Instead of using the predictable roll of Christmas wrapping paper, try making your own #giftwrap, and giving your presents a quirky, individual touch.
So get creative with everyday paper, ribbon and glue, those bits of leftover stationery. Friends and family will appreciate your personalised present. Even better, you’ll be doing your bit to save the planet and save some money as well.
If you have roll ends of decorative wallpaper hanging about, these can be repurposed as wrapping. Because wallpaper can be quite thick, it’s great for evenly shaped items – books, CDs, boxed gadgets. Tie up with strands of rainbow coloured wool. (Wallpaper is ideal for presents in the post – even when tucked inside a padded envelope, ordinary wrapping paper is not so hardwearing.)
Giving a present to someone with a private passion? Black and white pictures -like monochrome film stills – are great for decorating wrapped presents. Movie stars, classic cars, historic buildings – choose a picture with a regular size like a photograph. Use bright plain wrapping paper, so that the photo stands out. For a final flourish, stick some braid or contrasting tape all round the picture to make a picture frame.
If you’ve got a number of small presents, then A4 paper (hopefully recycled) can be handy. Your gift doesn’t have to look plain and simple, though. Use sticky dots to create a polka dot design. Or try two colours – red and brown to make a robin, or yellow and green for a sunflower – you’re only limited by your imagination.
Brown paper sounds boring but it makes a good starting point. Use it to wrap your present and then spice up with stencils – remember them from school? Cut stencils of snowflakes or geometric patterns out of some vivid coloured paper and stick on top. Or potato print (school again) – with a #Christmas tree. Children will love doing this and will give your present an authentic handmade look.
Or you can create a stained glass effect, but you need to be a little crafty, and it works best if the item is boxed. First cover the top of the box with foil paper in a glowing, vivid colour and secure this with glue dots.
Next, measure some plain dark wrapping paper to fit the parcel, tracing the outline of the top, so you have its exact shape and size. Cut a stencil out of this part of the wrapping, unfold and wrap the package so that the stencil sits directly on top of the foil. Works well magenta or red foil and brown paper, too.
You could wrap your presents in newspaper, and drape them in bunting to give them a festive touch. Simply cut small pieces of triangular bunting – from old Christmas cards, magazines, bits of red felt, scraps of patterned material – and attach to a length of string. Take a pair of buttons, stick one at each end of your present and string your bunting between these.
Finally, you can make your own gift tags. They are easily made out of any old manila folders languishing in your desk drawer. Cut out pictures from magazines to decorate them – bottles of wine (for you know who), fish for a seafood aficionado, birds for a twitcher, guitar for a rock fan. If you have found a really clever image, cut the tag to fit.
When you’re done, remind yourself that not only have you had fun, but you’ve re-used and recycled resources, too. They say that each year we throw away 226,800 miles of wrapping paper, enough to go nine times around the world.