifts that don’t involve tubes of slippery paper. Here are four of our faves.

Four creative gift-wrapping ideas

Find other paper

If you’re already on a roll and into the paper-wrapped gifts, we suggest going unconventional this year. Some ideas…

  • Kraft paper: typically brown, this may not seem super exciting at first, but in actuality, it’s a blank canvas awaiting your next Picasso move. 
  • Newspaper: this may seem super ridiculous and unprofessional, but it’s FREE and, depending on the news, could be a fun memento. We love receiving gifts from far-away friends and relatives who wrap in newsprint, it’s like a portal to another world!
  • Old magazines: We know you have some Alive magazines kicking around a dusty corner of your office…why not rip out a few pages and regift them? Bonus points if you use the recipe pages for your wrapping.

Live your best bag life

You knew we were going to suggest this, right? But before we talk about reusable bags, let’s focus on the bags you already likely own: the multitude of take-out, shopping, and other random bags we are sure you collect, “just in case” (no judgment, because we do it too). 

Our favourite upcycled bags are the kraft-paper type with handles. But, really, any reused paper bag will do. It’s the thought that counts. ;)

If you’re wanting to create a two-in-one situation for that special someone, consider one of our holiday-themed, reusable bags: roomy enough for a gift or two, and after unwrapping, the bag itself becomes a gift!

Don’t panic: use a towel

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the most important item one can carry is a towel. The same holds true for gift wrapping, well, sort of. If bags aren’t your thing and the idea of paper and scissors gives you nightmares, fear not. Use a cloth towel or a large napkin!

Using cloth towels or other forms of square-ish material to wrap gifts is not a new idea, by any means. Furoshiki, a traditional Japanese method of wrapping gifts using square cloth, dates back centuries. That’s a good enough timeline for us.

If you’d like to try your hand at Furoshiki, check out our reusable gift wrapping in hues of charcoal, navy, sand, and rust.

Decorate and glam it up

You’ve gifted with intention!

You’ve found the perfect wrap!

All that’s left is to Jazz. It. UP!

While we love a good shake of glitter and stickers, these materials are often hard to dispose of and not great for the environment. They’ll also make it harder to recycle your lovely kraft paper, newspaper, or reused gift bags.

Instead, take a leaf out of nature’s book and seek out some au natural accoutrements*.  Some of our favourites include:

  • Dehydrated orange wheels
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Leaves
  • Tree branch sprigs
  • Stamps
  • Hand-drawn designs
  • Leaf confetti (yup, it’s a thing!)

*We hope this goes without saying, but please, please harvest sustainably! Ideally, use material that has already become dislodged or fallen from its host tree or plant.

We’d love to hear from you! How do you wrap up your holiday gifts this time of year?

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