Creative Conscientious Christmas

...Read how our newest Biome Blogger, Shea Wittig adds a touch of sustainability and creativity to her Christmas wrapping.... Christmas day traditionally begins with a burst of excitement and ends in a colourful carpet of wrapping paper, ribbons, bags and packaging. Generally there are people going in all directions and, amongst the festivities, one can easily miss the opportunity of collecting reusable pieces of wrapping and decoration. This is one routine which, as a child, I watched my Mum perform year after year and one habit I vowed never to be bothered to do when I was a ‘grown-up!' Here is a perfect “I told you so” moment as now, as a ‘grown-up', I find myself doing the exact same thing. There are just so many gorgeous designs produced each year that the sentimental and the practical side of me finds it impossible to throw these out after just one single-use. Being mindful of recycling wrapping from previous years is a positive, environmentally friendly habit to get into and also a fun activity which reduces your Christmas ‘to do' list and budget for the following year.

Here are some suggestion to help you on your way to a Creative and Conscientious Christmas.

You will need: Rolls of plain wrapping paper Collection of recycled wrapping paper, shopping and gift bags Children's artwork like bobbleheads Ribbon and Twine Recycled Christmas cards and cardboard Stickers Hole punch Scissors Sticky tape Pen, textas or coloured pencils Wrap:

In my experience once a ‘paper-ripper' or ‘tearer', always a ‘paper-ripper' and ‘tearer' and I'm not one to preach caution and curb excitement. Sometimes the most unassuming pieces of collected paper inspire the most creative and unique wrapping ideas. Reusing odd shapes of paper is best tackled by wrapping your present in a plain or simply design first. Cut out pictures or decorative designs from the smaller pieces of paper to decorate the plain paper. Use the skinny strips of paper left over from cutting large pieces to size, as a band to wrap around your present. By adding layers you create great texture, a simple way to give your present a unique twist. These ideas are also effective if you have saved paper shopping bags which could do with personalising, need a splash of colour or have a small logo to cover. As for that pile of children's paintings accumulating in the corner, now is the perfect opportunity to feature their handiwork and share the love. Even the most sentimental of ‘artists' are generally happy to share last year's creations with family and friends. [caption id="attachment_3521" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Children's artwork can be used as unique wrapping paper[/caption]


Ribbon or string are great finishing touches for wrapping and also a practical way to attach home made labels. It doesn't take long to gather a great collection and, by saving these year after year, you end up with colours and textures you might not have chosen yourself. Mix it up with a roll of two of twine and you should have something on hand for every combination.


Recycled cards make perfect labels for birthday as well as Christmas presents. Greeting cards with no writing on the back of the picture side are ideal and, in most cases, you can make two labels from one card. One with the picture and one with the greeting written across the top/bottom. Christmas backdrop Cardboard packaging (you know the thin type generally found folded in clothes or socks) is handy when it comes to ‘custom designing' labels. Creating a range of shapes is a great activity to involve children in who are old enough to use scissors. You might also decide to invest in rubber stamps and an ink pad as a quirky way to add people's names. This is another handy reusable item to include in your craft box for homemade birthday cards. For more ideas on how to reduce your impact over this coming Christmas, Planet Ark have compiled the 12 Do's of Christmas. This list has simple habits which are designed to reduce the environmental and financial impact over the festive season. Reusing items means less trips and time spent running around the shops, less decisions which have to made and more time to spend with the people you love and care about the most. A little bit of prior planning will take the pressure off as the count down begins and ultimately help to simplify Christmas. And keep in mind - it doesn't have to be new to be great!

Further reading

Planet Ark: For more information on the Biome Blog Program and how you can be involved: go to the Green Living Guide and contact Tracey.
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