“Waste not, want not!”…we’ve all heard those grating words being wittered in our ear, but whether it’s your mother, brother, teacher, boss or just know-it-all-Ned professing them, it really doesn’t make it any less irritating.  But perhaps instead of rolling your eyes so far back in your head you can see your brain (or lack thereof in some unfortunate cases), maybe just take a second to listen because when it comes down to Christmas wrapping they may well be right.

Shockingly, on average we Brits will use in excess of 277,000 miles of wrapping paper each year…and what’s more?  Over 108 million rolls of that will end up in the bin this Christmas, kicked to the curb just like that diabolical scarf your Nan bought you last year that you “absolutely loved”.  So what’s the big problem?  It’s recyclable, it’s only paper right?  Wrong.

Thanks to the fact that most wrapping papers use more plastics than there are in Mean Girls, more dyes than in a hipster’s hair, and more glitter than in that bloke’s beard who’s gotten just a little too into the festive spirit, a lot of wrapping paper just simply isn’t recyclable.  But not to worry…if you’re as stressed out by that fact as I’m sure you all are, Nat The Nerd is here to save the day with my Christmas craft hacks to wrap your presents in a way that won’t cost the Earth.

Now I’m certainly no Grinch…despite the fact that I do admittedly bear a striking resemblance when my hair is tied up, as well as throwing uncannily similar tantrums when I can’t find something to wear of a Friday night (trust me, I’m not going).

Ultimately, my point is that green gift wrapping doesn’t have to mean ugly and unfestive!  On the contrary these helpful hints will help transform the chaos under your Christmas tree from A Nightmare on Elm Street to a Miracle on 34th Street faster than the littluns will ransack said tree on Christmas morning!

Bedazzle brown paper like a boss!

My top pick is simple, stylish and a serious steal for all you Scrooges out there.  Recycled brown paper is not only cheap as chips, but done well will look like Pinterest had a party under your tree.

First off, ditch the glitter (try sand or salt instead) – even so-called “biodegradable glitters” are coated in aluminium and therefore despite the main component being essentially “eco-friendly” will not break down!  That’s to the point that even after being left in a jar of salt water for over 18 months it’ll still be as shiny as your partner’s eyes when you tell them that, “yes dear, we can grab a takeaway tonight”!

Instead, double up use of good old Mr Potato Head in the cupboard and get creative by carving out your very own potato stamps, splash some paint on and go crazy!  You can keep it simple with snowballs, trickier with trees or extravagant with elves…basically it’s up to you and whether your creativity lends to you being a stickman connoisseur or the Van Gogh of the wrapping world.

Top your presents off with seasonal sprigs of rosemary and thyme or finish off with Christmassy cinnamon sticks for that festive flourish!  Or why not go for a wander in the woods and collect some pinecones and yuletide twigs for the finishing touch?  Skip the cellotape (naughty non-recyclables) and fasten it all together with some eco-friendly twine (available at ecocraft) or reusable ribbons (try cutting up old tea towels or clothes) and you’re good to go!

Save some dosh (and the planet) by skipping the gift tags and writing straight on the parcel or for really kitsch Christmas wrapping why not let the kids loose with some pens for some sentimental seasonal joy (I’m certain the white sofa will be absolutely fine…maybe...probably not)!


Festive fabric and holiday handbags!

If you don’t fancy faffing around with brown paper then dig out any unwanted fabric or head down to the charity shop to source some.  Not only do fabric wrapped gifts look beautiful, but the recipient can reuse it to cover notepads, notice boards or transform anything around the home into something Nick Knowles would be proud of!  Or for an even simpler solution which will also save your friends 5p down the supermarket, package gifts into reusable shopping bags….they’re bound to get some use for those regrettable booze runs before the Christmas party that leave you later questioning why you thought karaoke was such an utterly fantastic idea.

Be a basket-case this festive season!

Though by far not the cheapest option, a beautifully presented gift basket never fails to impress.  Forget the cellophane wrapping (it’s bad for the environment and the state of your teeth when you grind them down listening to that horrible squeaking noise it makes).  Leave the basket open – if you want to decorate then try some of my earlier tips like pinecones, fabric ribbons or cinnamon sticks!

Even us big kids can agree that Christmas really is one of the most wonderful times of the year, so we’ve all got a responsibility to think about how we prepare for it to make sure we can continue to enjoy it for years to come!  If you want to chat about any of the tips and tricks above, get involved in some Christmas crafts or embrace your inner child with some festive face painting then why not pop along and see us on our stall at the Christmas Street Festival next week…


Friday 20th December


The Atlantic Inn, Hugh Town, St. Mary’s