poetry and prose about place

garbage day after Christmas

with 16 comments

One change has occurred in our household during the last few years – Garbage Day after Christmas.  Our garbage is collected at the roadside once per week, on Thursdays.  We used to have at least three big bags of garbage after the frenzy of opening presents and discarding the wrapping paper.  But, since I began wrapping presents in fabric, we have far less garbage after Christmas – no more extra bags of wrapping paper.

I disliked buying wrapping paper every year.  We usually spent a lot of money on wrapping paper and were always running out. It seemed a waste of money and not very environmentally friendly.

A few years ago, I changed to fabric for wrapping.  I waited for the sale on Christmas fabric at my local fabric store and bought several meters in various designs at about $2.00 per meter.   I also bought a large amount of stretchy metallic chord and some pretty ribbon by the meter.  I tore the fabric into different sizes, to cover a variety of gift sizes. I also tried hemming the fabric but I gave that up after tedium set in.  We have never noticed the difference between hemmed and raw-edged fabric.

a variety of Christmas fabric

a variety of Christmas fabric

The challenge of using fabric is closing the fabric securely around the gift, since it’s important to make sure the packages don’t come undone.  We tried various types of closures for the fabric-wrapped presents including tape (doesn’t stick), diaper pins (ugly) and plain ribbon (slippery).  The best way to close the presents securely is to use lots of stretchy metallic chord, supplemented by ribbon.

lots of ribbon

lots of ribbon

a present held secure with stretchy chord

a present held secure with stretchy chord

To secure tags is easy.  I use cut up Christmas cards for tags (I have enough card tags to last us 20 years at the current rate of gift-giving).  I secure the tags by tucking them securely under the ribbon or chord, or by punching a hole in the tag and securing it with string or ribbon.

pile of gifts wrapped in fabric

tags are easy to add

I asked a few people what they liked best about unwrapping paper-wrapped presents, and they always say the sound of the paper crinkling and tearing is a factor.  So this year, I included a thin wrapping of tissue paper with each gift, at a fraction of the cost of wrapping paper.

one layer of tissue paper

I now include one layer of tissue paper inside to add to the enjoyment of opening the gift

I think it takes a little longer to wrap gifts using fabric, but, to me, they are just as pretty.

The method pays for itself within 2 or 3 years.  You do have to ask friends and relatives to return the fabric and ribbon after they have unwrapped their presents!!!

fabric wrapped gifts under the tree

fabric-wrapped gifts under the tree – a couple of paper-wrapped presents are hiding out among the fabric-wrapped gifts … can you spot them????

Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

December 28, 2012 at 7:32 am

16 Responses

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  1. I love this, Jane! I was pondering our garbage pickup after our family Christmas (which we had early, on the 15th). I might not have pondered it quite so much except the bag that held all of the wrapping paper went flying away (across our yard) and the garbage guys didn’t get it so we had it for another week to ponder.



    January 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    • Hi. That’s funny. There’s nothing like garbage blowing in the wind to make you wish you didn’t have so much garbage! Jane


      jane tims

      January 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm

  2. A very good idea. We tend to re-use nice papers that are in reasonable condition. I suppose there are lots of possibilities for this with fabric – if lots of people in your family or friends participated then i guess you’d re-use things they sent you & vice versa too. Happy New Year Jane.


    Sonya Chasey

    January 2, 2013 at 10:49 am

    • Hi Sonya. With a large family, you could get a good exchange/re-use pattern going. We stopped exchanging gifts in my larger family before I got the idea of using fabric. But I still give gifts to my son and now I wait pariently for him to return the fabric from his gifts! Happy New Year to you too! Jane


      jane tims

      January 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm

  3. Don’t think Jane was the original Xmas environmentalist. Mom was the one who invented reusing old Christmas cards as tags. As kids we had to unwrap each gift carefully because all wrapping paper was ironed and reused the following year. Oh right that was not environmental mom grew up in the recession. Waste nothing. Especially money.

    All I really care about is it’s almost January and I did not get a fabric wrapped gift. Nor did your fur niece and nephew. Sue and flash are hurt. As am i



    December 29, 2012 at 11:07 am

    • Hi Stan. You are right about Mom. She taught me most of what I know about conservation. As for your gift, I ran out of fabric. However, I am extending my wrapping fabric to include birthdays, so if you are nice to me, I’ll fabric wrap your birthday present. I need birthdates for the furry niece and nephew. Do not be hurt. I remain your devoted sister. Jane


      jane tims

      December 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm

  4. another clever idea from you, Jane… that was a fun read! hugs, SB



    December 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    • Hi SB. Glad you liked it. Sounds like you are on your way to a brilliant new year! Jane


      jane tims

      December 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm

  5. Dear Jane,

    We use old maps, plats (blue prints from reviewing land use proposals) and newsprint—and that’s when we give gifts, which we really don’t anymore. I thought that you would be interested in this CBC posting

    Very best to you,

    Michele L. Tremblay


    Michele L Tremblay

    December 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    • Hi Michele. Good to hear from you. Maps, blue prints and even sheet music are interesting wrappings and promote the idea of reusing. I’ll have a look at the CBC site. Happy New Year!!!! Jane


      jane tims

      December 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm

  6. This is an incredibly creative,beautiful, frugal and environmentally friendly way to do it!!! I am in!!!!!



    December 28, 2012 at 11:59 am

  7. This is a great idea. I hadn’t thought of using fabric, but have wrapped gifts in tea towels which works as part of the present. I use tiny gold safety pins to fasten them, plus lots of ribbon as you suggest. I might go buy some fabric as I like your suggestions very much. Happy New Year!


    Carol Steel

    December 28, 2012 at 10:20 am

    • Hi Carol. I went in January when they have left over fabric on sale. Wrapping with tea-towels is also a good idea. Jane


      jane tims

      December 28, 2012 at 11:17 am

  8. Hi Jane, So creative and beautiful. Happy New Year, Ellen


    Ellen Grace Olinger

    December 28, 2012 at 7:44 am

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