1000 Flowers for the Planet - #387 Do We Need to Wrap Gifts?
Perhaps it’s time to question some of the things we do without thinking about it very much, particularly as we approach Christmas time in the Christian world. Do we really need to wrap gifts? Admittedly gift paper is recyclable, but it still uses lots of resources in its manufacture and transportation, then more energy and resources to recycle it. It’s estimated that 5 million tons of waste is generated in the United States alone during the holidays. That’s an awful lot of resources from just one country – imagine the total worldwide.
We like to wrap presents because we like to control the exact moment the recipient receives the surprise, and we like to see the expression on their face. Would that element of surprise really disappear if we simply walked into the room with a gift in our outstretched hands? We could hide our gift behind our back while building up the tension of the big reveal. We could have the present in a bag or basket from which it is pulled out, perhaps by the recipient. We could have the recipient close their eyes and put the gift in their hands, or on the table or floor in front of them, build up a little bit of excitement then ta-da – reveal. Children’s unwrapped Christmas presents can be put into a sack – in my family we had pillow cases with Christmas scenes printed on them. (If you’ve got more than a sack-full for your child, maybe you could rethink the impact of ‘too much’ stuff and not enough quality time.) Wait until Christmas Eve to put all the presents under your Christmas tree labelled with gift tags. It will still be exciting in the morning to all come out and see what is there. If you struggle to cope with the idea of going wrapper free, use gift bags which are recycled around the family. Another idea is to make your own fabric Christmas sacks for each person and reuse them every year.
There’s always a different way to do something. This idea will save a huge amount in resources and money, making it more viable for the planet. All it takes is some lateral thinking and habit readjustment. Try it this Christmas and make it your gift to the planet.