It’s so fun to see all the colorful presents wrapped and adorned with lovely ribbons for Christmas. But it’s a little less fun to think of all those precious resources — trees, fabric, and all the fuel to transport it — just thrown away after one use.
So I figured resourceful ‘Ghany girls out there would enjoy some ideas on how to recycle gift wrappings to get at least one — if not more — uses out of all those beautiful papers and bows.
Christmas in July
For one thing, since we celebrate Christmas in July during second term at camp, campers could prepare decor, cards, and crafts for the big summer holiday during winter vacation after all the gifts have been unwrapped.
Now, I’m not suggesting you plan to bring a whole bunch of decor. But, if you made a few flat things, they could be packed at the bottom of your trunk and pulled out in time to decorate your tent or for other mid-summer Christmas fun!
One idea is to take any remaining bits of sturdy (thicker) Christmas paper and turn it into festive bunting. For a bunting garland three feet long simply:
- Cut sturdy wrapping paper pieces into equally sized triangles using a template you make (about 6″ long and roughly 4″ wide at the top).
- Glue wrong sides together so there is colorful wrap on both sides.
- Staple dried pieces to a length of ribbon, leaving enough room at the end of the ribbon so you can tie or tack it in place.
Another idea is to cut silhouettes from festive paper and glue them to plain paper to make greeting cards. Save them for Christmas in July or send them out this year — remember, there are 12 days of Christmas so there’s still time to drop a line to a camp friend!
Finally, make some Origami!
- An Origami Christmas tree is a great way to use up plain (or lightly plaid) green and brown (or gold) paper. This is an advanced project so if you love Origami, go for it.
- How about an Origami 1,000 Cranes for Peace project? You’ll be folding all holiday but that paper will rally be put to great use.
- Or an Origami Fortune Teller. (You can fill the fortunes with Camp Alleghany insider jokes and bring it to camp. Just make sure to fold with the plain side up!)
- Origami paper chains can use up lots of paper and be the perfect start to next year’s holiday decor.
Save that ribbon
One way to be super resourceful is to save ribbons and bows. Unlike paper, which can get crinkly in the undoing (get mom to help you iron it if you have a piece of paper you’d especially like to save), ribbons and bows can come out year after year to re-adorn gifts, packages and wreaths. Or they can be repurposed to all kinds of new projects. So set aside a shoe box and announce to the gathered family that you’ll be recycling all ribbons and bows. Then, using your best Ghany Girl manners, wait until a person is through opening and enjoying his or her nw present, and thn ask if you can have the ribbon or bow (some people do like to save them, too). If you get a “yes,” thn add it to your collection. Then you can:
- Make hair ribbons and decor.
- Use as pieces for other craft projects.
- Use to hang pictures.
- Use them for class projects.
- Put ’em on top of packages next year!
- Bring any blue or gray (even silver) ones to camp for blue and gray gear!
If you’ve got an idea for how to save paper and other holiday decor be sure to share it in the comments field below or on Facebook. Remember, this glorious earth needs us to help take care of it and that includes using resources wisely and creatively to make the least impact.
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls