Do You Save Wrapping Paper?

Filed under: Holidays


When I was a kid we always saved the bows from our presents and put them into a big pile we'd then take a picture of (for posterity, I guess) before hauling them back down to the basement to live for another year before they made their next appearance on future holiday packages. Occasionally, we saved the wrapping paper, too. We started to save it more often as the cost of such paper increased and as the motifs and themes on the paper became more fanciful and elegant. Wrapping paper has showcased some of the prettiest patterns I've ever seen. Often it is so pretty or cute you hate to even open the package for fear of damaging it. In fact, one of my mothers-in-law is such an amazing present wrapper that I often take pictures of the presents BEFORE they're open just so I can recall how beautiful the packages were before we tore into them for the goodies inside.

Opening presents with the intention of saving the paper requires more time and care, but it also, as a result, helps make Christmas or Hanukkah last a little longer. In a way, opening presents slowly lets us savor the moment just a little more, and helps build the anticipation of what's inside into something just as fun as finding out what the gift is. OK, almost as fun, but you know what I mean. We'd do that with my family when I was younger and Christmas morning stretched almost to lunchtime, when folks were expected at our house for the holiday meal--the way Christmas day ought to last.

I still save the bows from our prettiest packages--many of them handmade by the people who love us. Now that I have a basement of my own (OK, a storage unit in a shared basement, but it's a pretty big unit, darn it!) I save everything I can. What with the economy tanking--yes, it continues to tank!--saving paper, boxes and bows probably seems a lot more appealing to folks than it ever did. If you plan on recycling your paper, though, I recommend getting a pretty good thickness. Otherwise it will rip no matter what you do.

Also, I would never be coordinated enough to do this, but Martha Stewart takes leftover paper, cuts it into little strips and glues the strips to clothespins which she then uses to hang other decorations. A lot of work, but pretty and fun if you have the time.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.